Emily Pateuk on really showing up
"The more and more that I practice, the harder it is to dislike myself. I've gotten a lot more confident in myself because I'm learning how to show up for myself. The show up, sweat, shine thing is so real. When I actually show up, I feel better."
Emily Pateuk didn't know what a calorie was until midway through her college career, then something switched and she couldn't turn off obsessive thoughts about how she looked or felt in her body. This led to restrictive eating, running long distances with no fuel in her body, feeling disconnected but staying safe in the comfort of her eating disorder.
What I know from talking to my peers about disordered eating, the control is what is comfortable. When you can count, break down, and evaluate each ounce of your food, numbers become the value and not the actual substance of the food. When you fight for control, what you have has you. You feel restricted and tied to whatever it is you seek to control.
"Body is not marble. That is not its purpose. Its purpose is to protect, contain, support and fire the spirit and soul within it, to be a repository for memory- to fill us with feeling."- Clarissa Estes, Women Who Run With Wolves
Emily spent time in outpatient care through college and after graduating. Her counselor recommended she do something to find a sense of community in Athens. So she asked her friend, now yoga instructor who recovered from an eating disorder, what she should do.
There's nothing you should read or do or stretch to prepare yourself for power yoga. Just go. You will find the practice perfectly just as it is in perfect timing. All you have to do is show up.
Emily showed up and showed up and kept showing up, practicing over 115 times since her first class 10 months ago.
"The change in how I feel about myself and how seriously I take the eating disorder recovery has been... the catalyst has been yoga. It feels like therapy in motion for me," she went on, "I actively participate in my life instead of sitting back and watching it happen."
"I'm more honest with myself and everyone around me. I don't feel like I have to hide things about myself."
On May 17, 2018 I taught a noon power class, where I had the students think of one thing in their lives blocking their vitality. Half way through the class I asked them to turn to their neighbor and tell them their block. No one moved...so I said it again. Turn to your neighbor and tell them your block. Immediately afterwards everyone seemed lighter. It went from being so heavy and still to like "Phew! That's gone!" The energy in the room shifted in a huge way. Put it out there- let it leave your body.
Emily sent me a message on instagram thanking me for the class, and I responded telling her she looks like a totally different person- fuller.
"A few months ago someone telling me I looked fuller would make me want to rip my skin off."
When you show up and are open to a different way of seeing and thinking, you are being present for you life right now in this moment. The challenge is to stay there- to let the yoga keep rotating in your insides when you leave the studio. Emily explained that when she misses a day or two, negative self talk starts creep back in and in that moment, she knows her couch is not where she needs to stay. Keep moving shift & shift your energy.
"There is no supposed to be with bodies. The question is not size, or shape, or years of age, or even having two of everything for some do not. Does this body feel, does it have right connection to pleasure, to heart, to soul, to the wild? Does it have happiness, joy? Can it in its own way, move, dance, jiggle, sway, thrust. Nothing else matters." - Estes
"I may not have a thigh gap anymore, but I can do a headstand!"
If you or someone you know struggles with disordered eating, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to connect you with Emily.