Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about my 3rd chakra.
I know, I know, you may read that and go LORA , I THINK CHAKRAS ARE A LOAD OF HOOEY.
And that’s okay.
Because I was right there with you at one point in my life.
But this is National Eating Disorder Awareness week and so, y’all, we’re going to do some chakra talk.
The 3rd chakra is called the Manipura chakra. Located at your naval it is considered to represent your center of self. You know, where you’re confidence lives, where your self-esteem resides, where your willpower, your self-love, your acceptance for you ALL LIVE.
And when you have an eating disorder, this is one of the biggest areas of distress and pain.
As many of you know, I suffered from both anorexia and bulimia in my life.
My 3rd chakra was all over the place. My digestion was TERRIBLE, a physical manifestation of my problems. (I swear, there was a whole summer I didn’t poop…how nasty is that!?!) And every time I looked in the mirror it was MY STOMACH that I thought made me fat. It was my stomach, my naval center that represented to me all of my inseucirite,s my lack of self-confidence, my fears.
What’s interesting is that supposedly this chakra also has to do with challenges such as SHAME. It also can help guide you to TRANSFORMATION.
And when I had an eating disorder it was because I was ASHAMED of me and ASHAMED of recent events. (You can read about how my sexual assault in college triggered my eating disorder and also simultaneously brought me to yoga on the Yogaudacious blog. I am not going to get into that story here.) And it wasn’t truly until I dug into the solar plexus chakra (known as the Manipura chakra), that I really began to be the fully happy, fully healthy, fully wonderful me that I am today.
And according to yoga, one of the solutions to balancing the third chakra is to tap into your sense of power and confidence through core work, such as boat pose pictured above. Other poses that help to ignite this energy center include sun salutations, warrior poses, side-planks, and more. It can also include restorative back-bends if you find your energy is working in excess. (yes, we can be overly confident, yeah?)
But for me the power behind this chakra was my ability to understand that my whole body was connected to my mind.
Once I started to investigate what was going on in my stomach, I was able to understand what was going on with my heart and in my head.
And then I was able to heal.
I’m not going to tell you how to fix an eating disorder today.
Just know that they are more common than you will ever know. NO ONE knew that I had an eating disorder. NO ONE knew that I had been sexually assaulted. I was a good actress, I was ashamed of what people would say if they found out, and so I KEPT IT HIDDEN.
If you suspect someone is suffering from an eating disorder, be supportive. Encourage them to eat meals with you. Encourage them to get to yoga, to journal, to talk to someone. But, above all, encourage them to just be them.
I’m grateful and lucky that I have the extraordinary sense of self to bring myself back from something so bad. To allow myself to become healthy and happy. I know what my body needs now to keep me in balance. And I’ll always have some weird digestive issues from the years of abuse to my body. But I love food now. I love my body now. And, more important, I love me.
And I’m not going to walk the streets saying HEY Y’ALL I’M A SURVIVOR!
Because that doesn’t define me.
I define me.
And I am grateful for my past experiences, even though they were not all pleasant, I wouldn’t be ME without them.
I would never have explored that 3rd chakra.
I would never have examined my sense of self.
I would never have learned to really LOVE me.
I would never have become a yoga teacher to help others to LOVE THEMSELVES and be happy, comfortable, and feel at ease in their bodies.
3rd chakra poses may never be easy for me. I still have work to do. And we all do in some way shape or form. But I am grateful for my journey and I love my stomach and my past–just they way that they unfolded.
If you are someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, please seek assistance.
For more awareness on National Eating Disorder Awareness week, please visit the official website at http://nedawareness.org/.
I #PassLove to you all.