Yoga first made an appearance in my life years ago. It was a brief and fleeting introduction in a large class. Though I enjoyed it somewhat, I only attended a few classes before I lost interest and moved to something else. Thinking back, I now realize that the focus was on asana (postures) only. there was no encouragement to set intention - to connect - to tune into breath - or to come home to self. Had those elements been present, I believe I would have been called to yoga many years ago.
Several years passed, and I became interested in Pilates. Even though I was relatively young, I had begun to have a few aches & pains. I fell in love with the way Pilates worked to correct structural misalignments (thus alleviating many of those aches and pains) while providing a challenging workout. At the time (about 6 years ago) I was teaching high school science yet yearning for a career change. Since nutrition, wellness, and fitness had always been important to me, I decided finish the academic year then seek Pilates certification. No sooner than I had begun that path, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I continued to practice Pilates and trained throughout my treatment. Pilates was very beneficial in helping to physically piece my body back together and remains an important part of my self-care routine. Yet, something was still missing.
Cancer treatment left my body wrecked. I endured eight operations, chemotherapy, failed breast reconstruction, and several severe infections. My body had been invaded and occupied by cancer and then treated in the most invasive ways. Taken were my breasts, some lymph nodes, my ovaries (ergo my estrogen), my uterus, my cervix, my hair, and my peace of mind. I had made it to the other side of treatment, but everything had changed. I didn’t feel healthy. I didn’t feel whole. On so many levels, I had disassociated with my body. Numerous surgeries brought both physical and emotional pains along with much poking and prodding by medical personnel. So to distance myself from that pain, I checked out of my own body. I felt like a stranger in my own skin. I desperately needed a way to quiet my racing anxieties and to build a new trust in my body. I needed to know my body in new ways….to make peace with it…and to feel at home in it once again. My spirit needed mending.
Then, a few years ago, yoga found its way back into my life. I attended a class led by a talented teacher. She used artful cues and visualizations, while leading a class that felt uplifting and calming all at the same time. She was vibrant…and she was in her late 60s. This left a lasting impression on me! Over time, I added more yoga into my practice and discovered yoga nidra along the way. Not only did my body begin to feel better, but a sense of peace began to ease back into my life.
dedication to asana, pranayama,yoga nidra, gentle self-massage, and thoughtful observation have enabled me to develop my own intuitive self-care routine. This routine has allowed me to experience a great decrease in pain, and it has given me tools to manage pain when it is present. I have more energy. I find it easier to tap into my optimism. One of the greatest things is that I now feel at home in my own skin once again.
Yoga has become an absolutely integral part of my sustainable wellness plan. My daughters now practice, too. Even my eight year old has her own practice! They have witnessed yoga’s healing role in my life. They have personally experienced the way that yoga can transform. I am so grateful that they have discovered yoga as a tool for self-care at such a young age.
You can find my group classes at ALamo City Yoga . I also teach privately in my home studio.