Healing Through Yoga

Janice Daniels

When Sacramento State dietetics senior Karly Behymer was just 16 years old, she tried yoga for the first time. She recalls being in her bedroom alone, with one of her mom’s yoga workout DVDs, practicing routines over and over again until she had them memorized.

Little did Behymer know, this was the beginning of a practice which would guide her on the road to self-discovery, and also something she would eventually use to challenge many others and even pay her rent with.

“I was struggling with a severe eating disorder that I didn’t want to face, but I thought maybe by becoming a yoga teacher and dedicating myself to a practice that would force me to slow down –even just a little–I could overcome some of my not-so-favorite habits,” Behymer said.

After a few years at Fresno State Behymer dropped out of college to heal herself through an eating disorder recovery program and, soon thereafter, decided to start training to be a yoga instructor at Zuda Yoga in 2011 to maintain balance in her life.

“While my recovery program was what I needed to break free from the cycle of my ED (eating disorder), it was through my practice, and my teaching, that I have found the most profound healing,” Behymer said. “Yoga is the path to being completely and 100 percent honest and real with yourself. It is the path of removing the blinders so that you can see yourself through and through just as you are–360 degree, panoramic vision–and from there, you can truly love yourself.”

Behymer believes dropping out of school to heal herself and teach yoga is one of the best decisions she could have ever made for her life, body and mind.

If I wouldn’t have dropped out of school, I would not be teaching yoga at one of the premier studios in the Sacramento area–some would argue there is nothing like Zuda anywhere, and I would agree with that– I would probably still be struggling with my eating disorder, (and) I would not be living my dream,” Behymer said.

After dropping out of Fresno State and moving to Sacramento, Behymer taught yoga and worked at Whole Foods in Roseville until deciding she needed something more. Although she faced doubts about affording college and financial aid issues during her transition to Sac State, her persistence stuck through and she was successfully able to transfer all of her units over from Fresno State.

“I knew I was so close to finishing school and pursuing something more, but I just didn’t know how it would happen. Apparently I was meant to finish this degree in nutrition though, because my financial aid went through somehow,” Behymer said. “I will finish my degree having only taken out $12,000 in loans; the rest has been grant and scholarship money, which is a true blessing.”

After graduating Behymer hopes to work with people who struggle with eating disorders and unhealthy eating patterns by helping them heal from the places where their food and body issues start.

“So much of how we eat is directly influenced by the way we feel,” Behymer said. “Americans, in general, are out of touch with their bodies and emotions. Instead of listening to the wisdom of our bodies we judge them and try to force them into a box that popular nutrition/culture/society has made us believe they should be and look like. I want to be in the business of connection, because connection is how I healed myself.”

Behymer’s classes are held on Tuesdays; 6 a.m. at Zuda Yoga in Roseville or 2 p.m. at Zuda Yoga in midtown, Thursdays; 6 p.m. at Arden Hot Yoga, Fridays; 6 p.m. at Zuda Yoga in Roseville, Saturdays; 4:30 p.m. at Zuda Yoga in Roseville.

Janice Daniels can be reached at [email protected]