Yoga helps learning to love yourself

Marybeth Burns

For more than 20 years, Marybeth Burns thought she could never be too fit or too thin.

The mother of two adopted Russian children and business partner at Hendersonville’s Summit Marketing Group, Burns had long suffered from exercise addiction and anorexia. But she is getting ready to celebrate three years of recovery, thanks mostly to Tapestry, a residential therapy program that used Yoga to help Marybeth and others with eating disorders.

Experts say many people who suffer from eating disorders are aware of their body, but their image is often unhealthy and skewed. Yoga is all about awareness of the body and mind, breathing and staying in the present moment. This type of awareness can help someone learn to respect and honor his/her body.

“During my treatment, we practiced Yoga three times a week,” says 44-year-old Marybeth. “Yoga helped my recovery so much because I focused on the meditative part of it, learning to tune in to how my body feels, rather than how it looks. Yoga grounds me and makes me appreciate moving my body in a more gentle, balanced way and be OK with that.

“That is HUGE for someone with exercise addiction,” says Marybeth, a regular at YAM’s Hot 26 classes.

Marybeth admits enjoying the intense workout these hot classes provide, but she says they also help her cultivate an inner strength. “I really try to focus more on ‘Wow, I am cleansing my body and it’s OK if I can’t do all of the moves just right.’ The teachers really address the whole balance of mind, body and spirit.”

Besides enjoying many outdoor activities with her family – hiking, paddling and biking, Marybeth also teaches Yoga at the Y and is on a mission to educate the public about eating disorders. She started a class at Immaculata Catholic School to educate young students about eating disorders and the importance of cultivating a good body image.

It’s still an ongoing process for Marybeth. YAM’s instructors and classes are helping her achieve those goals.

“Part of recovery is learning to love yourself, not abuse yourself. As a result, I can be even more giving and enjoy life. Yoga helps me do that,” Marybeth says. ”I also want to challenge myself to try different classes at YAM. I haven’t gotten that far yet, but my recovery team and I will work on that.”