Why I decided to teach yoga.
I have struggled with my body image for as long as I can remember. After being diagnosed with Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia a few years ago, my running, eating, gym—everything important to me was overthrown. It became a hurricane of doctors, nutritionists, and therapists. I was in a state of overwhelming unrest. As I began my journey of getting my life back, I was still scared to get on a scale or go to the gym. I didn’t know how to measure my health anymore and I was far from comfortable in my body.
That was when my therapist suggested yoga. At first I felt so out of place walking into a yoga class. I was a gym rat, a runner. I didn’t move slow nor was I thoughtful of my movements while working out. I only loved what hurt because I thought it meant I was doing something right.
Yoga was totally different than anything I had done. In class, the people next to me weren’t the snooty, skinny snobs I had expected. They were just people! They were happy, loving, balanced people. Not perfect. They were just on a level I didn’t know existed. It was outside the realm I knew.
At my first yoga class I was in love. My body was sore from strengthening it, not from beating it up the way I would have done. I didn’t feel exhausted, I felt renewed, invigorated, even reborn!
My teacher had talked about compassion for myself and for others, a thought I had always left behind when heading out for a run. By the end of a week of sweaty yoga classes, my body was worn and my mind was soaring.
I had found people who loved and respected their bodies, and who welcomed me. They let me sweat. They let me cry.
My body was stronger at a core level than I ever accomplished with thousands of crunches and squats. I was calm. My road rage was gone. Best of all, when I looked in the mirror I was beginning to see a marvelous mass of energy: one that carried me through yoga class and out into the world with strength, grace and an outstanding resilience—a body that I could and should nourish lovingly so that it can continue to carry me.I quit viewing my classes as my work out and started viewing them as a necessary part of my life: mentally, physically and spiritually.
I have continued my yoga practice now for just over a year. I have chosen to stick mostly to sweaty yoga at Black Swan. The more I go the more I learn and the more I realize I still need to learn. I long to deepen my practice and understanding. After much thought, I know that the love and acceptance I have found there, the respect for my body and the world around me is something I want to share with others. I have decided that my path is leading me to become certified to teach Bikram yoga and share the blessing I have found.
Melanie is currently taking part in the Yoga Teacher Training Challenge, which gives aspiring yoga teachers an opportunity to earn a scholarship to train as an instructor with Agama Yoga, Purna Yoga East, Tribe Yoga, Pranashama Yoga Institute or Himalaya Valley Yoga.
Tamara Rowton was born and raised in Austin, Texas. Her heart has been deeply infected by the culture there. Love for animals (yes, she volunteers at the local animal shelter), love for healthy eating (gluten free and finally loving it!), and a love for those around. After she discovered yoga fit so seamlessly into her values, she became an avid yogi! She hopes to become a yoga instructor soon, till then, she continues to deepen her practice and enjoy her life with her dog Whisky.
Editor: Seychelles Pitton
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