001 - Self Love through Yoga

I hated gym class as much as I hated maths. I get shin splints from running, asthma from cardio,
and turn bright red when I sweat. As an adult, going to the gym fills me with anxiety. I feel like everyone
is staring at me, just waiting for me to keel over and need an ambulance. I never thought I would look
forward to exercise. But, as I approached age 30, things started to change.

Yoga started to be trendy in the midwest of America when I was in 9th grade.

Remember the days of workout tapes, to do in your living room? The kind you had to rewind? I had a
yoga tape. It was led by a man, and I don’t remember him speaking. Still, I dutifully went along with the
tape a few times per week during summer break. It didn’t do much. I was easily distracted and without
any feedback, it was hard to know if I was doing it right.

I didn’t really give yoga another thought until I started therapy.

I’m extremely lucky to have access to a taxpayer-subsidized women’s crisis center for therapy. I’m also
extremely lucky that it’s free. And that my therapist is also a certified yoga instructor. For years after
being raped, I lived almost completely disconnected from my body. I didn’t care what happened to it,
how it was treated by myself or others. It didn’t matter to me, as I didn’t feel like I was really there. I
was completely disassociated for years. Once I was out of the dangerous situation, I started having
nightmares that my ex would break into my apartment. Rather than continue ignoring it, I finally
reached my hand up for help.
happiest yoga room ever
The happiest yoga room ever.

After a few months, I was invited to join the yoga group to help me reconnect to

my body.

I was extremely skeptical. I couldn’t think of anything more embarrassing, than working out with my
therapist and a few strangers. After a few weeks of being too scared, I finally went to a class. It was
hard. I got sweaty. I couldn’t do all the poses. My baggy t-shirt flopped all over and kept exposing my
belly. But, Anna, my therapist/instructor, said the magic words during the class. “Remember that the
discomfort is temporary.” That statement was like a lightbulb for me. The burning in my thighs as we
hold chair position? Only temporary. The pain in my hips from lying flat on the group? Only temporary.
The anxiety of people seeing me getting sweaty? Only temporary. Even anxiety about other things
seemed less menacing if I remembered that it was only temporary.

Yoga at home

The only downside of attending classes at my therapist's office is that they're only offered once a
week. Luckily, I found Dana Falsetti on Instagram, and on her own Website. She has tons of classes
you can do, and she has an amazing pay what you can subscription fee.  I also just really recommend
following her on Instagram, if only to see her excellent stories.

Yoga practice makes it much easier to listen to what my body is telling me.

Paying attention to my breathing is one of my favorite ways to deal with anxiety and stress. Focusing
on the moment when an inhale becomes an exhale forces me out of my head and into the present.
A quick mountain pose makes me feel confident and strong at work. My sore muscles the morning
after a class remind me that I overcame my fears. Most of all, it makes me feel like a full, balanced


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