My life now has a deeper sense of purpose!

J Brown

J. Brown

My mother died of leukemia when I was sixteen years old. In the months leading up to her death, I didn’t visit her in the hospital. I went once but after sitting in my car in the parking lot for thirty minutes, I left without going in. I just couldn’t. I was not capable of dealing with what was happening.

Eventually, I’d be hurried to her bedside regardless: for fear she was not going to make it through the night. I remember the nurse coming into the waiting room quickly and saying, “She’s awake!” Next, I see my mother in a hospital bed with tubes coming out of her nose. My sister breaks down sobbing and rushes to her side. My mother is semi-hysterical, crying and exclaiming, “I am not ready to go!”

At the time, I had never exhibited much poise or depth. I tended to be somewhat hyperactive and scattered. I spent a lot of time daydreaming. Yet, in this most crucial moment, something I cannot explain happened.

In a strange flash of clarity that I have been inquiring to understand ever since, I grabbed my mother by the gown, jarring her present and bringing her eyes to mine, and said, “Mom, I love you very much and I’m going to do great things in my life and make you proud of me. I’m not going to come see you in the hospital again.” She nodded in acknowledgement and gave me a pained smile. I kissed her on the cheek and walked out of the room. That was the last time I saw my mother. Continue reading

No CommentsAdd a Comment »

All was going well when my life turned upside down…

Vernette Butler

Vernette Butler

I tried yoga years ago at school, but I was never really dedicated any time to it after I left. This was because I thought it was closer to meditation, something I wouldn’t have thought of as exercise at the time. Instead to lose weight, I tried running, aerobics videos, bike riding, etc. The novelty always wore off and the weight piled on over the years.

However it was in 2002 at a weight of 13 stone (I’m 5’2), my heaviest, that I felt the need to do something about it. I saw an advert on the TV for a yoga DVD that said you only had to do 10 minutes a day. I just thought, “even I can do that,” and I remembered how I felt when we did the yoga meditations at school!

So I bought the DVD and started doing ten minutes at first, then thirty, until I could work up to the whole eighty minutes.

Within a week of doing just the ten minutes however, I had lost four pounds. I hadn’t really changed my diet or anything, so I thought it could only be the yoga. That seemed a remarkable amount to lose in just a week and it spurred me on to continue the yoga.

From then I was hooked on doing it, sometimes even twice a day! I loved the way it made me feel, both physically and mentally.

Slowly I felt my tastes and attitude towards food were changing. I only seemed to want or crave ‘naughty’ foods at the weekend and in smaller amounts. The rest of the time I just didn’t want or need that kind of food.

After a year and half of doing yoga DVDs, classes and self-teaching, I was 6 stone lighter and feeling better than I ever had, and was eating healthier (although still had my weekend naughties!). My body looked and felt better than when I was 18.

I even started teaching it to my partner as he saw the obvious benefits it had given me, and was into it much more than I thought he would be. So both of us started practicing together and studying yoga’s history and philosophy.

All was going so well when I was suddenly struck out of the blue by the devastating news that my partner of nine years had committed suicide. Continue reading

1 CommentAdd a Comment »

The wall around my heart dissolved with yoga!

Regis Chapman

Regis Chapman

In 2001, I was another victim of the bursting tech bubble. I had spent all the money I made during my Silicon Valley years coaching and investing in the young athletes I worked with, and had put my heart and soul into my tech work and coaching, like I had done in my athletic “career” 10 years before. I worked to give myself money to do what I loved- to see people improve themselves. The result was the same- I was burnt out and disillusioned.

I had always coached in a ‘mentor’ sort of way; spending long periods living with the (very select) athletes I worked with- showing them how to live by my example, rather than handing them a program to follow. Athletes and their families became my family. Only later would I understand that I was doing so in a gurukulam-style manner common to Indian teachers.

By early 2002, I had spent 8 months sullenly playing online RPGs in an apartment with what little money I had left. I was coaching Masters athletes for money now instead of juniors, while refusing to take lower paying jobs than I had previously worked. At the end of 2002, I gave it up and went right back to an entry-level job doing tech support, again on the burnout track.

That same year, I ran into a group who showed me another way to experience life. Second-guessing myself, I got married- and quickly divorced- and then literally RAN to an ashram to live out (so I thought) my years trying to be a Swami. I took my teacher training in October 2005 and never looked back. I hadn’t realized how unhappy I had been trying to live out the fantasy of “American life” and that the cultural conditioning I had inherited wasn’t serving how I thought of myself or my philosophical mindset.

In the steady, disciplined life of the yogi, I found a solace and bent to the tasks given by a very tough spiritual teacher with a real long-awaited devotion I hadn’t known I possessed. I became a student, really for the first time. I learned how to detach myself from my stubborn, arrogant and capricious mind to identify with the immortal Self shared among us all. None of this came naturally to me, and it took a full year to grok the cultural shift that was taking place inside me. Continue reading

No CommentsAdd a Comment »

Many shallow wells or one deep one?

Francie Steinzeig

Francie Steinzeig

I practiced yoga for the first time in my twenties and dabbled now and then throughout the years. About 19 years ago, I began my yoga journey in earnest.

One of my yoga teachers once told me that with yoga, one could dig many shallow holes or dig a deep well. Through the years I’ve practiced many different styles but found my yoga home with Breath Yoga, a flowing practice that quiets my active mind and body.

Ketna Shah has been my teacher for the last several years. She skillfully sequences asanas and ends our practice with pranayama. I always feel better emotionally, physically, and spiritually after my practice. I am grateful to have found a warm and supportive yoga community that enriches my life in so many ways.

Do you have a yoga story to share? If so please send it to us! For more such stories please click on the “stories” tab or click here.

No CommentsAdd a Comment »

Holistic Healing and Yoga Helped Me Recover from Candida

Lynn Lombardo

Lynn Lombardo

Anyone who has been through a devastating illness knows that it affects not only the physical body, but also the mind, heart, and spirit–often more deeply than the physical body. The despair that illness can bring is enormous, yet there is a deep respect and desire for the body and the mind to always be united. Sometimes we forget this, but yoga and meditation can help us to remember.

In the fall of 2004, I began to develop strange flu-like symptoms that would not go away. Earlier that summer, I had been prescribed three rounds of antibiotics for a constant sore throat I had been experiencing. Soon after taking them, I developed headaches, nausea, lethargy, body aches, fatigue, and uncharacteristic weakness, along with muddled thinking and blurred vision. My blood pressure was elevated and further tests indicated borderline diabetes. I was given blood pressure medication and the name of a nutritionist who might help me regain some of the weight I was rapidly losing. It became evident that the heavy, rich foods she suggested were wrong for me when I began experiencing intense, tremor-like attacks after eating. Soon, I was making visits to the emergency room, where the attacks were diagnosed as either hypoglycemic or complex partial seizures. The attacks kept escalating along with new symptoms such as uncontrollable shaking and unsteadiness while standing and walking. My yoga practice (yoga postures, breath work, and meditation) came to a standstill. Whereas yoga had helped me get in touch with my body’s signals, now there seemed to be a disruption in what my brain was trying to send to my body.

I received EKGs, CAT scans, MRIs, gastrointestinal tests, and more tests for allergies and parasites. From October 2004 until the end of 2006, I visited more than 20 conventional medical doctors, who used the latest technology available but could not diagnose my illness. I was hospitalized seven times, was referred to several “specialists,” and was prescribed 36 pharmaceutical medications. My concentration and attention span disappeared, and my mental fatigue worsened. A film settled over my eyes, making it impossible to read. Soon, I became bedridden. The doctors were exasperated and so was I. They said that, on paper, I was just fine. Continue reading

2 CommentsAdd a Comment »