Feb. 26-March 3 was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I meant to write a post about yoga and eating disorders – or, rather, food and body awareness – that week, but got too busy. (Trust me, the irony of a -yoga teacher being too busy to write about yoga is not lost on me.) There’s always next year.
In the meantime, Yoga International took up the topic in its March issue with a feature by Linda Sparrowe titled Making Friends with Your Body. This article is well worth reading, not only in honor of the time set aside for eating disorders awareness, but also in light of current events in the yoga world – publications questioning yoga’s safety, scandals involving gurus taking advantage of their students, etc.
Passages like the following, I found, raised relevant questions about what we’re doing, and why, when we practice yoga:
“Yoga postures make up a small part of this ancient practice, but pulled out of context—in gyms, rec centers, and even some yoga studios—they can become little more than a means to sweat and stretch our way to a better, thinner, more ‘acceptable’ body.”
Sparrowe even touches on the pressure yoga teachers feel to maintain model figures as they stand in front of expectant students and mingle with other teachers.
Yoga is different things to different people, but I am unaware of any school that encourages emotional insecurity, and the basic tenet of ahimsa (non-harming) precludes destruction of the body, such as anorexic starvation.
Given that, Sparrowe’s advice seems applicable to just about any style of practice. Use it to make your body your ally in all endeavors (emotional, physical and spiritual) and you’re practicing yoking, yoga, in its most basic sense.