Monday, March 15, 2010

Eating to Live, Eating to Dance

(Toby and Lilly are truly best friends -- sharing a stool!)

Part of learning to teach YogaDance is learning to eat well enough to have the energy to teach YogaDance. This is an unexpected but welcome lesson for this FoodIssueChick.

I've written about how and when my warped relationship with food began and how far I have come. Then recently, I was asked on my formspring page if I consider myself fully recovered and how I am keeping dancing a "disorder free zone."

The dance world is, of course, notorious for creating a mindset of "never perfect enough," and when you add that to the larger culture's attitudes about women's bodies, well, it can be hard to avoid eating and body image issues when you are doing a lot of your work in front of a mirror.

Am I fully recovered? What a powerful question.

If we are to define "recovered" as being in a state of never contemplating food in a negative and self-destructive way, then most definitely not. I would love to meet any woman who never ever thinks of food in these ways.

On the other hand, if we are to define "recovered" as "Aware," then most definitely Yes.

Yes. I am recovered. I notice very quickly, almost in the moment, when I am denying myself food for all the wrong reasons. I notice very quickly when I am falling back into old patterns. This happens not only on the level of the mind, but now that I am more fully embodied, my body sends messages, which I hear loud and clear and which I respect.

This is new to me -- the girl who would go all day without peeing and not notice until she was in severe pain. This body used to feel like a burden. All of its needs were offensive to me in one way or another.

Now if I don't eat correctly, my body tells me as I struggle to dance for more than 30 minutes with any grace and balance and strength. If I don't eat correctly, I tire easily and I feel my muscles weaken too quickly. If I didn't eat correctly, there would be no way I could make it through teaching a high energy class for an hour, all the while talking and trying to inspire and keeping an eye on my students' needs.

I love to dance. When I am dancing, all is clear. I know who I am.

I will not endanger that by not taking care of myself.

Dancing is too important for it not to be a "disorder free zone."

I guess that leads to the larger answer, doesn't it? Now that I am doing what I was born to do, I am no longer hiding from life. Now that I am no longer hiding from life, I am open to all the majestic adventure it may have in store for me. Now that I am open to this living thing, I am happy. And, so...

I am happy, therefore I eat.

(NOTE: Again, if you can't see the comments, simply click on the title of this post. You will then have access. I apologize for any inconvenience; I am working to remedy this (WEIRD and most ANNOYING) issue.)


Rachel @ Suburban Yogini said...

You have come so far and are such an inspiration. I do understand because the yoga world is very similar with it's (unyogi) ideas of perfection. Also it almost encourages disorders with the whole "not eating for three hours before class" thing (which incidentally I don't encourage particularly).

Linnea said...

Rachel makes an interesting point about yoga. I can't possibly follow the "three hour directive" because I'm hypoglycemic and I eat six times a day. (Talk about a body letting you know you aren't feeding it properly!)

Having said that, I'm fighting forty-something weight gain and metabolic issues, no doubt assisted by some of my past behaviors (especially when, at 39, I was so stressed out I subsisted on barely anything for a year because I "could not swallow" my life circumstances at the time -- a job that was eroding my spiritual condition). As a result, I do not like my body right now at all, and I'm striving to remember all the wonderful things it does for me rather than to dwell on its flaws. I'm glad you address this issue because it helps me put things in perspective. Feed and care for it well, and it will be healthy; the rest will follow. I will learn to love the curves my body's always wanted to have when I wasn't exercising it into submission.

Anna said...


tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE that pic! It's soooo precious!

Recovery ... I tend to think of recovery as a life's work, as in we're all sort of works-in-progress. For me, I have absolutely noticed my body rejoicing when I feed it properly ... that's the best incentive to keep on keeping on ...