Rebirth of the Inner Phoenix

InnerPhoenix In June of 2010, I reached another personal “breaking point” – fed up with feeling constant pain and limitation in my body, and trying to deal with the phrase “give yourself time to heal”. I mean, after over 18 months since the accident , shouldn’t I feel better already?? (Can you hear the impatient Type-A raging within me in those words? My breaking point came after suffering a 4th grand mal seizure June 15th 2010 – and I was alone in my new home, about to take a bath.

Again, I had no warning. I remember starting my bath water. I woke up 2.5 hours later, half naked on my bed, in extreme pain and very nauseous, with a bleeding and fat lip (bitten through), and bruises everywhere and possible broken ribs (which turned out was severe bruising, and bruising of the kidneys & liver). The water in my bath was still running and frigid – luckily I was not in it, and luckily the overflow took the water so my house was not flooded! Post-seizure, I fell deeply into grief and felt extremely sorry for myself. Then I got fed up with feeling so out of control and weepy and decided that I would take control of what I could in my life – my attitude.

In late June 2010, I tentatively stepped into my very first Yoga Studio (Breathing Space Yoga studio). I have done yoga over the years, in the form of classes at the local gym and through Yoga CD’s. But I had never been into a dedicated yoga studio before. It was life altering. Continue reading

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You Are Always Home

You Are Always Home by Nicole Niderman

You Are Always Home by Nicole Niderman

On the first day of my Drawing II class during my Freshman year at the Savannah College of Art and Design, my professor assigned us to create a drawing with a ball point pen that emulated an aspect of home. Since many of us had ventured from the secure embrace of our parents and the soothing comforts of our hometowns, many of us were ill with spells of homesickness. Worries about navigating around town, making friends, managing the strenuous workload, and coexisting with roommates made us dizzy with anxiety.

After I had experienced a preview of these symptoms during a pre-college program at the Rhode Island School of Design, I knew that the only way for me to ground myself during these first turbulent weeks was to focus inward and immerse myself into the yoga practice. Even as the culture shocks of college threatened to knock me off-kilter, yoga stabilized my mind and warded off my nervousness. When asked to convey an aspect of home, I immediately decided to depict myself standing confidently and calmly in tree pose amidst the chaotic clutter of my freshman dorm. One thing that yoga has taught me–even as a current sophomore trying to settle myself in both Savannah, Georgia and my hometown of Denver, Colorado–is that yoga allows a person to access the deepest part of themselves, the home that never evades us no matter how far we travel across the world. And as long as she remembers that safe retreat she’s always welcome in, she finds it easier to immerse herself out of her comfort zone confidently.

Post and sketch submitted by Nicole Niderman.

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Yoga Got My Thyroid Working

Thyroid Gland

Thyroid Gland

The reason I started yoga was my insurance coverage for my physical therapy was exhausted & I was still in pain from 4 herniated discs in my neck. I still had restricted movement, muscle tension causing spasms in my shoulders & up the left side of my face. This pain isn’t fun & causes inner ear & eye pain. It is really strange to explain. Most people don’t comprehend how muscle spasms can cause so much pain.

My physical therapist had heard about Yoga Passion & recommended I give it a try. Since my PT is an extreme runner & mountain climber, he trains for his events in the boiler room of a local brewery! He knows the effects health has on the body and he told me I would benefit from this type of exercise. I wouldn’t be lifting anything, I would only be working against myself.

To make myself buy into the program, I made the investment of purchasing a yoga mat forcing myself to continue the yoga. My first week I attended 3 classes. I couldn’t believe how I felt after each practice! The pain was easing & I could move better. I slept much better and I had great energy. I was amazed at the effects doing HotCore (Bikram) Yoga had on my aging body!! I felt I was getting younger!

People who hadn’t seen me for months couldn’t believe the glow I had, how nice my skin was, and, this is the best part, how much weight I had lost!! I hadn’t lost any weight because muscle weighs more than fat but I did loose 12 inches of body girth. I dropped from a size 16 to a size 12 within 4 months! I attended my 30th high school reunion Thanksgiving weekend where an old beau asked, “What fountain of youth did you discover?” He made my night!!

Besides the 4 herniated discs in my neck, I also have Hypothyroidism. My thyroid hasn’t worked for 8 years & I cannot loose weight no matter how hard I try. I can exercise daily aerobically, follow a tremendous doctor recommended balanced diet & still gain weight! I have no metabolism so I have a very difficult time loosing weight. Since I began yoga practice, I have lost 8 pounds & I have grown 1 inch!!! My doctor is so amazed about this yoga because my blood tests have shown that my thyroid levels are finally within the healthy ranges. My medication has not been changed in over 4 years, I am taking the maximum amount recommended & my thyroid levels have never been within the healthy ranges. Only since starting my yoga practice have the levels been healthy ones.

My husband is so thankful that I practice HotCore (Bikram) yoga as often as I can. He says its not often enough. He can tell from my posture & my energy level is I have missed a few days. He pushes me to get to your studio so I will continue to improve my health & well-being. This is the only exercise that has helped heal my problems.

Marie Woburn, MA

This is a testimonial provided by Marie Woburn for Yoga Passion. This has been reposted with permission. You can find the original here.

Do you have a testimonial that talks about how yoga has helped you or somebody you know?
Send it to us: info [at] mylifeyoga [dot] com

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Yoga Helps My Fitness And More

Yoga Weight Loss
With certain types of yoga come certain health benefits including the burning of calories through intense, moderately paced movements. Yoga also improves flexibility and strength. I can now touch my toes with the legs straight – I haven’t been able to do that since middle school! Yoga (also) decreases heart rate and blood pressure, which is good for people like me who become upset at the slightest little thing that does not go their way. Yoga improves physical endurance, posture (if you have to keep your back straight for the entire session, your body will become used to it), and balance. I have personally noticed that it helps with allergies. I have horrible allergies, and when I practice yoga, within ten minutes I can breathe normally and my eyes are not bright red anymore.

Yoga also improves mental health…and has been shown to help memory and concentration. It is definitely easier for me to concentrate after taking this class. My mind wanders when I am presented with a task that I do not want to perform and now I sit down and get the job done. (Yoga) has also been shown to help with one’s acceptance of oneself, which may be the most important health benefit of them all.

I used to take dance and martial arts classes when I was younger. Perhaps because of this I was not sore after the first class. I was, however, very tired. It was difficult for me to accept the fact that I was out of shape. I am 21 years old. It should not be difficult for me to work out at a steady pace for about two hours. I was determined to become more flexible, strong, and have more endurance by the time this class was over….I had gained a significant amount of weight last summer (about 35 pounds) and have not been able to successfully take and keep it off. About halfway through the (six week course), I realized that I could run up and down stairs and not be panting when I reached a landing. My stomach wasn’t flowing over the waistband of my pants as much. I could carry more things to and from my car than I could previously… I can’t say I don’t slouch at all anymore, but I am definitely more aware of it and will straighten my back when I realize I am slouching…

I never thought yoga would affect me the way it has. This class made my walking and jogging class easy! I will definitely keep doing the sun salutations after this class is over, and hopefully I will have the opportunity to take a yoga class again.

This post was written by Jennifer Wright as a testimonial for Ashtanga Yoga Maryland. This has been reposted with permission. Click here to go to the original.

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Yoga Helps Me Clear My Thoughts

Clear Thoughts
When I enrolled in the UMBC Yoga class this summer, semester, I did so to improve my strength and flexibility. I had always wanted to learn yoga, but now I had some real motivation because I really needed to catch up to my boyfriend’s physical abilities (he’s a gymnast.) But when I actually began to learn the practice, especially the Sun Salutations, I realized that yoga had the ability to completely clear my thoughts; or rather, that I had the ability through practicing yoga.

I can’t tell you how many times in the past month and a half that I have come home from work, stressed out of my mind, and simply taken a deep breath, done a few Sun Salutations, and felt entirely different. The sense of calm that I’ve developed has also spread into nearly every aspect of my daily life. I’ve realized that I’m unintentionally more health conscious lately, and I’ve also been able to stick to a workout program for more than two weeks for the first time in years. It has inspired me to strive for well being in every sense of the word. I’m even flossing now. That’s right: every day; impressed? I used to be a dancer, and for about 4 years I enjoyed a great amount of physical energy, but since beginning more strenuous classes and taking on more responsibilities with my own health, I’ve become much more sedentary and frankly, lazy. Thanks to this summer session, I’ve tasted that youthful energy that you’d think I would naturally have at 19, and I don’t plan on going back any time soon.

This is a testimonial provided for Sandra K. Nicht of Asthanga Yoga Maryland. You can find the testimonail over here.

You may also like: How Yoga Helped Me Navigate Choppy Waters

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