My Ongoing Practice
Center my thoughts, removing doubt and anxiety.
Eliminate my fears for our present day reality.
Grant me a heart of peace, optimism, compassion, and empathy.
Help me to let go and to just be.
– Shani Adia Yoga
My yoga journey started nearly 15 years ago. I was looking for alternative ways to deal with the fast-paced DC lifestyle of back-to back meetings, daily commuting on multiple forms of public transportation, attending networking events, and more. I overextended myself personally with happy hours, sorority business and long work hours. I was the one who arrived early, stayed late, occasionally worked weekends. Establishing my sea-legs as a recent graduate and transplant, I was drowning. While I knew that I felt stressed, like every other 20 something year old in DC, I hadn’t prioritized my health beyond acknowledgement. Because it was normal. There were no ‘self-care Sundays” or mental health days.
Then it happened, my first panic attack.
In relatively good health, I had never experienced a condition. But they continued to occur as the months progressed, stress maintained its presence.
I did some research on my symptoms and sought medical health, which led me to yoga. Yoga saved my life! I started practicing yoga regularly and the attacks lessened. Ultimately. They stopped. And then I stopped, regularly practicing. Because, life happens.
I became an avid runner. While training for a half-marathon for my 30th birthday, I developed a heart murmur. Doctor’s warned that I may need medication long term, if diagnosis persists. So, I went back to the breadth. I incorporated breathing exercises from yoga into my training. And when I returned to the doctor for a follow up a few months later, my heart murmur was gone.
And then life happened again, a couple years later I got married. Two months after my wedding day, my dad, my first love, suffered cardiac arrests and months later, died. I was overcome with grief. Counseling, prayer, church, NOTHING worked. Until, I returned to yoga.
I know first-hand how effective and life-changing a consistent yoga practice can be.
Photo courtesy of Ceremony Photography.