How Yoga saved and changed my life
Confused lost 20 year old trying to find her purpose in this world. Sound familiar? We've all been there. I had been living with my grandparents for a few months. I had just gotten out of a toxic relationship with someone who was on drugs and I was deep in my eating disorder, constantly planned my way out of this world, was insecure, had major anxiety. Had I known about the drug addiction before hand I would not had been with that person but I had known him years before that and thought he was over the party phase. A year into our relationship when I found the heroine for the first time having never seen something like that before. I spent another year hiding it from my family as I tried to catch down dealers, got him a sponsor, took him to NA meetings, had interventions while juggling college I paid out of pocket and waitressing. I bought a labradoodle, finally broke up with him and quit my job to work at a fancy place downtown.
I had grown up in Boring, Oregon so being downtown was foreign to me. I wondered one day near Hawethorne, found a studio called Yoga Union and decided to go in. Immediately I felt love and support I had not felt before. I didn't know anyone there and the word community was knew to me too. Unless it was community service (Where I always took my ex for getting in trouble) During class I fell in love with the idea of being a yoga teacher. My yoga teacher Annie Adamson looked so graceful, happy, loving....her presence was nothing I had experienced before. I thought wow I could be a yoga teacher...I mean I'm terrified of public speaking but I could do it. I wanted to feel that love, grace and happiness within myself.
So I went home and told my family I'm going to be a yoga teacher. They said you're going to be a what? I explained what yoga was and said I will come up with the money to pay for it myself. That's exactly what I did and it was scary. I went for my first day of the 10 days because the training was in segments of three for a year long period. Woah the people I met there were so welcoming and loving. I felt no judgement just love and support. We were assigned a Dherma partner ( Someone to practice with) and a secret partner that you leave a gift for each day. Amazing one of the days someone left me my favorite kombucha drink and on another day my favorite chocolate. One that really made me smile was an apple with a note that said "For the future teacher in you." This stranger knew so much about me in a short amount of time by observing me. One of the days we did a practice called shree gazing. You have a partner and stare into their eyes in silence for 1-2 minutes. This was so difficult for me as an insecure young woman. I can't even look at myself in the mirror let alone allow someone else to see me as I am and me see them as they are. I giggled....ALOT.
You see this yoga training was not just about learning how to teach yoga poses. This training was teaching me about self love and self care. How to human and survive in the world. This training taught me how to look at myself in the mirror and say I see you. I learned to look at myself in the mirror for the first time and see who I really was. Before this training when I was 19 I was 113 lbs living off of blueberries and purging if I ate anything else. I starved myself everyday even though no matter how small the number on the same got I never felt enough. During the training I was a 130lbs and now I am a healthy 145lbs. By the tenth day of training I knew these people would be in my life for the rest of my life. Fast forward another 2-3 months and I was stoked for another 10 days with my new humans. I was still terrified of public speaking but I felt safe to step out of my zone and do my best. We did a 40 day Mantra Challenge with Anandra who came from India and taught us the Hindu Alphabet. I bought some malla beads with 108 pieces for me to count on as I repeated my manta everyday for 40 days. This challenge taught me discipline in my daily life.
Another 10 days and we were sad they went by so fast. During the next three months we had homework, I had my own alter to meditate at home, I filtered all the toxic people out of my life and replaced with new loving friends, found a man who loved me for me and most importantly I was on the journey of learning what it meant to love myself. Fast forward our last 10 days of training at the beach. There was tears, laughing, love, confidence, support and honestly I was going through a difficult time of loss in my life. I would not have been able to get through my struggle so smoothly without the love of my yoga community. After teacher training I would show up to the studio and it didn't matter what day I was having because I immediately felt the grounding I was longing for.
Yoga teacher training taught me how to present in my life. How to slow down and ask myself, "What do I need right now?" Yoga teacher training gave me a community of loving supportive humans in my life. Taught me how to find love within myself and how to truly take care of myself. I now am confident in myself, in public speaking and am working daily on my insecurities. Yoga gave me a voice and taught me that my voice matters. Yoga teacher training wiped away my depression by having me face everything I was holding in my body. We hold trauma in our body and yoga releases it. I believe even if you don't want to teach you should at least take the training to better your life and well being. This is my story of how yoga changed and saved my life.