Five years ago, when my marriage was falling apart and I felt genuinely suicidal, I met an emergency room physician in a bar (where I had gone to drown my sorrows), and he asked me to come to a yoga class with him the next day.
I dragged myself out of bed the next day and met him at a local studio for an hour and a half Level I/II class with a former ballerina turned yoga instructor who had actually gone to India to study with Iyengar. Judith Lyons' style of teaching was compassionate but demanding. She warmed us up with some poses I knew from tapes, then asked us to partner up to help each other with some warrior poses. In a former life, I had been a dancer. She liked something about the way I tried with my partner to choreograph a little dance or vinyasa out of the warrior poses and asked me to demonstrate a down dog sequence for everyone else. I was flabbergasted, but did my best.
After class, Judith asked me how long I had been practicing. The answer was 10 years, with tapes, although in my depression, my practice had fallen off. She asked if I would be interested in learning to teach. Again, I was amazed yet, within weeks, found myself in a teacher training program where, by steadily practicing breathing, meditation, and yoga poses in order to teach them to others, I began to feel calmer and more centered. By stepping outside myself and my problems through steady practice and through growing responsibilities as a junior teacher, I found myself able to gradually shed my depression. I felt brand new and strong.
Today, I have found my peace, my place, living in the country and teaching yoga primarily to seniors and teen agers. Hatha yoga, particularly its emphasis on quieting the mind through breath work and meditation, and teaching--being of service to others--has literally saved my life. At age 57, I feel and look much younger than my age. I am in the best mental, emotional, and physical condition I have ever been.
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