From a very early age, I was uncomfortable in my own skin. As I grew older, I discovered ways to relieve this feeling — drinking, boys, not eating, exercise, drinking, more boys, more drinking, ad infinitum. However, the relief was temporary and eventually I found myself spiraling downward and overwhelmed with a sense of impending doom. It was shortly after this that I walked into my first Bikram yoga class. I remember that day vividly. It was HOT. I did not like looking at myself in the mirror, nor did I fully understand what the teacher was asking me to do. Yet, I listened, I moved, and I sweat. I had no idea what was happening; I simply knew I liked how I felt.
I was in my middle 30s when the insanity that I was feeling won out, and I attempted suicide. After that, when I returned to my mat and began practicing yoga regularly, something began to change. I began to surrender to the teacher’s instruction. I began to surrender to the postures. Little by little, the pent-up emotions began to leave my body. While lying in savasana, after having done camel pose, I began to weep, and the healing began to happen. I am not sure how many classes I had to attend before this happened, I just know that when it did, I began to change from the inside out. The self acceptance and self love were slow to come, but they came.
I can honestly say that yoga not only changed my life, it gave me life. The self-realization that yoga continues to give me is all the motivation I need to get on my mat every day. I am living proof that yoga makes you, you.