I have been practicing yoga for most of my adult life. My yoga practice helped me through the stresses of going to school full time while working two jobs. Yoga relaxed my achy body and keep my mind focused, when I had the genius idea of training for and completing an Ironman Triathlon. My practice was there for me during the challenges of creating and starting up a brand-new business. Since I began practicing yoga 13 years ago, I have known that yoga has amazing tools to help me de-stress, to relax, and to focus my mind. This is why I teach yoga with such joy and passion. I did not however, truly understand the depths of the power of yoga, until life handed me my biggest challenge yet.

When Fear and Doubt Kick In…

I always thought that when it was time to start a family, getting pregnant would be simple. Women get pregnant every day, right? When it did not happen right away, I started to get a little nervous. After 6 months, the fear and doubt were starting to kick in. After 1 year and still no pregnancy, I was experiencing depression for the first time in my life. When I went to see a reproductive endocrinologist, she told me that my hormone levels were off, and that I was unlikely to get pregnant naturally. This was point where I officially hit rock bottom. This was a place I had never been before.

As I sat there in the darkness, I knew that something needed to change. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I had not been relying on my yoga practice as much as I had with other challenges in my life. I knew it was time to take a good hard look at myself, which was very painful to do, and use the tools that yoga has given me to bring me back into a state of wellness.

Creating Positive Change…

The practice of yoga does not pretend to be simple, quick, or easy. I can tell you from personal experience that this past year has been very demanding, yet at the same time extremely rewarding. Yoga is so much more than just the physical asana. This practice is about making more conscious choices in all areas of your life. I made better choices in my diet. I did more moderate exercises and yoga postures that supported the needs of my body. I spent time with people who supported me, and I learned that talking about this subject (which isn’t talked about much and can be very isolating) was very healing for me. I am learning to lessen my work load, so that I can find the perfect balance for my physical and mental wellness. As a result of these positive changes, I feel more confident, calmer, and my hormone levels returned to normal.

The Issues Are In The Tissues…

I wish I could say that every day is sunshine and roses, but some days are still hard. I have learned to let myself feel the emotions that I need to feel, and then use my yoga practice to help move those emotions through me. When we are going through a trying time in life, we may experience grief, fear, rage, depression, etc. These are all natural to feel, but we do not want these emotions to get stuck in our system, and we don’t want them dictating how we live our lives. The physical practice of yoga can help to remove any stuck emotions within the body. They say that “the issues are in our tissues,” so the yoga asana can help clear away the “issues” that we are holding on to. Your breath is a powerful tool that can help slow down your heart rate, calm your nervous system, and focus an agitated mind. Meditation can help you move your mind away from the stress or fear you may be feeling, and toward something that is uplifting or peaceful to you. I used breathwork and meditation every time I went to visit with my doctor, and it was very beneficial.

Faith, Energy, Memory, Meditation and Discernment…

The Yoga Sutra is the book that outlines the practices of yoga. Out of 195 sutras, only 3 mention asana, or the physical practice. This practice is truly about how to focus the mind. The mind is the reason why we suffer, and the mind is also the solution to our suffering. My favorite sutra is 1.20 which discusses the five personal commitments one needs to follow in their practice. These commitments are faith, energy, memory, meditation, and discernment. The Sanskrit word for faith is Sraddha. This is a word that I focus on a lot. I have faith that if I continue with my practice, and I put forth the necessary energy, that I will one day be pregnant. Whenever I am having a tough day, I will chant this word to help lift my confidence. I also take time to reflect and remember why I am doing these practices. Even though I am not pregnant yet, I can look back and see how far I have come on my journey. It is important to celebrate all your successes.

Yoga is not a quick fix. This practice takes work and dedication. My practice has helped bring me closer towards a state of optimal health, and this is something that I am grateful for every single day. If you are going through a challenging time in your life, I encourage you to lean on your yoga practice for inspiration and guidance. I promise that your body and mind will thank you.