The power of human connection

I’ve noticed the last few days that since I decided to embark on this journey I have, perversely, become resistant to it. Somehow taking the leap to share something so private has sent me recoiling back into the solitude of myself and my eating disorder.

Perhaps it is the fear that now I have said it out loud, taken this thing outside of myself and into the public arena, I have to commit to it.

And the Gremlin doesn’t like that. He wants to cling on with such virulence that he digs his claws in deeper.

Well this morning I fight with him to loosen his grip.

I awoke to the grey and bluster of a winter day by the Brighton sea. The sky so dark and flat resonated with the flatness I felt inside.

Yesterday evening I booked myself into a yoga class at About Balance.

This is a haven of tranquility and warmth, a studio and treatment centre that runs on the ethos of wellbeing for all. It’s low-cost so attracts a certain type of teacher and student – kind, gentle, accepting, offering classes imbued with non-judgment and the philosophy of yoga.

It feels safe and welcoming there.

I was tired this morning and wanted to curl inwards. It felt like a chore to wrap myself up against the wind and rain. I didn’t want to go to the mat because I was afraid of what it might release.

But commit I did and I now feel lifted.

I walked to the class in such a negative headspace, lost in my eating disorder thoughts, counting step after step.

I walked home smiling, full of a warmth that could not be quelled by the cold or beaten away by the gusts of wind that blew me along the street.

So often I have found, and particularly with Yoga, it is when we feel most resistant to something that we benefit the most. I don’t know why this is, but I guess it’s our minds manifesting themselves in our body, not wanting us to let go.

Because with letting go comes real change and a journey into the unknown, and we humans are creatures of comfort and habit. We don’t like change.

Even if what we know hurts us and deep down we don’t want to be in that place, it seems safer to stay there than to go somewhere different.

Because we don’t know what that might bring.

The five Yamas of Yoga are the ethical and moral guidelines by which Yogis should live, and I remembered one today, that feels particularly poignant as I grasp to treat myself and my body with love and compassion.

I remembered this because I was encouraged to be gentle with myself on the mat, and I listened.

I was treated with compassion and consideration by my Yoga Teacher, and it helped me to be kind to myself.

I have always kept my eating disorder so bolted behind the barricade I have built around myself but today I started to open up and be honest with my teacher about my journey.

I shared meaningful conversation with another teacher after class, and was shown that it’s ok to feel broken, that I don’t need to be ashamed and hide away.

She inspired hope and courage and the motivation to achieve my goals. She filled me with a confidence that I will teach yoga, and I will be a gentle and compassionate teacher because I have felt broken.

Just as the lotus opens its petals and lets in the light so I opened my heart to the help of others and the fortress I have constructed around myself starts to crumble.

Walking home with a lightness in my step and a smile on my face I thought about how, sometimes, we feel so blue that all we want to do is shut ourselves away inside the solitary confinements of our soul and our pain.

Today I was reminded of the power of human connection, of pushing the boundaries of your fear and finding trust – in others and yourself – to be honest and know that people won’t run away because, on some level, they can relate.

Though sometime we feel it, the truth is, we are never alone.

In not giving in to the Gremlin and overcoming my resistance to my yoga practice today, I reaped the rewards. And I renewed my trust in the Universe to give me what I need.

Today I invite you to also step outside of yourself, to do something you are resistant to, and to trust that process.

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