Today, my yoga teacher told me, “You are so brave.”
I wondered, “Am brave? Or just plumb crazy?” You see, in just five short days, I will be on an airplane for a six-month stay in India. What would a small-town Kansan-grown woman be doing in India for six months? Studying yoga, of course!
You see, a couple of years ago I got sick. Really, really sick. Because of this illness, I lost my job of 14 years, and am in the process of losing my home now. There was so much wrong with me it would be shorter and quicker to list all the things that were right lol. At 263 lbs, I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy, Metabolic Syndrome, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, memory loss and several others. Additionally, I was having seizure activity, I had multiple nutrient deficiencies, a growth on my thyroid, and two tumors in my right breast that were consistently monitored in case they turned into cancer.
I lost a lot of my long-term memories, and my short-term memory was just awful. When I went somewhere and parked my car, I could not find it when I came back outside. It was so frustrating. Once, I was driving through town (the town I grew up in) and all of a sudden I was lost! I couldn’t tell which way was north and I had no idea where I was or how to get home… yet I’d been at that location thousands of times. I couldn’t even remember phone numbers to call for help! I remember feeling scared and confused.
The effects of these illnesses were bad. It was so bad that, at one point, I was laid up on the living room floor and it literally took every ounce of my energy to get up and cook a meal – and sometimes I went without because I just didn’t have it in me to get up. I seriously thought (and felt) like I was dying.
The day my neurologist diagnosed me with narcolepsy, he told me that yoga would help me. I thought surely he must have bumped his head. How could twisting my body into a pretzel possibly help me to heal? Fast forward a few years, desperate to for full healing, I finally decided to give yoga try. As I searched for a yoga studio, I ran across a page that offered Yoga Teacher Training.
“Heeey-aaay!”, I thought. “If I have to do yoga every day, I may as well make money at it, right?!”
So, without further ado, having never stepped into a yoga studio in my life, I signed up for a five-month course to become a certified yoga instructor. Little did I know what I was getting myself into! My coach didn’t think I was going to make it past the first 48 hours of the class (and neither did I). It never occurred to me that I might need to have the physical strength to do this class, let alone the need for a well-functioning memory (which proved quite the handicap throughout the course) to remember the poses (asanas).
Alas, I did it! I graduated just a few short weeks ago. Thus, I am going to India to deepen my practice, study Ashtanga yoga, and take more teacher training. My hopes and dreams are that I will heal completely in the process, come back and share the art of yoga with our community, become a health and life coach, help others to heal.
At first, my trip was only going to be a month long, but then I realized I could stay over there and live on the economy cheaper than I can live in the United States, and take my practice even deeper. There are several yoga schools that I want to attend, and some teacher training courses I would like to take. Hopefully I can come back and share this practice with our community.
You know, yoga is increasingly being used as a complimentary treatment to many health conditions, to include PTSD, back problems, depression, and anxiety to name a few (see links below). Having suffered with PTSD myself, I hope to someday be able to help others with restorative yoga and workshops. Yoga can be so healing, working on us physically and mentally. In my experience, yoga has facilitated a lot of emotional release as well. I have released more pent-up emotions doing yoga than professional counseling has ever done for me – and it’s much less expensive!
Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, says, “If there was a drug that could mimic the affects of yoga, it would probably be the world’s best-selling drug”. He goes on to say that yoga affects more than 200 different processes in our body and brain. It affects virtually every tissue and every system in our body. Studies have shown that yoga can produce a relaxation response that mimics the best anti-anxiety drugs that we have on the market today. He said, “We feel it should be a national priority to do more studies of yoga.” A NATIONAL Priority! That is a pretty powerful statement!
Yoga therapy is also gaining grounds in hospitals. Yoga U online reports, “As the health benefits of yoga are increasingly recognized, more doctors in the US are utilizing yoga therapy as an adjunct practice to modern medicine. According to the New York Times, yoga is offered as therapy in 93 percent of 755 integrative medical centers across the nation—facilities that offer both traditional medicine and alternative approaches to health under one roof.”
So, am I really brave? Or just plumb crazy? I would say I’m determined. Determined to send all of these illnesses into remission. I could say I want my life back, but the truth of the matter is… I don’t want my life back. No. I want a better life. I deserve that. I want a new life. A life of authenticity, where I am no longer hiding any part of who I am — perceived good or bad. I am that I am, and that is good enough. I could never go back to the life I used to have. Instead, I am becoming my authentic self; who I was designed to be, and that is a beautiful thing.
My doctor’s told me that these illnesses are incurable, leaving the impression that I would them for a lifetime. I say that’s only true if I choose to believe it, and I have no intention of doing that. I have been fighting for my health to return to it’s natural state since the day I was diagnosed, refusing to believe that was my reality for the rest of my life. With God’s grace, my health will exceed all of my expectations.
If you suffer from chronic illness or psychological conditions, never let them tell you what you can’t do. I hope this inspirational video will fill your heart and spirit the way it did mine (I still haven’t figured out how to insert a video yet):
If this blog has inspired you or helped you, I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to comment below or reach out to me on my Facebook page:
More info on Yoga and PTSD:
Yoga U Online: