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.

Their 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

And exhale

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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Find Lauren on Instagram: @thesimplestself

Find Lauren Online: www.thesimplestself.com

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