Emily, 17 was first introduced to yoga in hospital. She had attempted suicide multiple times and was ill with anorexia. She was told if she didn’t go into hospital then she would be sectioned.
“I was in a terrible state, and had lost over half my body weight. My suicide attempts had been monthly, and I’d been on suicide watch for three years.”
This was a year ago and today Emily feels infinitely better. A big part of her recovery is down to yoga. At first she didn’t take it seriously at all because of a misconception that it was hippy and all of that. But then she found that yoga empowered her to realise that her body isn’t just what people can see but it more about how she can use it.
Her first yoga session was a turning point. It was a very slow class because it was at a treatment facility. She couldn’t really move beyond a few stretches. At this stage she didn’t realise how physical and complex yoga could be. Yoga was introduced to her as a way to calm down. Yoga also introduced her to meditation.
“I have always been crazy flexible because I did ballet. Maybe that’s partly why I developed an eating disorder. But yoga made me realise that it’s not just about my appearance but also what I can do with my body. I can do headstands etc, and that’s really empowering. It’s my antidote to the desire to be thinner.”
Emily’s life now is so much better. There are still bits and pieces she is trying to restore. She recently I lost a bit of weight because of exams. But her mental health has improved. She is able to maintain friendships and will be going to university in September. She never thought she would be doing that.
Emily used to over-think everything and be anxious a lot of the time.
The clarity that yoga brings is what really helped her.
She is not one of those constant, dedicated people, and only does yoga for 10 minutes a day, but it helps to ground her.
Yoga taught her how to calm down and not panic at everything. It also enabled her to have a better relationship with her body.