I stole my first yoga DVD from Target when I was 17.
I would drive down to Children’s Hospital in Seattle for my weekly outpatient treatment, and on the way back I would take a detour.
I had chosen outpatient over inpatient and was happy to have my license and my supposed freedom. At 17 I decided that my freedom was best used up in seeing how much random shit I could take from Target without getting caught.
I found out, the answer was a lot of random shit.
Shampoo, conditioner, make up, random shirts that weren’t even my size, shoes still in their cardboard box, etc. I would walk in, fill up my purse, and walk out. Just like that. Then I would head home and bask in my new collection. Unload, lose, donate, or sell —and the process would repeat.
One day, I stumbled upon a Rodney Yee Yoga DVD. I do not remember what I knew of yoga. Or why I wanted the DVD. But I grabbed it, put it in my purse, and walked out. That night at home, I shut my door and inserted the DVD. Within the four walls of my room, I started to replicate what he was doing. The foreign shapes his body was making, the foreign way the breath would move through his body.
My nights would continue as followed. I would have to eat my meal in front of my mom. I wasn’t allowed to be alone for the hour following. I had to be checked for self harm scars following my nightly showers. And then I had my freedom. But instead of stealing, I chose Rodney.
And I kept coming back.
Fast forward to college I still practiced yoga and I was still quite deep in my eating disorder.
Most importantly, I still had no idea why I kept coming back to yoga. But despite the restricting, the purging, the sleeping with guys, and the drinking—I still practiced yoga.
I never knew that I could have control over my body. For the majority of my life, my body was controlled by the people around me.
How to dress.
How to move.
What to do.
I was a doll.
I do not steal anymore. I do not purge anymore. I do not cut anymore. I do not hook up with random guys just to feel needed anymore.
But, I still do yoga. It has been a constant in my life since I was 17.
Present day, I either teach yoga or practice yoga daily. And I although I consider myself recovered, the days I struggle are the days I need yoga the most.
Yoga taught me how to breathe.
Yoga taught me that my body is my body.
Yoga taught me that the simple inhale
Is enough to ignite a flame.
I had to continue pressing forward. I had to continue my search for peace. I had to continue the search for my breath.
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