How Yoga changed my life
When I look back years ago…
I was unhappy, stressed, trying to prove my worth every day without believing in me, and looking desperately for something to make me happy.
Life as a mum, wife and my job pushed me to the peak of my stressful days. I always tried to make everything perfect and to work perfectly without any connection to my internal world. I was always running around yet I never had time (or at least that’s what my mind was telling me). No time for nutritious food, for sport and for me.
I was experiencing problems in my marriage and I was constantly worrying about everything from my life to my son, to my work… I was seeking out a profession which would make me feel fulfilled. I started countless projects while desperately hoping that I would find my passion – but most of the ideas I had in my head were tossed out before I could bring them to paper because I didn’t believe in them and, even less, in me. I was chasing one thing after another, never satisfied with what I had in front of me.
I was totally stuck in my mind which was either in the future or the past – never here and now.
The stress in my body and mind grew every day and the more stressed I became, the worse the problems became with my husband, my son and my work.
I hated it getting up in the morning, hated my body and myself – I couldn’t look in the mirror anymore as my outside mirrored my inside: I developed skin problems like acne and I started losing a lot of hair. I felt miserable, ugly and useless every single day. I was tired and fatigue, my body was aching and tense, my mind restless. I always wanted to be somewhere else and to be someone else.
All of this caused me to fall ill. One day I got the diagnoses for Hashimoto Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. My antibodies would attack my Thyroid! (Was this surprise? As I was attacking myself every day!) Symptoms of Hashimoto Thyroiditis include fatigue and exhaustion, depression, skin problems, and hair loss. Also my hormone balance was out of control.
And this was only the tip of the iceberg. I thought that was it, now I had ruined my health and my life. I started running from doctor to doctor spending a fortune there without feeling any better.
I was lucky that I caught it early enough and my thyroid hadn’t yet deteriorated – but the tests all showed thyroid malfunction. I decided do not take any artificial hormones as I wanted to explore other means of improving my health. I changed my diet and took up sport again.
Simply by chance, I participated in my first YOGA classes and I was very sceptical because I thought it would be too boring for me and I needed something more challenging. However, by my second class, I felt comfortable on my mat and within a short periode of time noticed that I was suddenly somehow calmer, more relaxed and my body felt better in general. So I continued doing Yoga classes. At first , I would attend a class once a week, then twice, then three times a week. Then I began practicing also at home alone additionally.
Already after few weeks I started feeling much better in my body and my tightness and tensions were gone.
I knew that participating in any sport would make me feel better and I have always done some kind of sport (mostly running).
I have always known that if I do sport, my body will feel better due to the endorphins which are released through physical activity, so I was not surprised that I felt fitter and that my depression began to improve.
But I knew that this time it was much more than that.
I was amazed by the changes I began to see. Suddenly I was not so tired anymore, not fatigued and I could easily go up in the morning. I was not that stressed anymore and I could be (even it was only for a moment) more in the present without thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Also, with time, my skin and hair gradually improved.
I did not know at the time that Yoga helps to immensely improve the function of the endocrine glands, it stimulates the release of hormones on the thyroid and parathyroid glands and it helps you to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous system to come back from the permanent stressed state.
A total transformation happened and I started feeling happier, I began to appreciate my life and I was grateful for my family. I opened up in body and mind. I felt so much energy and obstacles that seemed so difficult before suddenly became easier. Aside from enjoying being on the mat, I loved spending time with my husband and son without constantly worrying that I am not enough.
Yoga my teacher of patience and self-love
Yoga became my thing. I was feeling on the right place and at home on my mat and I became passionate about it.
But Yoga is no fast medicine – Yoga is a journey and it takes time to unfold one’s full potential.
That is what I didn’t get in my Yoga beginnings…
Patience was never my strength. “I have no time for that! I want it NOW!” was one of my commune phrases.
And I carried this mind-set into my yoga classes.
My body was responding quite quickly to most of the Yoga poses and it opened up very fast. Especially backbends and arm balances were quite easy for me and became my favourite postures.
But as is the case with everybody, of course also mine has strength and weaknesses. And, while I was enjoying wheel and crow pose I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able reach my toes in forward folds. I didn’t even think of adapting the posture and to bend my knees – I thought my body had to look like every Asana in the book. I thought the goal was (no matter what the price was) to make every single pose a replica of the ‘book pose’ to make the body work. It has to work and it has to happen now! My ego was just too big!
So, I forced myself into forward folds without listening to my body. I didn’t know better at that time and, even if my Hamstrings where screaming at me, there was no compassion. Instead of sending them the love they were screaming for I was yelling inside me “shut up!” and forcing myself even more!
Now I know better and I have learned that this has nothing to do with Yoga but what I did was much more a way of self-torturing and self-destroying.
Once I had started my Yoga practice, I felt so much better in so many ways. However, one thing I still needed to learn was compassion towards myself …and patience.
Since I was a child there was no self-love, no compassion towards myself and no confidence of being enough the way I am. I never appreciated my body and the unique being that I am – that we all are. The feeling of never being enough made me always push and force myself to perform perfectly in every area, no matter the price, without listening to my body and my needs.
And as caring, loving, compassionate and giving I was to others, to myself I was pitiless, harsh and cruel.
I carried this behavior with me through my whole life and also to my Yoga beginnings.
If I was struggling with any Asana and it wasn’t looking perfect, like in the book, I wouldn’t want to work patiently towards it as my yoga teacher told me to. I would rather force myself into it as I forced myself into every life situation. No trace of compassion and patience!
I sacrificed my health with that attitude and it led to numerous to injuries.
When the pain of my hamstrings became intolerable, I couldn’t help but pause with my practice for a while which was a nightmare for me as I was still trying to be the best and to getting the best out of me (in a false way). I was completely frustrated!
…But this involuntary pause was my rescue! I couldn’t believe that I could not reach the floor in Uttanasana and that my belly was not touching my thighs even not when I was pushing sooo hard!
I began to do some research about it…
I read a lot of books, studies and watched online tutorials. I learned about the Anatomy, how muscles are built and work and I read about Yoga, Patanjali, about gratitude, compassion and self-love. During my studies I discovered that what I have done was the opposite of doing Yoga! And I discovered so many different ways how one can adapt a posture according to his or her body and that using props can be super helpful and that Yoga is a process, a journey which has nothing to do with achieving a certain look in a posture but much more to enjoy the journey.
After the recovery time, many books, online researching and with help of very good Yoga teachers (on- and offline) my practice has totally changed.
I realized that my body is not perfect just like every other body. But that the way my body is, is absolutely perfect in its imperfection. I found out that it’s ok not to be able to do a posture perfectly. I began to listen to my body, to discover its boundaries and to work WITH my body and not against it. I started using props (which my ego wouldn’t have previously allowed) and did the postures the way it felt good and not the way my mind told me it would look good.
With time I slowly learned that Yoga is a journey where you can enjoy every step and the goal is to be there at every step of the journey fully without wanting to be somewhere else.
And finally I began to appreciate and to love my body and I learned to be grateful about the uniqueness of the wonderful being that I am (without doing anything perfectly) – in short: I started doing YOGA!!!!!
…and even if I had started yoga focusing only on the physical part of it, I discovered that yoga is much more than a great exercise. It offers various techniques and tools to go beyond the body to unit body and mind and to discover who we really are underneath this physical and material form.
At that time, I realized that I had found my passion and that there is nothing that I would love to do more than YOGA and to share this with other people.
I decided to make my passion to a profession and have pursued this dream ever since. Every day I am grateful for being a Yoga teacher!!!
And as a Yoga teacher I want to show as many people as possible how Yoga can change their lives, what huge impact it can have to your body and mind, how it can make them feel better and I want to protect every single student from the same painful mistakes that I made.
I wish that as many people as possible discover through YOGA the connection to their body and to themselves and the natural, native self-love (that through society and life stories often gets lost) so that they can learn to love their body and themselves in their perfect beautiful uniqueness. And they can experience the magic of Yoga!
I had to learn a painful lesson – but YOU don’t have to. You can learn through my mistakes and I will help you to enjoy every step of your unique Yoga journey!
Founder of BeU.Yoga