June 15, 2013

Here I Am, Self: How Yoga is Reclaiming My Body & Soul from Abuse. ~ Emily Taggart


There is remarkable beauty in the vulnerability of yoga. 

During my practice I can be at once lost and found in this moment—right here, right now.

Breathing deeply, I let go of the abuse.

Breathing, “Here I am, world. Here I am, Self.”

Farewell to the blistered agony of naked, sweaty nights in the back of my father’s car.

Those nights have kept me in chains for far too long, their talons ripping into my wrist in the form of beloved razor blades. Now, I have thrown away the blades and have been clean (cut-free) for seven months and 18 days. I owe a large part of my remarkable 180 to my mat, strangers’ mats, and any other mat I could struggle and heal on.

Yoga saves my soul. Which I thought was stolen forever, shredded in the tempestuous hatred I misdirect at myself. I thought that yoga and I were incompatible. Yoga was not in the realm of possibility for me for quite some time. I feared that it would bring me too close to my body. I have been running from my body for a long time under the rationale that it is somehow defective and dirty from the abuse.

It turns out, I was deadly mistaken.

And thus began my relationship with yoga. I am timid because my mat tends to see a few boring days of being rolled up in my closet while I sit and look at it, daring myself to practice. Practicing is intimidating to me, despite my love for it. It invites me into the place of terrifying, beautiful vulnerability that is perfectly on the cusp of lost and found. It is intimidating because it makes me stop running, allowing me to breathe into my body. When I do stop running, I see the wounded heart inside. It almost breaks me and sometimes tears threaten to fall in mourning of lost innocence, but the shame holds them captive.

With every Vinyasa I come closer to breaking the shame. I wait for the day when I can break free enough to weep on the mat. I long to honor my body and past with the sweet tears of healing that only yoga can bring. My body and soul crave the release through breathing and truly accepting “Here I am, Self.”

Despite the pain of the vulnerable reality of my past, I will continue to build our relationship.

For those moments when I feel scared, sad, joyful, disgusted, accepting, ashamed, loving, gentle, or anything and everything else, there is this immaculate calm inside me. It’s beautiful. It’s imperfect. It is why I do yoga. Because one day I hope I will connect enough to cry on the mat again and because it makes me smile. When I do break the shame and honor my body by practicing, that is healing for me: a synthesis between wholeness and fragmentation that allows me to be vulnerably and wonderfully alive.

Through the brokenness, I breathe, “Here I am, Self”

And smiling, my Self breathes back, “Namaste, Emily.”


Emily Taggart: I am a warrior; a one-woman revolutionist; an eating disorder and self-harm survivor; a do-er and a thinker; a student; and more than whatever the past says I am. When I am not at school, I am learning from the world around me and teaching the art of compassion. Yoga is saving my soul better than any razor blade ever did, and I am rediscovering the beauty of my Self. I am taking it one day, one breath, and one meal at a time and learning to love it. I am Emily, and I am a survivor.

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Asst. Ed. Kathleen O’Hagan
Ed: Brianna Bemel

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