Practicing Nonattachment in Eating Disorder Recovery


This weekend I had the great joy and privilege of teaching yoga therapists in training about the Yoga philosophy of nonattachment, which says that clinging to people, places, things, outcomes, and thoughts creates suffering. The discussion in the room was rich and so human, as we all find ourselves attached to these things and more.

The discussion in class brought me back to memories of being so desperately attached to eating disorder behaviors and rituals, that they became my way of life. I was wearing blinders, which was way easier than dealing with the fear of feeding myself appropriately or trusting my body wouldn't turn on me. The tighter I gripped to these behaviors and the beliefs that drove them, the harder I suffered and the steeper the climb to recovery became. Learning about nonattachment in Yoga woke me up to the truth that my entire identity was attached to the eating disorder.

To begin practicing nonattachment, I reminded myself of my motivators to keep going and I used my supports to work through the fear and discomfort of letting go of the identity to which I was so attached. I also worked to let go of striking the "ideal" yoga pose and striving for perfection in other areas of my life, as these were also eating disorder related. Practicing it on my mat, helped me take small, steady steps to letting go of eating disorder behaviors and rituals in my daily life.

Once I gave myself space to hold my "attachments" lightly (versus believing them to be my everything), life opened in surprising ways.

How might the philosophy of nonattachment help you realize something new about yourself, or inspire you to begin to let go of something you are clinging to?

Perhaps take some time journal or reflect on this question: What eating disorder rituals and habits are you ATTACHED to that are blocking you from evolving?

Honesty is the first step -- writing it down or saying it out loud -- bearing witness to your own truth. This really, really, really counts. BIG TIME. I promise.

Start there - be honest with yourself, and see where this new realization leads you. Invite in your supports to help you create a plan to begin to let go of the tight grip on a behavior or ritual that you know deep down is hurting you.

Feel free to email me and share your insights, too, as I always love to hear from you. And if learning how to apply nonattachment in your recovery is something you are ready to do, let's connect about doing some yoga therapy together.

Sending you abundant support.