“I’ve been working really hard to try to value my body in a type of way that I haven’t before. I’m trying, and it’s hard – and I felt like I was making a lot of progress but I just always end up setting myself back. I’m at a point where I know what I’m doing is not right. I recognize the unhealthy habits immediately, and in the mental health scheme of this, it’s almost addictive.
I’m very addicted to negative self talk, and terrified that if I lose [it], then all the things I don’t want to come true are automatically going to. I’ve been really working to create a better relationship with food and exercise, and not have any of that represent a punishment or reward. Some people say it’s good to write down your foods and things, but I don’t care to. I’d love to just be free of that. I’m afraid of letting my guard down.
Psychologically though, it makes sense: when I lose control in my life I turn to food or to bad habits to control things. Recently I brought Hunter (my boyfriend) to college, and its definitely pushed me back to a place don’t want to be. I know it’s my negative self-talk, but I just feel so petty talking about these things because I don’t have ‘huge’ issues compared to so many other people. My issue is that I don’t like my body. I could have so many bigger things going on, and when I talk about it I feel like everybody is like “ugh, get over it.” Nobody actually ever says that, but it’s just how I receive it.
My biggest fear is of people thinking, ‘Oh, she’s just being dramatic; she’s faking it.” I’m scared of getting shut down as soon as I talk about these things…
I started yoga the month that Hunter went away to basic training. I’ve always been an anxious kid, and my family line is very low in serotonin, so everybody on my dad’s side of the family is anxious and depressed. I’ve always been anxious, but not the way I got hit with it- like that kind of darkness when he left. I struggle coping with change and it was a huge change. I went to college, my friends left, Hunter went to basic training, I had no contact with him, and I panicked.
My mom said, ‘Why don’t you try yoga?’ I had tried yoga before, but my purpose doing it was out of an unhealthy mental place. I wanted to practice solely because I thought I was going to lose weight. But, then yoga became so much more than just exercise to me. Yoga is the one thing in my life that I choose not because I’m trying to get skinny. You know? Maybe it keeps me physically healthy, but I don’t motivate myself to go to yoga in a negative way: the way I would with going to the gym. I have become so comfortable with everything about yoga, and then started having connections with people at the studio.
When Ron Sambursky from Yoga Body Shop talked to me about doing teacher training I started to see that there was SO much available to me with yoga- it was like a whole new world. The energy is something that really got me. I remember I went to Blake’s class – it was my first class ever, and was an ‘all-levels class’ of which I had never gone to before. Man, I got my ass kicked! But, I thought to myself, “this is what I’ve been waiting for! Thank you, Blake”. I felt SO empowered; I felt so strong. I hadn’t felt that lately, or really ever, because when I’d be at school or at home everything would just be dark.
That’s the only way I can describe the year; that it was dark. I was having panic attacks every single day; not breathing; couldn’t do it; leaving class…all I kept thinking about was yoga and how it was my safe place. I would know that THIS is how I calm myself down on the mat, and THIS right here is what I can do in real life. On the mat, I don’t hyperventilate- I breathe through my nose, I calm myself down, I stare, I breathe, and I was able to see that.
Our yoga teacher training just blew that up in such a good way. Now, without our training, would you imagine you’d be doing this project right now?” Anna had asked me (Jen Morabito) during our interview…
I responded, “Not a chance. I would have never moved to a new location, and had these countless long drives for our teacher training weekends to listen to all the podcasts (Creating Space Podcast with Wes Knight) that helped me find my purpose, and the space I needed to create it. It’s all brought me to THIS, here. Right where I am now. Yoga has allowed me to step into the possibility that we can do whatever we want to do. And, that’s what THE SELF STORIES will show people.
“Saying that I was ‘nervous’ for my interview with Jen for THE SELF STORIES- which was recorded at the beginning of this year for the purpose of being posted online is an understatement. I was terrified. Since our teacher training program I’ve tried to express the most authentic version of myself each day. But, showing my guts to the Internet struck a nerve with the ‘lies’ I held on to. For anyone who’s gone through a similar training, we do a lot of inquiry and self reflection, and discover these ‘lies’ we’ve told ourselves our whole lives. Basically, I was so terrified that I didn’t even check Instagram the first day my post was revealed. I thought for sure that I would be exposed and judged in the worst way. However, it feels soo good to just let my guard down and be, in a sense, emotionally naked. I have been stripped from a mask that I thought I needed.
A few weeks ago I started a blog that I swore I would never advertise- despite the fact that I want it to grow. But today, I feel in my power and ready to share my knowledge and journey with anyone and everyone. So check it out: www.humanalign.blogspot.com.
I hope to inspire you to let go of what holds you back and to authentically live each day.”
Follow Anna’s story in Instagram: @acrandell66
Check out our other inspiring stories of everyday yoga practitioners and please, #ShareToEmpowerALL ! We strive to empower others to get vulnerable, be inspired to start a yoga practice of their own to bring in hope & possibility.