08/21/2012 02:03 pm ET Updated Oct 21, 2012

The Iceberg Effect

I used to sometimes forget breakfast, and even lunch for that matter. I'd be so consumed by work and my social life, I would slurp on iced coffee all day, only to forget to consume nutrients. There were times I would opt for a spicy margarita over an entree because I'd be too late for dinner, or decide to rush from one dinner to another, missing any form of sit-down experience all together. I didn't realize how bad I was to my body until I started to do yoga. When you are stretching, breathing, focusing, moving in places you never thought possible, you start to dig deeper and listen to your body. You also start to realize that every choice you make affects your body tremendously and that your body ultimately affects your mind and vice versa.

I used to be an athlete. I used to run suicides during basketball practice, ride my bike on my cul de sac, run track with shin splints and stress fractures, dance for years and years and pant heavily as I barely crossed the finish line. I then moved to New York, started working, socializing, choosing three events in one night over eight hours of sleep and lost myself. I could never find an activity that was opposite of my daily rushing life, that helped me "escape" into myself versus the 90 percent of my day that was all about everyone else.

Yoga digs deep into your muscles, flexibility, and also helps you let go. You focus on your breathing, as opposed to the horns outside or the emails coming in, and you don't only dig deep into your body but also into your heart. You focus on you, which is scary. I know a lot of people that would rather continually put Bandaids over their broken hearts rather than rebuild from scratch. Yoga, meditation, a lot of reading, thinking and nonthinking have helped me realize that I didn't really know and still am learning who I really am. I call it "the iceberg effect." While an iceberg prominently stands above the water, 90 percent is under the water seemingly not present.

While I was drinking, eating badly, barely sleeping, I was only really knowing 10 percent of myself. I was pushing 90 percent of me lower and lower into the basement of my being, and not listening to my aching back, my feet in pain after running in five-inch heels, or my confused heart. I was making decisions from what I understood on the surface. No awareness, no understanding, just ice-cold misdirection. When I started to make changes for myself (and not just for someone else) that I felt were healthy for me, a lot of things I had been resisting to notice came up; and they weren't always pretty, but I dealt with them.

I now have an awareness of my feelings, my opinions, my reality. I think twice before staying out late, living a life of no discipline, and I certainly won't settle for anyone else's 10 percent. When you only show 10 percent to the world, you end up trying to fill yourself with someone else's 90 percent, which usually makes you forget who you are, and leads you astray from even trying to figure that out. You become one-tenth of the version of yourself, confused and frustrated about why you keep attracting those same people that want to "save" you, or "fill that void" in your life.

Once you realize about the iceberg effect, you will want to go under the water, swim deep past that darkness into really seeing what is under the surface, and start to ask yourself how you can find within yourself your 90 percent. It is only then that you will attract another person that is 100 percent and is not looking to change you or complete you, but accepts and loves you for who you are. And once you swim deep, you will never settle for the shallow water again.

For more by Amanda Slavin, click here.

For more on the spirit, click here.