With My Whole Heart

I’ve had a bit of a block lately. My life has been in transition and I’ve been struggling to decide how to put the pieces together. And here’s the kicker, I have very few restraints. Perhaps, that’s why I’m feeling so guilty. I’m almost paralyzed by guilt.

For years I had all the excuses in the world to not have the life I truly wanted. I was in a crappy marriage and then in a crappy relationship. I lived in a tiny, rural town in the middle of nowhere. I had a small child-at two different periods of my life.  I had excuse after excuse and now? All those excuses are gone. Every single one of them.

I live in a new, exciting metropolitan area. My crappy relationships are behind me and I’m even spending time with someone new and wonderful. My children are older and for a short time living across the country with their father. I am older, wiser and more experienced. I even have a small reputation for being good at what I do.

I’m paralyzed and I’m not sure it’s all guilt.

This morning someone tweeted, “Have the courage to be happy.”- Steve Maraboli. And it kinda stuck in my head through making the coffee, feeding the cats and emptying the dishwasher.

I remembered what I learned last year about courage from Brene Brown. Courage is different than being brave. Courage comes from the Latin for heart. The original meaning is to live with your whole heart.

Sometimes the lessons come so long after we are initially introduced to them, don’t they?

Have the courage to be happy.

Live with your whole heart and be happy. Well, now that makes sense, doesn’t it?

I’ve been so scared so often in my life. I’ve been so lost and afraid. The biggest thing my fear has done? It’s helped me build a protective wall around my heart. Like the henna heart there’s stuff around my heart that takes awhile to wade through. Then when you get there, there’s a door. Don’t get Heartme wrong,  I open it occasionally and I even let a few select people in. And at the same time I feel my heart open to complete strangers, on the street, on television, that I read about. I would say that I’m an open-hearted person and that I have love and compassion for everyone.  Yet, I guess to be honest I would say that most of the time my heart is open when I can stand back. I guess I would say, there this wall and I stand at the door guarding the entrance.

What if Brene Brown is right? What if the answer is to use my whole heart? What would that look like? What would that feel like?

As with so many times when I learn a life lesson, I find that I’ve already been teaching it. I teach heart openers and believe in the health benefits, mental and physical, of having an open heart. I tell clients to look into the places where the heart is resisting. I believe in living more in the heart and less in the brain. I practice heart openers.  And yet again I find myself laughing at my own limitations.

I guess being able to laugh at myself is good.

So here’s what I’ve been doing that so many of us do. I open little parts of my heart, for limited amounts of time. I’ve been thinking that maybe, just maybe I can widen my door and put in a gate. Cause gates are see through. You can even reach through a gate, both from the inside and the outside.

Maybe just maybe I can leave the gate open for longer periods of time and for more people.

So, I tried that this weekend. (Sometimes posts take me several days to write.) I opened and I was happy. I was really happy.

And then I freaked out. I got panicky. My heart started racing. My breath got short.  I picked up the phone. I called three different friends and left long messages. I talked myself through it. I told them I just needed to talk, even on vm, and it was what I needed cause I got over it and I even went back and opened my heart again.

I teach in class that poses aren’t going to feel comfortable right away. I tell my students to be in the pose, to stop thinking about how it’s supposed to look and focus on how it feels. Breathe in the pose. Breathe out from the pose. Find the softer place, the place where comfort might have some space.

That’s what I’m doing. Cause that second time, when I went back and opened my heart again, it was better. It still takes my breath away. I’m walking through it.  I’m breathing and softening and looking for the place where it feels comfortable to live with my whole heart.

Courage isn’t a destination. It’s a space. I am being courageous. I may not be a pro, yet, but I am choosing to live with my whole heart.

If I don’t pass out from the fear I’ll write more about it soon.

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My Own Way

I had another one of those knocks from the universe yesterday. By the way, the universe is being much kinder to me these days. The knocks are gentle. I’m able to keep my balance. I’m able to see the wisdom pretty quickly and I’m immediately grateful. Not like last Imageyear. Last year was the land on my ass and wallow kind of year. Last year was the can I really take one more thing kind of year. Last year was too much to bear. I have happily said goodbye to 2013.

You’re thinking the year is only 21 days old, right? I know, but I’m hopeful. And don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot last year. I learned that I’m a hell of a lot stronger than I would have guessed. I can take a lot. I also learned that sometimes just giving up isn’t such a bad answer, that lying down and letting it wash over you is sometimes as effective as fighting. I learned that I don’t have to take all the crap that comes my way. I learned to stop giving away my heart and hoping that everyone else will treat it better that I treat it myself. I learned to manage. I don’t have to bounce from wave to wave, I can manage my own movement and momentum.

So yesterday I had a gentle knock from the universe. I texted a friend that I talk or text almost every day. I didn’t hear back. My mind went into a tailspin. Now, to clarify and continue showing how much more mature I am than last year, I didn’t go into a full whirling dervish spin thinking everyone hates me and no one ever calls me or texts me. I didn’t check my phone incessantly. But after a few hours I started to wonder if I’d offended in some way. I started to question my ability to be around other people without obsessing. I started to doubt crazy, unrelated parts of my life. Then I phoned a friend. A different friend. I left a message, telling her I was thinking of breaking off this new friendship, that i was too crazy and in my head. I told her I’d had a fight with my ex-husband the night before and I was now in the crazy place where I was starting to believe the nasty things he can say to me.  I said it all in humor and with lightness to my voice. And because she’s a friend she knew that there was truth and hurt and pain beneath my flippancy.

And then the first friend called. He’d texted, but I’d never received it. And the sun shone again and I was smiling and it was all good.

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I can slip into my toddler self so easily, can’t I?. 

And then the second friend phoned. And we laughed. But here’s what she reminded me and this is why I love her, she always celebrates the small victories and is quick to point out what I can’t see.

She reminded me that I didn’t go into full-tilt whirling dervish. I had a few moments of uncertainty, a vast improvement over last year. I took responsibility for myself and my emotions. Not once did I call my non-responsive friend an ass or lay any blame. On the contrary, I knew I was being over-the-top, but I also didn’t invalidate my feelings. I gave them a voice in a safe place and at the end I came up with the conclusion that I have so many times before, but so much faster.

And I thought about all that and voiced my conclusion to her. When I think about my past and try to assign past hurts to a present situation, I drive myself crazy. When I’m in the future wondering what might happen, I drive myself crazy. For me, this is where self-sabotage comes in. I start to think that the job/friend/trip isn’t worth worrying about because it’s doomed. I convince myself I should just walk away and not worry about it. Now, in my head I say this is non-attachment, I’m surrendering. Actually, it’s the exact opposite. And then I’m not driving myself crazy, I’m there. I’m pulling into the parking space and getting ready to unload my luggage.

The solution? It’s what I teach, what I know and what I come back to again and again. A little faster this time, but so rarely while I’m flappable, vulnerable and needy.  If I can just be quiet and let the present moment be, I am ALWAYS okay. Being present with what is and letting go of what I’d like it to be makes everything okay. Letting go of the ego’s need to say how things should be is truly surrendering, is true non-attachment.

I know it’s only three weeks into the new year. I know I will be hurt in 2014, I will feel pain and it might get hard. I will struggle as we all do. We’re human.  I also have hopes that this is the year-not the year that I lose the weight, or make a million, or fall in love or finally work out every single day. I have hope that this is the year that I finally learn to get out of my own way. 

 

Practice

200406861-001People are often confused by the fact that we practice yoga, not do yoga. I prefer the word practice, because the idea is  that there is no end and no beginning. Practice evolves and changes. Your yoga poses deepen with practice and the understanding from doing the poses over and over becomes richer and more complex throughout your life.

Practice implies that there is no perfection in yoga. What is the perfect pose or the perfect execution of a pose one day may feel terrible the next. And your perfect pose is completely different than my perfect pose. The practice grows and develops as we learn intuitively what our body needs. After a long trip, Viparita Karani, might feel great, but to your seat mate on the plane Sarvangasana might be better. (Legs up the wall and shoulder stand). In just this small physical way yoga starts to come off the mat as our awareness, intuition and self-care increases.

Yoga, Sri Aurobindo tell us, is all life. And this idea of practice and life has been sitting well with me lately. Some of the people who have the most difficulty with yoga are perfectionists. The idea that the body and mind are different every time you’re on the mat and therefore new each time you practice is nerve wrecking. The idea that there is no real way to get it right escapes so many. But for those that are willing to stick with it this lesson of embracing the imperfect and consistently focusing on beginner’s mind, yoga slowly starts to seep into other areas of life.

And this is the thought my brain comes back to over and over. When I was in my 20s I thought that when I got to my 30s I would get it. That things would fall together and my life would be set. I was already a yogi, so I wasn’t looking for outward success, but more a comfort, a knowing. And it didn’t really come. In fact, there was a lot of upheaval and tough times in my 30s.

So I thought it would come in my 40s. In some ways it did. In some ways I got to a more comfortable place, a place of knowing. But the knowing came from all my yoga lessons. Things didn’t come together because of a certain age. There’s a wisdom from the mat.

My mentor says that everyone signed up for Life 101 and somehow I got in Life 301. Because I tend to get more of those things that are out of our control than most, like my mom’s breast cancer and getting plowed from behind at a red light and….well, we could talk about this for awhile. But I think these tough these that we all experience are just more of the practice. When I was 22 big upheaval would flatten me and it would take me a long time to get back up. Today, big things happen and I take a deep breath (and maybe a nap) and continue on.

The comfort that I have now, that I didn’t have in my 20s or 30s, is practice. Cause I’ve been here before and yoga has taught me that there is imperfection and it’s beautiful. Sometimes a practice is hard and I struggle and sometimes I can flow seamlessly through an hour on the mat. But either way, on the mat or off, I’ve been here before and I will move past this place and on to the next.

Lately, it feels like I’m in complete beginner’s mind as I practice my cooking skills to cook professionally again. Learning flavors and skills, being inspired by colors and aromas is exciting and fun and feels like those first days of college or those weeks when we brought the first baby home. Putting my life back together and building a new life in a new place with some new people is  challenging and exhilarating and makes me want to jump out of bed every morning.

I am again in a place where beginner’s mind is easy, because so much is new and I’m in a place of upheaval. This time, though, I’m enjoying the practice. I guess I used to say I was enjoying the path, but paths often go somewhere. They take me from point A to point B and this practice will end and I’ll get up in the morning and get back on the mat and I’ll turn around it do it again and again. 

The biggest gift of focusing on the word practice is that it removes all expectations- of performance,  perfectionism, or  outcome. It lets me be free and just enjoy, even when life throws unexpected difficulties my way.

Getting on the mat day after day can change your life. You don’t have to practice for an hour, you don’t have to sweat. You can meditate one day, stretch another, practice balance poses on another. Just get on the mat.

Let yoga seep into your life.

Starting Over

I’ve been playing with this idea of starting over. Six weeks ago my life flew apart. I had some decisions to make. Things were changing. Can you really start over at 44? Can I begin again with kids, exes and a truckload of baggage? While my kids ground me, they also anchor me to relationships that sometimes I’d rather not have. Mother-in-law.

So I’ve struggled with this idea of starting over. It terrifies me. I’ve been frozen in indecision. I suppose I could be looking at it like it’s freeing. I’ve tried, believe me. I would love to feel free instead of feel fearful.

So, after struggling for awhile I finally looked to my yoga practice. Yes, it should be simple and automatic to fall easily into my teachings. Some of them I do. I know to get on the mat. I know to listen deeply. I’ve learned to lean into the pain. I eat well, I dress comfortably, I believe in my body’s wisdom. And yet, I often find the need to  struggle, be uncomfortable, resist and wallow before I look deeply into my practice.In this way I accept my humanness.

So today while reading and meditating I remembered two things about the teachings. First, that yoga is transformation. Transformation is always happening. So while I may like the grand title of Starting Over this is no grand experience. Rather, we are constantly changing and transforming. Hollywood likes to glorify it, Think; Eat, Love, Pray, The Holiday, Pretty Woman, Sweet Home Alabama, even Gone With The Wind. Don’t we just love Scarlett, standing in the dregs, declaring that “tomorrow is another day.”? We believe in the power of the new day. We love thinking each of us has within our power to wake up and turn it around. We love to watch women struggle and turn their lives around. We love to feel good about it. We love the happy, feel good ending. What we don’t like to focus on is the fear.

The fear can be huge. The fear can be debilitating. The fear is uncomfortable, messy and yucky. Yoga has taught me that being messy is good. Not something just to tolerate, but something that we want to run into. Big thinkers like Seth Godin and Brene Brown remind me that messiness is where we’re productive, where we’re creative and we’re innovative. Am I going to change the world because I’m scared? Maybe. But undoubtedly I am innovative in my own life when I’m terrified.

So the answer? Am I Starting Over? I’m not completely sure. This I know.

I will survive this difficult time. I most likely will have a better life because of it. I will lean into the fear and feel the now of the moment, cause there’s nothing like fear to bring you into the present. Change is inevitable and constant. It’s the willingness and openness to do something different that connects us to our higher good.

Probably the biggest thing yoga has taught me is to do what I know. Every day that I feel lost or scared I know to meditate, to connect, to get on the mat. Every day that I sit in meditation, every day that I get on the mat I’m a little bit different. I come to the practice with beginner’s mind. With the same earnestness I approach transformation with beginner’s mind. So, I guess in a way I really am starting over.

Right Now, I’m Okay.

I was checking my blog, from your point of view and reread the quote at the top of the page. Do not dwell in the past….oh, yeah. Do not dream of the future….oh, yeah. Be present….oh, yeah. It’s silly the things we forget, isn’t it. It’s silly how often I have to remind myself to just be present.

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So while I’ve felt this underlying thread of fear during the last month, I look around and I realize that actually in this moment I’m okay. The past few months have been scary for many reasons, the near future is scary because it’s an open road and that’s uncomfortable for me. But right now, as I sit on my messy bed with too much coffee eating my belly and my 7 year old playing Star Wars on the floor everything is okay. I don’t fear for my safety or my sanity in this moment. I’m not worried about what might happen in a few hours. I’m not even worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow. Thanks to good friends and family my immediate future is pretty secure.

Ask me about next month? I’m terrified. However, I can take a deep breath and come back to the moment. Right now I’m okay. The breath can only be in the present. Anytime I choose to practice focusing on the breath, I can only be right here, right now. Next month will come soon enough and if I can string together enough right here, right nows I can get to next month feeling okay. And when I get there that moment will be okay too.

So for right now, I’m okay.

A Month Later…

I thought I knew how my life was going. I thought I had a plan.  In a moment it changed. It shifted along a fault line when I packed a bag, called a friend and left, son in tow, in the middle of the night. It was a good choice in the moment. A necessary choice with tough fall out. So here I am. I’m 44. I just upended my life. I’m figuring it all out all over again. I’m scared. I’m also free.

It’s  been a tough month. I left with $21 in my wallet. I thought I had nowhere to go and didn’t know what I was going to do. But friends showed up. Friends took care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself. Friends are still doing a lot for me. I was scared and feeling alone, stupid and embarrassed,.

Today, I’m feeling grateful. Today I’m still scared because I haven’t had a lot of open roads in my life. I got married young and while I don’t regret any of my life, I’ve spent a lot of it thinking about other people. Now, it’s time to think about me.

This lesson pops up for me over and over. I believe that your lessons keep poking you until you really get them. This time the lesson is pretty hard to ignore.

When my life has gone astray, as it has so often in the past five years, I examine what yoga has taught me.

Yoga has taught me to sit still, to be open, and to listen. The next step? I don’t know quite yet, but my experience and the experiences of so many before me says that the answer will come. I will know it by the flutter in my heart and the peace in my belly. It will resemble that feeling I have when I come to the mat, but it will come from an idea, a word, a thought.

Yoga has taught me self-care. It doesn’t come naturally, but yoga has taught me how precious my mind, body and spirit are, collectively and singularly. So laying on the couch indulging in Halloween candy and a Nikita marathon might seem attractive, but it’s not good self-care for me right now.  Self-care is a concept that eluded me for a long time. I was very used to seeing in black and white and the concept that sometimes walks and meditation and practice and herbal tea are good self-care and other days Nikita is called for was hard for me to accept.

But yoga has taught me to see the grays.

So once again I find my life in disarray and finally, I think the lesson is clear. I’ve lived my life too long for others. For spouse, kids, boyfriends and girlfriends, parents, friends.  Each time there was a detour I thought that I was making choices for me. Each time I was deluding myself. In all honestly, I’m not sure that I know how make choices just for me.

So it’s not pretty. It’s embarrassing that I find myself here again. I feel too old to be starting over and too old to be learning this lesson. Yoga has taught me to be human. I’m slowly learning what that means. I’m slowly allowing myself kindness for making mistakes and even making the same mistakes again and again. I’m actually listening to the words that I’ve been teaching for years. It’s about the journey. It’s about the choice I make in this moment and not necessarily where I end up with it. I’m letting go, opening up, accepting and loving.

It’s scary, but it’s freeing.

Kansas to Massachusetts

I’m back. I think I say this every few months or so. Sometimes longer. I’ve been moving. My primary home was in Lawrence Kansas and now my primary home is in Boston, Mass.

It’s been big and tough and many, many times as the miles sped by with a seven year old, two dogs, my stuff and my honey in a fairly small van, I asked myself why? I wanted to move. I wanted to make a big move. I wanted to live with my honey again. The endeavor was much bigger than I thought, though. And to be honest I struggled with my yogic principles. Big time.

I haven’t been the best yogi over the last six weeks. On top of the stress and fear I’ve been in almost constant pain since I left. I haven’t been on the mat as much as I would want a client/student to be. I get so frustrated when clients don’t see results because they don’t put in the work, but I’ve been that client lately.

Stemming primarily from the drive, the little twinges of arthritis I occasionally had flared up in big, painful and scary ways. I realized the arthritis in my foot is probably the beginning of a bunion. My occasional sciatic pain is a consistent reminder of everyone I’ve ever helped heal. Back pain is so invasive. It affects every aspect of your life. I can’t sleep, lift things, shower, clean, unpack, sit for long periods, cook, make love, ride the T, trolley or bus without more pain than I’ve ever felt. And yet I do.

On the way out here I had an allergy attack that prompted a sweet and well-meaning cop to call an ambulance. The EMTs informed me I actually had great oxygen absorption- 100%. Which meant I wasn’t actually having an allergy attack. “Do you have any anxiety issues?” the man taking my pulse asked?

Shit.

So, while they were extremely helpful and kind I wasn’t having a physical problem. They had me sign some paperwork and sent me on my way.

I was embarrassed and felt like a failure. It was possible that my anxiety sparked some kind of allergic kind of feeling, but my lungs worked fine and I could even breathe through my nose.  The coughing wasn’t impeding my breathing.

This is what I do!I help people who have these issues and the nasty voice in my head says I shouldn’t have these problems. I should be “well” enough to live my life without anxiety issues.

And then I hear the kind voice of my last therapist who reminded me almost every session that she’s a therapist and most therapists she knows are because they need the tools they teach. It’s okay to still struggle with anxiety occasionally and teach people how to manage it at the same time. I had this idea that I think is pervasive in our society that I can only be an expert or teach something unless I’ve mastered it.

And then with a roll of my eyes I remember my teacher’s voice telling me to teach what I know. Teach what I’m learning because I’m most present with it. I’m in the muck of it and so I’m the best teacher for what I’m teaching in this moment. If I’m so far away from what I’m teaching that I can’t remember what it feels like to struggle with headstand/anxiety/peace then I can’t be an effective teacher.

And I’ve learned the most in my life from people who value being open, honest and freely themselves. It’s what drew me to yoga and the teachers I’ve chosen.

So with the nasty voice, my therapist’s voice and my teacher’s voice I freely admit that, yes I still struggle with some anxiety and while the nasty voice in my head tells me that means I’m failing I also hear a little, softer voice that reminds me to look at the progress and forget about perfection. And then the little voice gets a little louder and reminds me that I’m human. Who do I think I am to think that I shouldn’t have struggles? I mean, really? Who?

My huge character defect, one that my best friend from college called me on almost 20 years ago, is that when I’m struggling I disappear. I don’t write, I don’t call and I don’t let anyone know that I’m in pain.  A lot of us share this defect. It’s incredibly frustrating to the people who love us.

Sometimes it feels like all I do is write about my struggles. It feels like present myself as someone who constantly fails. But in all honesty, I sometimes feel that way about myself. So, I guess it’s honest and real. My struggles the last five years have been huge. And, boy I have learned a lot. I’ve grown immensely and I’ve tried to be open and I’ve tried to use my lessons to be a better teacher, a better parent and a better yogi.

So my intention now is to keep writing even while I’m in pain,  to stay here and teach through my own experiences, to share yoga in all the ways that I know it and to embrace being human.

Namaste,

Melissa

Self-care-or cutting myself some slack

I’ve been taking it easy lately. I’ve been defiant about it, too. I’ve been eating food I don’t normally let my kids eat.

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Comfort food. Frozen food. Food which normally makes me cringe and for which I judge other people when I see it in their shopping carts. And I’ve been loving it. I’ve been loving my over-processed, heavy with sodium and preservatives diet. 

Well, mentally I love it, but I have to be honest physically I’m not at my best.

Also, I’ve been sleeping in, which normally makes me anxious. In my normal life 10am rolls around and I feel like I’m behind. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been up since five and have been working straight for five hours. I usually feel anxious. These days, I’m still war ravaged from my 20 year battle with insomnia,  but instead of feeling virtuous by only getting three hours of sleep,  I now take a Benedryl and roll over. Some days I’m in bed till 10am. 

I’m not sure what’s happening. I have a hunch though. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. And I just had my 44th birthday.  

 

I teach people about self-care. I scold my clients and students for pushing themselves too hard. I push myself too hard. Unfortunately, I think my shift to taking it down a notch is a mixture of mid-life realization that I’m not actually immortal and pure mid-life exhaustion. Most of us wait till we’re in a health crisis or think we’re retiring to slow down and take care of ourselves.

Somehow my shift has happened slowly and naturally. A long time ago I was someone who chastised myself for every unhealthy bite I took. I weighed

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myself constantly and my internal commentary was harsh and critical.

I used to cringe if I didn’t seem to get ten hours smashed into eight. I sewed my daughter’s Halloween costumes, while making all-natural, from scratch meals and supervising Halloween crafts, ditto for every other holiday including St. Patrick’s Day and Sweetest Day.  I was a warrior.

I made homemade pizza sauce and froze it, I grew vegetables and pureed my kids’ non preservative, all-natural baby food.

Self-care only meant swiping the razor over my legs once in awhile and occasionally taking off the chipping, fading toe nail polish I’d put on while my daughter napped six weeks earlier. Self-care was a concept in my professional life only.

I have made progress and getting older has helped a bit. I’m a bit more mellow than I used to be. I have some health issues that make demands of my diet so usually I’m fairly conscious of that. But the last few weeks have been almost hedonistic.

Now, I’m not going to argue that eating frozen burritos is self-care, far from it. But for me, it’s the concept of letting myself be human  that’s revolutionary. Cutting myself some slack is novel. It’s a new form of self-care. It’s very different than taking six cardio classes a week, like I used to in my 20s.  I’m allowed to have lazy days, I’m allowed to indulge, be silly just for the sake of being silly. 

Self-care is a big buzz word these days. We’re killing ourselves and I’m no exception. The cost of stress, insomnia, constant motion and over-thinking are high. But the highest cost of my hectic lifestyle and incessant self-berating is what I’m teaching my children.

So, while I’m proud of myself for letting go of my negative self-talk and overly demanding ways, it’s time to get back to who I really am. I’m a diabetic, gluten-sensative yogini who believes in whole, unprocessed, all-natural, made from scratch meals, slowing down and taking care of myself body, mind and spirit.

Today I pledge to walk cause it’s a nice day, not just because I put sugar in my morning coffee. I promise myself to just sit in the silence because it’s pleasant, not just because I need to model behavior for my clients.  I allow myself long, lazy yoga practices where I sink into poses and relax onto bolsters because they feel good, not just so I can prep for my next client or class. But most of all I vow to myself to just let myself be me.

3 ways to ease anxiety with yoga

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This post is from the archives.

I was in Boston the day of the bombing. I stayed an extra week to work with people healing from stress, anxiety, trauma and PTSD. While I was there I really didn’t write. Well, I wrote, but I didn’t post. I wasn’t ready. I needed to digest what was happening, what happened. Between the bombings, the unease during the week, the lockdown and the eventual capture of white hat it was a lot to digest. This was one of the first things I wrote after. Enjoy.

My first yoga experience was a coming home. Yoga had called me for years. Even teaching yoga seemed like the dream job. Somehow I knew that it was a practice that would change my life.And it has. I would not be the woman I am without yoga. I’ve been a yogini for almost 20 years. Some of my most profound lessons weren’t on the mat, but in my everyday life. Yoga has opened me, calmed me, made me more compassionate and loving, made me more tolerant and most importantly, yoga has healed me. And that’s why I started teaching.

Early in my yoga life I was a mess. And I’ve been an occasional mess since, but those early days I didn’t have anywhere to turn. I didn’t know what to do or who to talk to. I was depressed, anxious, lonely, despite being married to my best friend and suffering from undiagnosed PTSD.

Later I would be a mess, but I would have yoga. And if I could just remember to get on the mat or sit in silence I would start the healing practice and everything would be okay. Continue reading