I don't even know how to begin this post without weighing you down illuminating the intense history of my life. How can you know how yoga saved me without knowing what it saved me from? Just like BC or AD when relating to history, let’s call the pre-yoga self and the post-yoga self as relating to me before and after my intense YogaFIT training and subsequent teaching the past three years. This will help better explain in the space I have within this blog because I could write a book, and I am (stay-tuned.)
My pre-yoga self would be trembling with each letter typed, and a high likelihood of not being able to finish owing to the electrifying trembles down my body, the shaking of my hands, watering of my eyes, inability to breath just in the thought of my trauma. The post-yoga self just scans her senses: the tactile feedback of the computer keys with each letter, the brightness of the screen, my posture, my breathe, a deep breath as I continue to type with not one tremble remaining here and now. This is yoga. To gain control of my mind. All this disease in my body is caused by the mind. And it’s easy to fault yourself into a spiral of depression:
“Why am I so sad.” “why can’t I move on for my children, for my husband.” “Why am I unhappy.” “What is the meaning of life.” “what is my purpose.” “Why am I here.” “Do I deserve the diseases that have been diagnosed, does anyone deserve them…. why me why me.” And we can even go further when you are a victim of trauma or abuse. Let’s cut the drama and get to it.
I grew up in a single-parent home with two brothers and a hippie mom. Essentially, I was introduced to certain methods of my current practice while still in my mother’s womb and throughout my childhood attending drummings on the beach, laughter yoga festivals, and after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease my mother would bring me to reiki masters and non-western practitioners for healing. This was my first taste of spirituality in the form of being able to control symptoms in the body in which western medicine traditionally will prescribe a pill or perform a surgery. However, at a young age, I never mastered this ability when I was not around a guide because I did not have the proper tools and training. I had amazing experiences led by healers but when I was alone, I didn’t know what to do.
To stay in a timeline before speeding up to my PT education and yoga school I can add that my parents were divorced and I spent a lot of time between two homes with very different beliefs. My outlet was ice-skating until my mom could not afford to continue lessons. There went my physical release. I have also had a life long history of emotional and verbal abuse, living in fear or worry for myself and others, worry for every little thing. The quiet little perfectionist who gets straight A’s and finishes their test first, who focuses their energy into always trying to be the best. The beauty queen who must walk the stage with a bright smile that’s starting to twitch because it’s not real. It’s a forced smile that I maintained on my face all day, for many years. This fake smile of pretending everything is okay manifested in Crohn's disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriasis, and autoimmune craziness. Western medicine wants me to believe Humira, Remicade, oxycodone, 6MP, Asacol, Flagyl, will get me by. Surgeries after surgeries to cut the disease out resulting in a colostomy bag and hardly any intestine left. (Now how am I supposed to absorb my nutrients.) They made a huge mistake. They left the disease inside of me because they left my brain! This is where the disease is coming from. A sick little engine that won’t die. I want it to run out of gas but it will never stop. It would never be quiet.
Let’s speed up to 2012. I attended Physical Therapy school which was the hardest 6 years of my life. Not due to academic challenges but more personal. Owing to an uncomfortable environment, unfriendly professors and a disease that would not stop flaring up. In 2015 my mother had a stroke and was diagnosed with lung cancer. I could not attend school helping strangers while my mother was home suffering. It made me sicker by the day. When I tried to put in for a medical leave of absence, it got even tougher because my academic advisers did not support my decision and made the next 3 years a bit of hell with repeating semesters (never failing once) but always to prove myself as per their policy, revoking my chancellors scholarship and piling on the financial load. OMG, this could kill any college student with all this stress. I was about to break down one night, not knowing what to do and I attended a hot yoga class. The rest was history….
I planned on only staying in this class for the physical portion and leaving for the meditation. Just typing that now, as a yogi, is hysterical because the Shavasana is the best part! The mental stillness. Look we finally made it to the meat and potatoes of the blog. During this one class, I was going to roll up my mat and make an excuse to leave but the yoga teacher pointed to me and then the floor non-verbally signaling me not to leave and to be quiet. I WAS SOOOOOO UPSET. I was so disturbed during the whole meditation I never went back because my mind was just talking to me the whole 10 minutes that seemed 4 hours long of torture. I went home and complained to my husband that I would never go back and I found another yoga studio. GUESS WHO WALKS IN!!! The same teacher and her Shavasana seemed to be half of the class. My mind chatter would not stop in the beginning. “is she doing this to torture me on purpose, what the heck” Then 15 minutes went by and I was in a deep meditative state. When I rolled to my right side, I was reborn. I am a believer in God. Not only did my spirit feel whole but I realized I had a new direction in life instantly. I waited for the teacher at the end of class to ask about teacher training and she was very encouraging and recommended a book, “Untethered Soul.” BOOOOOOOOM, I untethered that SHIT!!!!!!! It was amazing and I did not even want to go back for my doctorate in physical therapy. I loved YogaFIT and everything it stood for. I loved the MINDBODY conventions and the YogaFIT family. We are a team of lightworkers to save the universe. Yes, this is real. Just positive spirits in this world being here and now. Sending love and light to all. Yes, that’s me. Each training gave me more and more tools to be able to quiet the mind, withdrawal my senses whether pain, sight, smell, taste, noise whatever! I’m a superhero right! NO. There is always more work to do. This I know and I'm a lifelong learner.
In 2016, ABC action news did an interview with me. I had to channel these abilities during a 9-month hospitalization. During 18 weeks of TPN during pregnancy and if you are not in the medical field, that is nutrition only through an IV. It can make you feel like an animal in a shelter not being fed and wondering if your handler is going to be gentle and nice, or mean and rough. Remaining in fight or flight. My sympathetic nervous system was through the roof dominating my day to day and unfortunately my night. Whether real or perception I do not wish this institutionalization on anyone. I wanted to die at certain times. Especially when I was intubated while alert and oriented. But it was, as I felt the machine was stealing each of my natural breaths killing me alive, I channeled my senses looking at the clock, starting to count my breaths per minute, the depth of my breath, my desire to breathe against the machine and then I ripped the tubes out of me. Breathing on my own slow deep and controlled breaths. Who knows why all of a sudden but I was able to draw my senses inward. They were constantly drugging me with morphine and Dilaudid, Ambien and Benadryl to go to sleep, I felt like I was a druggy unable to stay conscious for my then 9-year-old son, my husband, and family. I felt a burden at the time, again thinking maybe it’s better if I’m not in this world, but then I drew back my senses to here and now. I was able to quiet all the mind chatter. All that negativity. Every day I brought myself to the present moment and worked with what I had only wanting to get healthier and more enlightened from the minute before. I didn’t even want to compare myself to the younger me or the healthier me. If I did, I would have died. Accepting myself NOW, here and now at any stage. This is just my meat suit (as a wise woman once told me) and my purpose in this world is greater. That’s what yoga gave to me. I rip the T’s of the words CANT. I can. My purpose is to share with the world, and you, that YOU CAN TOO...
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve gotta buy my book! Stay tuned.