Last week, I wrote about my Bulimic Breasts. The year was 2008 and due to nine years of dramatic weight fluctuation, my breasts hung to the ground. I shall reveal these scary images in the book that I shall publish, also at Instagram. I literally duct-taped my breasts around my back, to create the flat-chested aesthetic. Each night I would peel off the tape, revealing ruptured skin on my back, on my breasts. It was quite terrible. So, at that point, aged 25 and having a new puppy, I THOUGHT that my eating disorder was under control and that I’d never again fluctuate on the low of 89 pounds and high of 181 pounds, so, I had a breast reduction. Much to my dismay, I did fluctuate again for the next eight years of more chaotic, disordered eating, so I consider myself lucky that my breasts are currently perky as they did grow and shrink with the subsequent weight fluctuations. They’re not anything gorgeous compared to a model with scar-free mounds, as they do feature some stretch marks, but I like to identify those stretch marks as Warrior Stripes. They’re my little reminder of the bullshit ED nightmare that I lived and defeated.

And I must give credit to Robin Arzon of Peloton for coining stretch marks at Warrior Stripes. She called out this amazing metaphor in a recent ride. Seriously – another reason that Peloton is so damn good – these instructors say the most inspirational, thought-provoking things!

Writing about my former bulimic breasts inspired me to think about modifying ourselves to yield happiness. When is it time to modify?

  1. When we’re in pain.
  2. When we’re bored.
  3. When we want something new.

And these are my personal answers. For you, all three bullet points could mean the same thing. Or they can mean nothing at all. Boredom might be painful to you, and that pain might trigger a desire for something different such as relationship or exercise. For me, all three points are completely different and signal that I must modify to stay healthy in my body and mind.

I didn’t mention this, but for the past two months, I’ve been working around major pain. My upper right back, my right wrist, and my right ankle – seems that a pinched nerve existed in each spot, making my Ashtanga yoga practice very uncomfortable; so I have been practicing only between 15 and 30 minutes daily. I listened to my physical pain, and I modified my practice accordingly. But then, suddenly, on Saturday night, the pain disappeared in all areas. So I jumped into a 60 minute full vinyasa half primary, and it was DIVINE!!!!!!!!!

I remember, back in 2011, just before getting kicked out of yoga school, I was FEARFUL of stopping my daily rigorous yoga practice. And I asked my “teacher” at the time, “How can we do this practice every single day for the rest of our lives? What happens if we stop? If we take a break?” She replied, “Don’t stop,” warning me that I’d lose my practice and everything would fall apart. I do NOT live in fear of anything, and I can honestly say this was the only time that I ever did. It was the worst advice ever, of course, and in retrospect, I do enjoy having learned the hard way. It was hard getting kicked out of yoga school. It was hard losing my yoga. Then finding it. Then getting injured. Then basically  handicapping myself (which led to getting my Peloton for recovery, yeah!). And now I have this amazing glorious yoga practice again. Kind of like with my breasts. I learned the hard way. And now, because I implemented strategies for grand health, I have the flat little knockers that I’ve always wanted. Ha ha ha.

Oh yeah, and here’s another example of modification! This bound balasana was assigned in the @cyogalab Instagram challenge last week. COULD NOT ACHIEVE THE BIND for anything!! Yesterday my mother visited, and I just knew with a little nurturing adjustment, I could find it. She helped me, and voila.

Asking for help is not my cup of tea, so this seeking of assistance was a modification to how I live. I wanted something new, aka this pose, so I sought the resources needed to achieve it.

I have a friend who is currently grappling with the prospect of NEVER again running a marathon or riding a century, and he’s replacing that former rigorous activity with yoga. All of that huge change in my friend’s life (and his management of it) is so inspirational to me because I know how hard it can be to modify, but I’m learning it’s better to modify and to evolve positively than to wither and waste and bitch and moan and wish for what could be. Because if it could be, it would be. Thus we must constantly see things freshly, and now my Ashtanga practice is fresh and tomorrow I celebrate 500 rides on the Peloton. So damn exciting.