Let GoJune 1, 2017
I don’t remember how many times she asked me to try yoga, but I finally did. Exercise restrictions were lifted and I was craving movement. I was always a mover. But when it was time to go inpatient to treat the eating disorder that was slowly taking me down, I lost that luxury of getting to move my body. It was time to be still and heal. When I proved to my treatment team that I was medically stable, my nutritionist pushed my opportunity to find connection. Yoga, she said, it’s time to get out of your head and back into your body. So I trusted her and finally went.
I remember my first class…clueless to what this practice was all about. I took in the students around me trying to follow their movement and I clung to every word the teacher was saying and at the end, in final relaxation, I laid there with eyes wide open.
Close my eyes? Clearly anxious when all was to be calm, my teacher walked over and pressed her thumbs on the space between my eyebrows and whispered, “Let go.” I could let go? Oh. Maybe I will…so I closed my eyes and let go. Tears slid out and I silently thanked her.
Often times, it’s not until someone gives us permission to, do we begin to let go. Or at least, that’s how it felt to me. I needed that permission to put down all that I was carrying, if only for that moment. Permission to let go. That’s what I did, class after class, listening to her remind us to let go at the end. And little by little, I let go of what no longer served me, creating space that I never imagined was possible.
Adding yoga to my steady appointments of nutritional and talk therapy was a game changer. The support I was already receiving was life saving in itself, but the addition of a practice that would shape who I am today…I never saw coming.
There was a trust with my own self that my eating disorder ripped away from me, first my physical self, then mental, then spiritual – until I felt like nothing but the disease itself. Over time, yoga brought back that connection to self. Years of letting go of who I thought I was and moving towards all that I was meant to be, brought me to a sense of gratitude, of grace, of humility, of love. There came a love for what my body could do, leaning away from what it looked like and leaning in to what it felt like. There came a love for the way I could settle in, and not try to chase my thoughts away, but be with them as a compassionate observer, as my therapist would say. There came a love for the letting go, so that growth could happen. And it did.
Today I teach children the lessons I’ve learned through yoga, through healing and recovery. I want them to feel equipped and ready to show up in this world with a mind, body and heart full of love and gratitude. Much how I strive to live every day.
Karen is the director of Alluem Kids, an ever growing yoga program for kids, teens and families located in Alluem Yoga in Cranford, NJ. The Alluem Kid’s program began during the open days of the studio in 2009 and has grown to be an influential part of the community serving thousands of children throughout the years. She completed her teacher training with Little Flower Yoga in 2009 and Every Kid’s Yoga – Yoga for Children with Special Needs in 2015. Karen is also an Embody Love Movement Facilitator, leading workshops and camps to empower the young girls in her community. When she’s not teaching yoga, she’s busy illustrating…usually something to do with yoga. www.karengilmour.com www.alluemyoga.com