Yoga for Wellness

what does “being well” mean to you?  for each one of us, the path to wellness is unique. my own journey has included neurologists, physical therapists, massage therapists, and yoga, while yours may be less crowded but equally enlightening. one thing all of our paths have in common is the notion that true healing starts with the belief that you can heal.

recently, i had the opportunity to teach a class on “yoga for wellness” as part of dc yoga week and in partnership with athleta georgetown and author laura susanne yochelson. laura’s book, sick: in the name of being well, i made myself sick, is a powerful personal account of grappling with and recovering from an eating disorder. i taught a class immediately prior to laura’s book discussion at athleta, and my challenge was this: to design a class around the themes of self-exploration in laura’s book.

on a sunny saturday spring morning, georgetowners and tourists bustled along m street as laura and i brought to light the gritty truth of eating disorders, and steps along the path to recovery.  “life is all about balance,” i reminded students, “physically, mentally, and emotionally. that balance is unique for each individual.” i encouraged the group to explore their own healing paths, by taking the steps together in our class.  we journeyed inside to the gut and the heart, seeing the belly as a guidepost to deeper truths, and the heart as a tour guide to deeper emotions.

becoming scientists for the morning, we experimented with movements that felt good to us, observing and taking mental notes, sensing subtle shifts in energy and emotions as we flowed through vinyasa asanas (postures). this awareness allowed us to take on new perspectives as we twisted our way from downward facing dog to savasana. it all reminded me of this yoga gem:

“the harder we struggle against our negativity, the more energy we give it and the stronger it becomes. the only way out is to watch. if you are maintaining your stance as a witness, you will catch your mind spinning out a string of negative comments. then, you can intervene.”

~aruna bhargava

for more on laura’s book, sick: in the name of being well, i made myself sick, check out these resources:

laura’s website | laura’s facebook page | sick on amazon | my review of sick on amazon

thanks to laura for sharing her story and to christina at athleta for providing us the opportunity!  happy dc yoga week!

Jane Daly Danese