Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Asato Ma Sat Gamayo

Om Namah Shivayah

I mentioned in a recent post that, “for me, yoga has been the most amazing tool for recovery.  It was on the yoga mat that I first felt this sense of awe at the power and strength in my very own body.”  My first yoga class was a quarter unit, no credit half-semester phys ed class I took at Moravian College and I honestly really didn’t like it.  It was definitely Hatha Yoga, although the instructor really didn’t follow any true yoga school format.  It was slow, meditative, and non-strenuous.  Then I signed up for a class at the Y because the description promised something along the lines of an invigorating workout and increased muscle mass and strength.  And I walked into my first Astanga class. And fell in love.  Both with the discipline of the practice, the increased strength and stamina, and the teacher.

The teacher was not only an excellent instructor, but an excellent reader of people.  She never came out and asked if I had an eating disorder.  But she could tell that I wasn’t in the yoga class for the union between spirt and mind and body that yoga is all about.  (I would be into that union later.)  She didn’t judge me for it.  But she did talk to me one day as I was rolling up my mat and gear and gave me my first mantra, pictured at left in the form of my recovery tattoo: Om Namah Shivayah, roughly translated (and I’ve heard it translated different ways by different speakers of the language) as “I respect/honor the divinity within me.”  At the time, I had no idea what she meant, or was getting at, but I think she could sense my dissatisfaction with my body and desire to change it.

I began using that mantra, and it took awhile to figure out why it applied to me and then even longer for it to really sink in and for me to believe it.  I recently was researching mantras and mala beads, since mine broke awhile back, and found Asato Ma Sat Gamayo : Lead me from the unreal to the real.  For me right now, the “real” I want to be led to is the present place and time, and the acceptance of the present place and time, since I spend so much time either worrying about the future or wishing I were somewhere else.

Tonight I thought of someone’s body positive suggestion which I will write here as well as on the comment to that entry (contest entry!!) later this week, since it is rather specific and I don’t think a lot of people were going to write in with this suggestion:

put on a swim suit or go without one if you are brave enough and lucky enough to have your
own pool. go outside and simply float in the water.  Trust your body to hold
you up in the water and feel the water surround your body.  Lay as still and
quiet as you can and simply feel the pressure of the water, let it caress
your body.  Breathe deeply in and out & notice how your body sinks slightly
with each breath you let out and rises with each breath you take in.
Sometimes just relaxing and enjoying the monement can make all the

First off, the wording is beautiful.  Second, this is a perfect mindfulness practice.  Third, what a way to learn the power of your body and to honor that and to feel the sensations on your skin and not judge those sensations, but just be aware of them and maybe, just maybe, take pleasure in them.

Well, i didn’t go to my pool.  Still can’t soak the knee since I have stitches still. But I did soak in the bathtub (knee propped up on the bath tub’s edge) in a wonderful lavender scented bath.  And repeated the Asato Ma Sat Gamayo mantra for a bit and then thought of this suggestion and closed my eyes and just let myself feel the water around me and smelled the lavender and breathed deeply and let myself just relax.  And be in the moment.  It was a wonderful end to my day.  My concerns of school melted away.  I had no thoughts of body dissatisfaction.  I just felt good and peaceful and now, even after my bath, I still carry that peaceful feeling with me in a well-taken-care-of body.

Here’s to the real, the here and now.


July 28, 2010 - Posted by | Body Image, Eating Disorders, mindfulness | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I know this comment is less than substantial but I just wanted to say that I think Ashtanga yoga is by far my favorite kind of yoga and I think yoga can do wonders for recovery if you are willing to be open to the practice which I struggle with at times because it does require patience and awareness. The eating disorder was not patient and DEFINITELY did not want to be aware of my body or how it was feeling or moving….I think that is still difficult for me so I have tried a bit more fast paced pilates and weight lifting exercises that are similar in some ways yet still allow me to disconnect a bit. I also love riding my bike- and with that I disconnect but I think and take in all the beauty around me outside which I could not do if I was focusing on burning calories. (Sorry this was off topic….took a break from studying and wanted to catch up on some of your blog posts).

    Comment by Jessica | July 28, 2010 | Reply

    • I think, as with a lot of things, yoga is a process. My first astanga teacher realized I was there, initially, purely for the phsyical benefits. But it got me to class and to my yoga practice and eventually I started embracing the rest of yoga and began learning to listen to my body and notice my body’s signals in each pose. You’ll come to it when you’re ready.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | July 28, 2010 | Reply

  2. Awesome site, I didnt have the chance to notice in the past in my searches! Continiue the great work!

    Comment by skin.4 | July 29, 2010 | Reply

  3. Awesome post! thank you for sharing this information. really got under my
    skin, bookmarked… Keep up the great site…

    Comment by beautya6 | August 16, 2010 | Reply

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