How Yoga May Have Saved My Life
I never thought I would end up being a yoga person. I was always the, if i’m going to workout I need to be running or weight lifting or doing something hardcore! Not that I worked out that often, just when i did that’s what I was thinking. Yoga was boring, full of stretching, deep breathing, being a vegan and all things that I had no interest in. Or so I thought. Then 2015 happened.
2015 I can say was the worst year of my life, (also one of the best but i’ll get there later). I was toward the end of my graduate program in epidemiology, a program I had only entered to give myself some thinking space until adulthood. I had still yet to think of anything. I could think of nothing that made me happy and my job which was a great job to have that was in the career path of that field was a boring nightmare. I ended up procrastinating so much that I didn’t finish my thesis, therefore did not finish my degree and had no desire to, I was no longer making a living wage without student loans and I could not manage to get hired anywhere else. Broke and lost with no where to turn, I started into a downward spiral that would only make things so much worse.
I had always dabbled in partying and party drugs here and there, but the summer of 2015 I took it to a new level. I did not care about anything anymore, I couldn’t figure out my life and I felt I never would so what was the point. I was never a drug addict but my case of the F its mixed with a boyfriend/drug dealer led me to a dark place. I was a fan of only the uppers and the come down was leaving me more and more messed up. The more I partied the more I got depressed, to the point where I did not want to live anymore. After a series of events I found myself on disability leave from work and in a intensive therapy program for depression with borderline characteristics.
As I was in the program and I detoxed from all of the crap inside of my body, I realized how empty I truly was. I couldn’t figure out my life because I couldn’t figure out myself. I had always used people and school and partying to fill this a void and none of it was really the answer. I was left broke confused and alone every time. I don’t know if I was ever really depressed by the definition, but I have just always been unhappy with my circumstances and always looking for more. I just didn’t have the tools or role models to help my wandering mind to find my way out. Que yoga.
I decided with my time off that I would try to get some hobbies and try to start figuring out who I was, by myself, without any of these outside things I had always used to define me. I signed up for a workout app called ClassPass. The cool thing about ClassPass was that it lets you try out all types of different workouts, from barre and Pilates to boot camps and spin classes and of course yoga. I started out avoiding yoga because of my preconceived notions of it being boring and not worth my time. However, one day, I just decided to give it a try. I must admit my first class did not have me hooked, but I liked it enough to keep trying. Then the magic began to happen.
I was laying in class one day and decided to really give the mindfulness that was talked about a try. I decided to really attempt to shut off my mind and listen to my body. It took me a while to really start to adapt this skill because the mind is a tricky thing. Once it finally did begin to click though, it began to open my eyes inwardly to myself like nothing ever had. I began to enjoy listening to my body and pushing my body to open up and focus. As small of a thing as turning off the outside noise surrounding your mind may be, the results were like magic.
I finally began to really reflect on myself. When you cancel out everything around you, you are forced to only focus on what your body and mind really want and crave for happiness. It helped me to figure out that I could make myself happy and that there were things that I could do with my life that would make me happy. These things were only apparent to me when I turned off all the other noise and really listened.
I will have to say one drawback of this is that I stopped being in constant contact with my friends, which made some a bit worried. When I realized that I didn’t need all the things I thought I needed to be happy, it gave me a freedom to explore the world on my own and made me realize the beauty that surrounded me. This caused a disconnect from people sometimes but when I explained my discovery process it was understood.
Happiness is such a easy thing to have when it is cut down to simplicity. I mean I am still really broke and still figuring out my career and life. I can’t say that that many outside factors have truly improved yet from where I was when the outside factors were making me feel like I did not want to try anymore, like nothing I did would work and nothing would make me happy. There is a huge difference though, I’m happy, and I know no matter what path I take I will be ok because I have me. I believe in kindness, love and the beauty in all things and all people. My life is far from perfect but I’ve learned to love myself and therefore everything else. Yoga really freed my soul and as I continue my journey, it is something that I will never let go. It has taken me a long time to get here, but I have no regrets and I just hope that everyone gets the chance to feel exactly how I do right now. If you havn’t tried it, give yoga a try. I know the same things don’t work for everyone but you wont know unless you try. It just may bring you away from trivial things and into things that really matter.
Peace. Joy. Happiness. Love. Kindness