Catherine Shuttleworth, 15, explains how yoga has helped her through her battle with anorexia
“My yoga journey started like many others: my mum forcing me to go! I have suffered with mental health problems since aged 13, but last year I was diagnosed with anorexia, so my mum took me to the local yoga studio for their yoga classes for teenagers. Walking into the studio changed my life forever. Normally, I never like to admit when my mother is right, but after my first class I got into the car and just said: “I love it”. My mum felt triumphant to say the least.
I went to every teen class after that and even started going to the adult classes as my love for yoga progressed. However, when my health started deteriorating, my mum stopped me from going to yoga because I was too weak to do anything; that’s when I realised how much yoga meant to me.
As soon as I’d missed one class, I started to pick up my knife and fork and actually stick to my meal plan if it meant I could go to my yoga class. My wonderful teacher was so easy to talk to about what was going on and I remember, one week, the class was based on loving and appreciating our bodies. Now, prior to
that moment, I (like most people) only saw how my body looked as being important. I believed the only importance of having a body was to make sure it looked thin and ‘perfect’. Yet, that class taught me that my body is so much more than that. I appreciated it for all that it does for me, how it holds all my organs, and allows me to live. I was starting to learn how to love my body, regardless of how it looked. After that class I got home and cried, happy tears of course, it was like a whole new revelation. I got home and had some chocolate.
Having some chocolate might not seem like a big deal but that was the first time I’d eaten chocolate in six months. And I wouldn’t have been able to have had that chocolate if it wasn’t for yoga showing me all the incredible things my body can do for me.
So, to you reading this, I urge you to start doing yoga if you haven’t already. Many people (including myself at one point) believe you have to be skinny and flexible to do yoga, but that is far from the truth. Anyone, of any age, size and ability can do yoga. Yoga is the best form of self-care and helps you not only physically but mentally. It will transform your life like it did mine.”
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.