From self-hatred to self-love, through yoga.

I truly don’t remember the first time that I decided to dislike myself. I just remember being a kid and wanting to be different. It started with my hair, so I would wear a T-shirt on my head: to appear more white.

Then, I remember refraining from eating because I didn’t feel worth of eating. My self-hatred became so apparent that I would starve myself for a week and then the next week, eat everything that was in the house and throw it up three to four times a day.

When I would wake up, I would think about what I could eat that stopped me from gaining anymore weight that I already had. Because I felt like my body couldn’t deal with being ‘fatter’ than I already was. I had no energy, I would think about food the whole day and go to bed crying because I felt too fat to live in this world that wanted me to be skinnier. I was in pain, mentally and emotionally. I needed a release from the suffering.

I wish I could tell you that I have memories of being a teenage when I didn’t feel this way; however, that would be a lie. I spent over a decade and a half hating myself.

One day, a friend of mine wanted me to join her in a yoga class. I had done yoga on-and-off since I was 14 but this time, I was 20 and had just gone through an intense break-up. As a result, my self-hatred was at an all time high.

So, I went to a vinyasa class in manhattan with my friend. After it, I felt such relief. If I can narrow how I felt down to three words, they would be: relieved, free and worthy. In all of my 20 years of life, I had never felt so in-tune with my body. I felt like my body had a more significant use for it than how it had been used before. Acknowledging my breath and heartbeat helped me recognize that my body is always working to keep me alive, regardless of what it looks like.

I have previously been so hard on myself and my body. However, after 8 years of continuous practice, I can gladly say that I have had my ups and downs to getting here but I truly love myself and my body. Sometimes the thoughts try to sneak in but, I remember that they will fade and I affirm myself that my health is way more important than looking a certain way to live up to pretenses that society has set for me.

My body is a blessing from the universe and I will take care of it, the best way that I can.