Author’s note: this post is a guest contribution by Nadine Fawell of Yoga with Nadine.

Some months ago, back in June it was, Amber asked me to write a post about exactly how yoga has helped me heal my relationship with my body.

I didn’t get to it until now because I was ‘busy’. No, really, I was busy.

But a little part of me was also avoiding telling this story.

Because it’s painful to look back at how much I hated myself. And it hasn’t been a quick fix to get to where I am now. It’s been a decade, and to be honest, I’ve only really come to accept myself fully in the last few years.

I tell you this for two reasons:

  1. So you don’t feel alone if you are thinking the struggle towards radical  self-acceptance is endless.
  2. So you understand that important things often take time, and that’s OK.

From the very first class, the one where my tracksuit pants flapped all over the place and so did my limbs, and, to be honest, my belly, yoga gave me relief from myself. The worrying, obsessing, self-hating internal dialogue stopped for an hour, and for a few hours after that too. I hadn’t had a moment’s break from that since I was eight years old. It felt so great.

Because it felt so good, I quickly replaced my disordered relationship with food with an equally disordered yoga obsession.

If something helps in moderation, it must be 1000 times better done obsessively, right?

I pushed myself really hard in my physical practice. I wanted to suffer. I was completely certain I deserved to hurt. Because if I didn’t, why would my dad have done what he did to me, and why would my mom have let him?

I picked up a wrist injury. Then the other wrist.

Then I hurt my back.

From yoga.

Nadine Fawell

“Those injuries have made me a much better yoga teacher. They’ve made me a more compassionate person, both with myself and with others.”

And that’s when I really started to get it. It’s taken about six years to rehab my back and I will always need to be careful. But in those bedridden months after I first really hurt myself, I started to understand what the breathing could do for me. What stilling my mind was doing.

And I fell in love with the restorative yoga that became my life raft as I healed my back, emigrated to a new country, navigated a divorce, mourned a miscarriage, and finally, finally, put aside much of the baggage I’d carried since childhood.

As I got stronger, I learned how powerful I felt when I squatted and lunged and did plank pose, and breathed slowly.

I healed.

Using yoga.

Being the stubborn, bullheaded person I am, I suspect I would never have learned the power of yoga had I not hurt myself. Those injuries have made me a much better yoga teacher. They’ve made me a more compassionate person, both with myself and with others.

And they’ve made me appreciate my body, big arse, broad shoulders and all, because it is healthy. I know what it’s like to have chronic pain, and let me tell you, now that it’s gone, I care only that my glutes are strong enough to support my pelvis.

I really don’t care what people THINK of those glutes.

What a relief. It lightens the days significantly when you aren’t thinking about your body/what people think of your body/how you need to lose weight.

I am ALL about a lighter life!

Nadine FawellAbout Nadine

Yoga gave Nadine Fawell a safe way to feel her body. She grew up in an abusive home and this made her quite certain that being able to feel her body would be dangerous. And then there was the overanalysing. Man, when you get stuck in your own head, it’s amazing the sh*t you can come up with. Through yoga, she’s channelled this unfortunate tendency into something useful: Svadhyaya, or self-reflection-without-judgement. It’s helped her reframe her relationship with the world.

Nadine is passionate about sharing this transformative experience: empowering others to find their inner strength and sovereignty. Sometimes, people call her a yoga shaman. She likes that, it means she’s done her job properly. You can find out more about her, and her signature Light Up Your Life Program at her website. She’s also on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Light up your life

Light up your life eCourseExplore Nadine’s new eCourse Light Up Your LifeYou can make 2013 your best year ever by cutting through your emotional B.S., getting strong and comfortable in your body, and learning the art of radical self-acceptance.

You can expect an e-Book filled with personal stories, inspiration, and an outline of the yoga philosophy that will be illuminated in the course, as well as weekly emails, a closed Facebook group for ongoing support, guided meditations and other bonus audio, and a full hour of video yoga practices.

Read more about the unique format of this eCourse and get in on the early bird price of $99 (soon, it’ll go back up to $129). I’m so excited about this wonderful course, and I hope you’ll take part in Light Up Your Life!