Saved by Yoga, Again

I have been reminded all afternoon of the phrase, “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.” After reading an article about unprocessed grief, some issues surfaced—issues around my own unprocessed grief. Issues that essentially triggered my addiction many years ago. I experienced emotions that my poor mind was unprepared for, and had no idea how to deal with.

Pre-recovery, my emotions would have sent me to the shop for wine and cigarettes—but this time I didn’t even think about it—I just felt the crappy, painful emotions. Every single chest tightening moment. I know that processing these emotions is going to be not just painful, but truly life-affirming. And that is OK—I’m ready for it.

I have writing to help me get my thoughts and emotions out. I have people around me who will love and support me through it. And I have yoga.

I know that yoga is going to be my salvation. As I was driving to teach my Monday night class, I was sobbing. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it—who wants a yoga teacher on the verge of tears?

Before we started I warned the class that I was going through some emotions. I asked my students not to worry if I started crying. They were so beautifully supportive. Someone suggested a group hug if I got upset, and that made me feel better. Even so, I assumed I wouldn’t make it through the class without tears.

But I was forgetting the healing power of yoga. What I needed most at that moment was to relax and let go, something I hadn’t allowed myself to do all day.

As I taught, I relaxed. I stretched, I breathed. I relaxed, I released.

And although at the end of the session I started to feel the emotions, I was relaxed and at peace. The pain has lessened.  I have no doubt that it will return—but I know I have yoga and I can soothe and comfort myself.

Yoga was my path to recovery. It will be my path through wherever these emotions are going to take me.

Esther is from Wales in the UK. She beat 20 years of alcoholism and drug abuse at the age of 40 when she trained to be a yoga teacher. She has been sober since Oct 12, 2014, and has written a book about her adventures (Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga). She is now on a mission to help one million women across the world improve their own lives – and the lives of those around them. Esther believes that through the transformational power of breath, we can create space, peace, energy and joy in our lives.

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