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Yoga Therapy for Eating Disorders – Featured Yogi

We’re so appreciative of all the stories shared over the last year and a half on our website, and we’d like to highlight one more #shareyourstory for 2015. Barbara Antonio, who has completed her 200HR teacher training and is working towards her 500HR certification with Yoga Medicine, very bravely shared her story recently.

Babs found yoga to help her cope with the unexpected loss of her father and an almost 20 year battle with anorexia and eating disorders. “Somehow, doing yoga was helping me to feel alive again. I started to realize that I had a life to live.” Her desire to sustain her yoga practice led her to evaluate and change the way she was nourishing her body and mind and slowly over time started eating more regularly and more mindfully.

Now as a yoga teacher, Bab has found a purpose to her teaching “Although my recovery is an on-going journey, I am certain that my purpose in life is to help others who battle with eating disorders find their way back to a healthy relationship with themselves.” What an inspiration to us all. To read her full story scroll down past the photo.

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Yoga Therapy for Eating Disorders

Barbara Antonio

I crept my way into a yoga class in 2008. I used to work as a full-time graphic designer and one of my colleagues told me there was a corporate yoga in the building and that I should join her at some point. She thought it’d help me because I was going through some hard times. For the same reasons, my husband bought me a Wii-fit, suggesting I should give yoga a try. The reason why many people were offering me help was because I became really ill and depressed after the unexpected death of my dad. I had been battling with eating disorders since I was 13 or 14, and I was now 32. At 32 I had started to make a recovery. Until, after my father’s death, my physical and mental health plummeted severely again.

I followed my friend’s and husband’s advice and started doing yoga a couple of times a week. At first, I was practicing just to keep my body thin but little by little a few things, at a much deeper level, started to change within me. Somehow, doing yoga was helping me to feel alive again. I started to realize that I had a life to live.

What gave me the “push” to feed my body and soul was the idea of not being able to sustain a strong practice, or even attempt an advance posture because my body and mind would not be strong enough, if I didn’t nourish them properly. So, slowly, I started eating more regularly and more mindfully. I loved the asana practice and I knew that without nutritious food, I would have not been able to fully enjoy it. It was like yoga and food were feeding and supporting each other. One could not exist without the other.

Healing & Overcoming

It was after my first TT in 2012 that my practice really grew, becoming more regular and really part of my life.

My body began to change, I could see and feel it become stronger. I could sense more comfort underneath my skin. It was not just thanks to my physical practice that things were shifting. Meditation, pranayama and relaxation techniques also helped massively. They have been helping me boost my confidence, the trust in myself (and others.) But, most of all, I had started believing that my intention to get well was much more powerful and loud than the disease that had been slowly trying to make me fade away, from the inside out.

I really had trust and faith and I kept going. I accepted the good days and the bad days, trusting that the “bad” days were coming to make me see the truth that I was more than just a skinny body. Eventually, I realized that it would be an insult to nature not to live my life fully.

Moving On

I found Tiffany’s classes on Yogaglo in 2013 and I immediately felt an urge to meet her, study and train with her. Her knowledge of yoga and the human body, along with her simplicity, just blew my mind.I am now a 200hrs Yoga Medicine teacher, also training towards a 500hr certification. Something that I dreamt of from the moment I read she was doing teacher training.

As my teachings and self-practice keep evolving and growing, my purpose started to become a little clearer to me, especially to my heart. I have come to realize that the experiences I have lived, the lessons I have learned and the healing processes I have been going through need to be shared. Whilst I was very ill, I would really sadden me to see someone else going through the same pain, the same self-hatred, the same cycles of starvation and binging, but I could not help anyone because I was too fragile and weak.

Although my recovery is an on-going journey, I am certain that my purpose in life is to help others who battle with eating disorder find their way back to a healthy relationship with themselves. And I am very excited to start this new journey, to bring yoga to those that really need it and to create strong bonds and community.

As I continue my studies with Yoga Medicine, I will also be attending a “Yoga Therapy for Eating Disorders” course at the end of November 2015, which, I hope, will give me more insight into how I can offer yoga and its practices to medical centres, hospitals and specialised clinics as part of their treatments.

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