“Everyone, everywhere deserves to be at ease with themselves and their bodies.” That is the motto of Sprout Yoga—an organization dedicated to providing yoga to those healing from eating disorders and trauma.
Today we get to hear a Real Story from the founder of this wonderful organization, Maggie!
I was an average kid until about the sixth grade. And then I grew. And grew. And grew. I grew six inches in one school year and didn’t gain a pound. That kind of growth hid a pattern of eating that was fairly destructive. I could put away a pan of brownies, or heaps of mashed potatoes without too much fan fare. When I stopped growing and gained the weight I needed to be healthy, it was noticeable and noticed.
I started crash dieting and only gained more weight. I could go a day or two without food before I’d feel faint and start bingeing again. Around that same time I experienced a fairly severe trauma. The destructive binge eating and crash dieting continued through high school—where at one point I ate less than 900 calories a day—and into college. At some point in college the exercising and limiting my food intake caused me to lose a lot of weight rapidly. Again it was noticeable and noticed—people talked to me about my eating in an intervention style manner.
I managed to keep most of my food issues under control after college but there would be periods of extreme intake and extreme restricting. Law school was even worse, and then afterwards worse again. I had built up anxiety about my body, how big and strong I was (an athletic 5’8”), and the things that had happened to me.
The one place I was free from the intense anxiety I had about whether I was small enough was yoga. I started at my mom’s suggestion at age 17 and it stayed with me. I kept up through videos, classes, books and any way I could and was encouraged by a therapist to make yoga part of my healing strategy. As I found the sources of my compulsive eating, I found that I was getting closer to healing the more I did yoga.
I decided to volunteer to teach, and after fifteen years of practice, I was finally at a point where I could share my experience through teaching. The power of teaching keeps me in a place where I confront levels of my compulsive eating. Yoga is more than just a series of movements-it calms the whirlpools of the mind. By learning about meditation, peace and freedom in yoga, I could apply these theories to my own compulsive eating. —Maggie
It’s not jut Maggie who’s gotten help for eating issues through yoga—studies have found that it can be beneficial for people going through treatment. We got a chance to ask her more about it and will have some at-home tips coming soon!