How Yoga Changed My Life
Three years ago, on April 26th, I walked through the doors of a Yoga studio 80 pounds heavier, 6 sizes larger, eating like crap, using many prescription drugs for several health ailments, watching 60+ television shows weekly, consumed by the anger, hate & tragedy in the world, surrounding myself mostly with people, places and things that did not serve me well, thought I was stupid, became a victim of every circumstance, faked my way through each day just to survive.
One day, a friend suggested we work out. I suggested Yoga, since I had bought a pass one year earlier that was about to expire. Little did I know at the time, this would be a major game changer in my life. I was in a dark place & knew I needed something to “save” me. I quite possibly might not be alive today had I not found this practice.
I immersed myself in the Yoga community with an open mind & eventually an open heart. I learned that first I needed to figure out who I was, learn to love myself & all my capabilities, open my eyes to see a beautiful, intelligent woman in me with a lot to offer the world. This was no easy task, took a quite a while & was a tough pill to swallow, as I had wallowed in self pity for so long.
Growth Through Self Reflection
As my practice grew, so did I. I took a long, hard look at the person I had become. Self reflection is by far the most difficult practice I had ever took on in my life. Looking inside to face my depression, negative thoughts & feeling, my behavior, my ability to play the victim, whatever the case, it was not pretty. Starting here was essential to my moving forward & living a healthy happy life. It took a lot of patience, the timeline was indefinite, but love, patience & understanding became the key.
I began to shed the weight, my eating habits shifted considerably, I became prescription free with Yoga helping resolve my health issues, finding happiness during the day, cutting out television & news, “cleaning house” of people, places & things that were negative in my life.
Healing With Yoga: Mind, Body & Soul
Practicing Yoga & really learning about my body, being in tune to what feels good, what doesn't, acceptance of my capabilities let me heal myself with loving kindness. I had a torn achilles & was in a boot for 5 months. I spent the first five weeks, completely on the floor in the Yoga studio, finding modifications myself for the poses instructed during class. Learning to trust my body in this way opened my eyes to what it needed moment by moment as each day I felt different. Once I trusted what I felt, it transpired to all aspects of my life. Knowing when I can push, realizing when I need to back off is both physical & mental. Acceptance for what is & no expectations for what is out of my control became a staple to move forward.
My work life became less stressful as I became more efficient, my thought process cleared, my ability to learn & problem solve with patience & compassion brought me huge growth & success.
Eating healthy made my body a happy temple. Eating foods that were not good for me left me sluggish & sometimes produced physical changes (upset stomach, headache, body aches). I now recognize what works and eliminated what does not from my diet. I give myself permission to indulge without feeling guilty but I know the consequences so most of the time prefer not.
The Tools for a Better Life
Becoming vulnerable to the universe as a whole gave me the ability to be open to change. I clearly see what is a benefit to my life and what can be detrimental. It does not always mean that my life does not have problems, challenges, setbacks. It does mean I have created the tools to work through what needs to be seen and find a solution in a timely manner. Looking for the answers when I see something does not serve me & finding clarity vs blame brings strong balance for me.
Learning Self Love
Loving myself was by far the most difficult but the most rewarding lesson to be learned. I did not look in the mirror for over 6 years because I was disgusted by what I saw. When one day, I walked by the mirror naked after about a year & a half of Yoga & was shocked who was looking back at me. I was smiling, I loved what I saw, I looked at my body & saw a beautiful body, a genuine smile, a healthy glow. I began to really see myself & for the first time I could remember. I felt this overwhelming feeling of love for myself which I have been able to share with others. I believe this day I really understood love. I found that until I could love myself, I wasn't able to love unconditionally anyone or anything in my life. Love must begin internally to be given externally.
My three daughters all became Yogis from appreciation for what the practice did for me. My oldest daughter & I became Yoga teachers at the same time. I started a teen youth program for the Boys & Girls Club to spread my love & benefits for the practice. I found I have the gift of making people feel comfortable & safe which I share every moment I can.
A Life That's Good: Positivity
My life begins with daily Yoga & recently the reintroduction of hiking several times a week. I am pescatarian-that leans more towards vegetarian. I do not watch television, the news or subscribe to negative social media. Everyone & everything has a positive influence on my life. If someone, someplace or something brings negativity, I find a way to remove them from my life.
I don’t regret, forget or want to change my past. I appreciate the good, the bad, the successes, the failures, the love, the abuse, the accomplishments, the heartache, the pain. I find strength & power from the good. I see the positive in past pain. I understand from every situation there is something positive. The capability to see this took a lot of work. On occasion the past creeps in but I have the tools and use them well to work through the lies it attempts to create in my head. It brought me to where I am today, a strong, healthy, confident woman.
My life is filled with love, happiness & healthy living. My relationships are filled with love, patience & kindness. My lifestyle is a carefree simplistic lifestyle that brings balance and freedom. Loving from within has brought great abundance of love from the outside world. Taking care of me is ongoing & has become essential to my well-being.
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