All superheroes have an origin story.
Ok, so I’m not a superhero, but when I hold a headstand or crow pose, knowing where I started, I sure feel like one.
Ironically, practicing yoga used to make me physically ill. I wanted to practice yoga, but every time I tried I ended up with a migraine and terrible nausea. So I gave up trying.
Then, I had one of the worst days of my life. I was driving south on the highway as a school bus, coming north, turned left right in front of me. I collided head-on with a school bus at highway speed. Thankfully, everyone in the bus was fine and no one but me was in my car. The jaws of life had to remove me from my SUV. I was lucky to be alive. I required surgery on my dominant arm/elbow, and I suffered a significant concussion. I was so sick for days and then struggled with vertigo for four months.
As I worked on PT to regain strength and range of motion in my arm with over a pound of metal now added, I finally was able to also get treatment for my vertigo. I never knew that we have crystals in our ears and that often with hard impacts, like car accidents, those crystals can be dislodged. Vertigo.
The treatment relieved the vertigo, and I continued PT. Eventually I was released from further physical therapy, but, no surprise, did not feel like I was back to normal. I did not have full range of motion in my arm, did not have my strength back, and my anxiety/PTSD was really impacting my life and family. I was on the hunt for something to help.
I began flirting with yoga, doing some with my kids, and I was fine. I wasn’t sick after. I thought it was probably just because it was easy, kid yoga.
I starting flirting more with yoga, longer sessions of yoga, and I was still fine.
I began practicing yoga at least once a week with YouTube, and I was becoming more than just fine. I was feeling so much better as I got off my mat. I felt stronger and clearer.
I started practicing yoga more often and finally (meaning many, many months later) ventured into a studio. I joined a community of yogis. My body and mind continued to change, continued to improve. My arm got stronger. My mind got stronger.
Looking back, I now think that my yoga-related illness when I was younger was probably related to vertigo that was initially made worse with the accident and then remedied with treatment.
That terrible day of my life resulted in me being able to find yoga. Talk about a silver lining.
When I first started flirting with yoga, my injured arm shook uncontrollably even in tabletop. I couldn’t hold downdog for a full breath. I wasn’t sure I would ever get better at yoga, but I felt so much better emotionally and mentally from the practice that I continued to meet myself on the mat.
Now I am teaching yoga and practicing daily (with a few exceptions because I am still human).
My arm will never be straight, but it is strong.
My mind will never be fully free, but it is clearer.
My journey continues.