I was 12 years old when I became conscious of my body.
And I saw other people’s bodies on the television, my classmates, my best friends.
I secretly began dieting. By the time I was 14, I had my closest friends in on what we liked to call Nutritional Therapy: restricting, exercising and a constant discussion of weight and food. By the time high school rolled around, depression and anxiety began to swallow me. I was nervous about being seen.
I often skipped school because I was not comfortable in my own skin.
I avoided social outings. I thought of suicide often. This state of mind carried on and I began seeing therapists and psychiatrists regularly from ages 17 to 20. Prescription drugs and talking about my feelings with strangers felt useless. My self-worth continued to spiral downward. I began self-medicating between 19 and 20 years of age.
I had no idea who I was, what I wanted or what to do to stop the way that I was feeling. At some point I began to believe that this was simply how I was; I was born broken and my whole life was going to be a dark, scary place.
Two months before I turned 21, I was introduced to meditation. I was taught by a friend to sit up straight, hold the Guyan Mudra, close my eyes and let my thoughts float by. I began doing this several times a day, at home, with friends and in public places.
Through meditating I learned concepts of stillness, of not caring what others think of me, of not attaching 10 more thoughts to each thought that arises and many other lessons that have saved my sanity.
Not long after I began regularly meditating, Yoga came into my life. Yoga began to make me feel strong—and still does. Yoga gave me an outlet for my perfection tendencies, learning new poses and practicing them to my personal perfection.
I have learned to breathe through any situation.
I am grateful each day for the exposure to this beautiful practice that continues to alter my life. My body feels like it has gone through a major transformation and in return so has my mind. But the most important thing that Yoga has taught me is that there is absolutely not one thing wrong with me or anyone else. We have all been perfectly created.
There is nothing to be fixed because we have never been broken.
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Editorial Assistant: Jennifer Moore/ Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: elephant media archives