By Astrid Vause
I have been practicing yoga for a while now, in fact I am a yoga teacher, but it wasn’t until I got sick that I fell deeply in love with this beautiful practice and it’s healing powers.
It was a warm sunny and vibrant day in my new home in Los Angeles and my children were building towers with wooden blocks and laughing as they toppled over.
I sat on the floor with my knees tucked up to my chest and watched the crashing blocks, wincing as they hit the ground.
I felt like I too had come tumbling down, crashing into pieces onto the floor but I saw no way of being built back up again. I felt dead inside and felt no desire to do or be anything except not be here anymore.
I wore my depression like a thick black cloak that was weighted down with a thousand bricks.
Every movement had become slow and cumbersome. Every breath a tiring experience. Every morning I awoke with dread and anxiety of having to live another day.
The worst part was knowing that there was really nothing wrong with my life. I was living with Crohns disease but even that didn’t seem to warrant this dark plague that had poisoned my thoughts and life.
I knew full well the opportunities I had at my fingertips and the blessings that surrounded me everyday. Yet, there it was, depression, running its torturous ink through my veins.
I slowly gave up my daily yoga and meditation practice and it became sporadic and forced.
I loathed all the yoga in the media and felt it was so far removed from what I had learnt and treasured. I felt a deep disconnection with myself and my practice. It had become more about following the yoga trends than the deep spiritual connection to ALL that I use to feel.
I desperately wanted that feeling back and with some loving encouragement from some very close family members who knew what I was going through I began to search. I read The Bhagavad Gita, I studied the great yoga sages, I watched inspiring yoga movies and I finally started practicing again in the form of Ashtanga yoga.
I came across Sri K Pattabhi and his teachings of Ashtanga on the 212 bus from Beverly boulevard to Downtown Los Angeles.
A man named Colin helped me hustle my excited toddlers onto the bus and get them seated in a safe place away from some of the questionable characters you brush shoulders with on the L.A bus lines.
We got chatting and we found we had yoga in common. He started to tell me about his experience of practicing at The Love Dome down in Venice beach.
I don’t know if it was his thick British accent that kept me captivated or the passion in which he described his life changing experiences with Ashtanga yoga. Either way, I was very intrigued and couldn’t wait to get home and delve a little deeper into what Mr Pattabhi was about.
Mantra, pranayama and meditation had always been an important aspect of my sadhana and I was immediately drawn to the fact that Ashtanga incoporated all these into their primary series.
I began practicing every morning and the effects have been life changing.
Physically I have seen many of my Cronh’s disease symptoms ease out and my digestion seems to be working much more efficiently.
I feel lighter, stronger, more energized and my skin for the first time in a long time is clear. I feel better able to cope with life’s stresses and its demands appear to not be reading on my face as much.
But its my mind and spirit that has been affected the most.
That heavy fog I was trying to live life through has lifted. It’s still there but I’m able to see the light beyond it. I feel as those I have landed back into my body. For months I have felt floaty and separate from myself. I believe grounded is the best way to describe the feeling.
This dedication to this form of practice has enabled me to push the ego mind and its negative whispers of self hate, jealousy, insecurities and unworthiness off its little throne in my head. I have since crowned the observer in me as ruler of this precious temple my spirit calls home. Without sounding like a cliche yogi – I have become aware and felt once again what is true.
It has also occurred to me that yoga isn’t going to give me all the answers I need, nor is any teacher.
The power of yoga is that it brings you to your own answers.
It cleanses the body and mind so trickles of wisdom and truths can filter through and bring forth your own peace, your own way of loving and your own way of living this beautiful life.
Yoga helped me emerge from my darkness. I have watched my body begin to heal itself and my mind become free and at peace.
I now endeavor to continue my healing journey but more importantly, continue my studies of Yoga and help nurture others on their wellness path.
Namaste my friends and thank you The Yoga Lunchbox for letting me share my story with you xxx
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