Fifteen years ago, when I was just 21 years old, I fell in love with a man with an anti-social personality disorder. Of course, I didn't know it at the time. Love is blind and I was severely blinded. We married a year later and had two little boys shortly thereafter. My children have been my pride and joy since the day they were born. I would not be complete without them and I would travel the same tumultuous road 1000 times over just to have them again. But yes for many years, chaos persisted in my life.
The deception, the manipulation, the cheating and the mind games were all a way to create confusion to agitate and disorient me, along with just enough tenderness to keep me hooked. Every time my instincts told me to get out, my husband would somehow convince me that I had it all wrong. According to him, I was the one with the problem. I was in a constant battle between my intuition, what my heart wanted to believe and his persuasive powers. At times, I thought I was losing my mind. I would cry, scream and swear in self-preservation. It was the fight or flight response. I was fighting, but the fight was mentally exhausting and taking its toll. I suffered insomnia, weight loss and unimaginable anxiety.
I am a mother and I am a dancer. My children and my art (and my extensive network of family and friends) have always been there to bring me love, beauty and kindness, but I needed something more. I needed the strength and self-control to break free from a person and a situation that was destroying me inside.
For several years, I have practiced a bit of yoga to complement my dancing, but never with the proper training and discipline necessary to truly reap the benefits. Last fall, a friend of mine (a new Bikram convert), suggested I give Bikram yoga a try, so I did. That first class was intense and grueling, but absolutely marvelous! I signed up immediately.
I have always been physically active, but Bikram Yoga was something new and demanding and I loved it! During class, I couldn't dwell on the challenges in my life, I could only focus on my postures and my breathing. As the sweat poured from my body, I felt all the anger, pain and frustration being flushed out with it. The compassion and consistent guidance of the instructors motivated me to persevere. The discipline that the movements required taught me to redirect my energy in a positive way. Yoga brought me a new physical and mental awareness. It brought me peace. I would feel wonderfully exhausted after class. I would sleep better and eat better. Yoga was reducing my stress and regulating my metabolism. When I faced difficult situations, I was better equipped to handle them. After two months of Bikram Yoga, I filed for divorce. Yoga gave me the fortitude to break free.
Of course serving my husband with divorce papers made him angry. He didn't want to lose control. He lashed out indignantly, in an obvious attempt to break me down, likely expecting that I would just go crawling back to him. But instead, I went to yoga class. Yoga offered me the stability and clarity of mind I needed so critically. The harder I worked my body, the stronger my body AND my mind become. I began to feel like a superhero and my superpower was yoga. :)
The divorce is not finalized yet, but it will be soon enough. I will get through this because I have been blessed with many allies; incredible children, amazing friends and family and of course, the yoga cure. :) I am a better mother and a better person thanks to the gifts that yoga had given me.
I continue to practice yoga and I continue to pour my heart and soul into every class, forever striving to improve my postures and grow as a human being. I have found the light and one day, I hope to instruct yoga so that I may be the light for others too.