I recently returned from a family trip to Amsterdam and Vienna, that in addition to wonderful art museums, composer's apartments, and explorations of both cities' dynamic history, included daily 3 to 4 hour-long family feasts with multiple courses and wine, followed by the sweet specialties of the region, usually both before and after meal time (apple strudel, ice cream, hazelnut torte-you name it!). 

A few days back in my NYC office, a client brought up her belief that she will always be "in recovery" from her eating disorder; always struggling to manage her eating, her desire to lose weight, and always working to prevent a relapse. 

Ten years ago, as I struggled with my own disordered eating, negative body image, and overexercise patterns, I would have believed the same. I didn't have anyone at the time giving me the message that I could actually live my life completely free of any possibility of relapse or have an identity outside of food and body where food was a nourishing yet neutral part of my life

In fact, at that time this type of family trip would have been a huge nightmare - overshadowed by anxiety about how much food I would "have" to eat in order not to upset my family, trying to figure out any possible way to avoid a meal, or skip family activities to seek out exercise (how boring is going to a hotel gym instead of exploring  a new city!?).  

Looking back on my journey to being fully recovered, I still have moments full of gratitude and awe. I am amazed at how easy and sweet meal time with my family is now, and how I can look forward to and enjoy ALL types of food without allowing food to become the center of attention. I am grateful to share precious time with loved ones with full presence, and breathe through conflict without turning to food (or lack thereof).

And perhaps most importantly, I now know how to honor my own body's needs, despite my Russian-Jewish grandma's lifelong mission to always make me eat more :) 

When food comments are made at the table, I can lean on my spiritual practice to help remind me to feel compassion towards that person who is likely struggling with him or herself. Over time and through trial and error, I have learned how to say both yes and no to food by connecting to the wisdom of my body. 

As I shared this with my client and hope to share with you, full recovery is absolutely possible for anyone committed to the path of healing.

And to stay on our path, yoga reminds us to seek the company of souls who help to elevate our consciousness and remind us to come back home to our heart. 

I feel very honored to have been interviewed for a Recovery Warriors podcast on yoga and eating disorder recovery.  Please listen by clicking the link below. 

https://www.recoverywarriors.com/anastasia-nevin/

"For Anastasia Nevin MS RD RYT yoga became a profound spiritual practice that helped her overcome an eating disorder and realize that we are not just a body, but we are spirits and we have souls. This appreciation and awareness awakened the calling to becoming a healer and a teacher. 

Full circle, Anastasia now helps others heal from their eating disorder by integrating nutrition therapy and yoga, the two things that helped her overcome her personal battle.  In this show, we talk all about yoga and the many deep lessons it can teach if you are willing to show up on the mat to learn"

 

You know that moment when it feels like you are involved in some kind of Divine joke and the characters in the story of your life keep reappearing, guised in new forms?

I have certainly noticed myself, at times, showing up to face circumstances that very creatively and sometimes humorously repeat themselves: a specific crossroads in a relationship, a difficult colleague who challenges my sense of self-worth, an impulse to act out in a way my wiser self knows does not align with my actual needs. 

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know”

Pema Chodron writes, in her book When Things Fall Apart. 

Wow. These words sometimes feel like a painful stab of truth, asking us to see difficulties as teachers.  In my own practice, I have worked hard to get to know myself and the way I tend to escape from pain and difficulty. This awareness has allowed me to slowly and over time practice making better choices.  

I have learned that the more I show up on my mat with an open heart to meet myself with kindness, the less I feel crushed by those darker layers of myself in other parts of my life. I have practiced, to the best of my ability and with a lot of guidance, taking a deep breath, stepping back and seeing whatever I need to see from more of a bird’s eye view perspective.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know”

I recently took a restorative class on a night when I was feeling unsettled and overwhelmed by some unpleasant events that had happened earlier. I had a difficult time staying present, my entire body was aching, and I noticed a long decision making dialogue happening inside my head. As the class was about to end, the teacher acknowledged how much courage it takes to choose to practice restorative yoga and to choose sitting quietly with ourselves. 

Even as a regular teacher and student of restorative yoga, these words nailed me.

Choosing to be kind and loving to ourselves, even the not-so-pretty parts of how we sometimes show up, takes endless courage. Allowing ourselves to feel what we are feeling also is no easy task. As we move through the chaos of the holidays and the end of another year, we enter a time where reflection, slowing down, and self-care are vital and needed healing rituals. 

Let’s enter this new year soaked in kindness, gentleness and a whole lot of love. 

Posted
AuthorAnastasia Nevin

     

  In Ayurveda, the time of year associated with fall (autumn-early winter) is known as Vata season. Vata is one of the Ayurvedic doshas or constitutions that not only is found in Nature but also exists inside our body. The qualities of Vata are fast, light, cold, dry, clear and contracted, irregular and rough. Vata governs change and when in balance facilitates spirituality, creativity, imagination and wisdom connected to the higher chakras. Vata people are quirky, sensitive, enjoy spending time alone (but hopefully not too much!), and tend to both learn and forget information quickly. They can struggle with physical issues such as joint problems, thyroid issues, scoliosis and neuropathy. Depending on your individual make up, you may discover you have been born with more Vata, or perhaps you have a loved one that possesses these traits.

    One of the main principles of Ayurveda is "like increases like". In other words, we may tend to have an affinity towards foods, activities or habits that actually push us more OUT of balance. As someone who has discovered I have quite a bit of Vata myself, I want to share some tips that have helped me stay grounded and balanced during the Fall, a time of year that can lead to Vata ailments such as anxiety, constipation, dry skin or insomnia. 

  • Foods

Cook with Sesame Oil! (you can also rub sesame oil on your hands and feet before bed for help with insomnia).Roast some root vegetables such as squashes, beets, sweet potato, carrots and add some extra fats such as avocado, nuts and ghee (clarified butter) to your food. Vata is drying so adding more oil will help lubricate the joints, one of the areas of Vata imbalance. Sweet, salty, and sour are the best tastes for Vata. 

  • Yoga:

Stay low to the earth. Squats, warrior poses, and balancing poses are best. Think of digging your feet into the mud. Practice headstand and stay a little longer than usual.

  • Mantra:

Fear is a BIG one for Vata. When I'm feeling out of balance, I do a fear protection mantra. Other mantras to balance Vata include chanting to Ganesh (The Remover of Obstacles) or to Lakshmi (who symbolizes abundance and sensuality). 

  • Essential Oils:

The best oils for Vata (and some of my favorites) are Vanilla, Clove, Sandalwood, Jasmine and Sweet Orange. 

  • Music:

Vata needs a steady beat to calm an often overactive mind. Percussion or Classical Music with a repetitive melody is best or you can try practicing in silence.

I hope you enjoy the glory of Fall. If you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda and how to stay healthy, I am doing an Introduction to Ayurveda Workshop on December 7th. See the events page for details and to sign up.. 

Posted
AuthorAnastasia Nevin