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How Anxiety Lead Me To Yoga and How Yoga Helped Me Heal Anxiety

Feb 28, 2022

The story of how I found yoga.

One night I was studying at the library at the college I was attending. I remember my roommate, once she found me, telling me to come outside because she had to talk to me.

We went outside, and I could see the distress on her face as she struggled to tell me, what would be one of the first big moments of impact on my life.....that my dad was in the hospital in a coma, and I had to get there as soon as I could. 

I remember that moment like it was yesterday. It felt like time had stopped. It felt all the life energy drained right out of me – life felt black and white – lifeless for the first time ever for me.

My roommate, who I’ve known since first grade, drove me to the hospital. It was a long 2 1/2 hour, mostly silent ride, as I contemplated what I would see when I got to the hospital.

I walked into the hospital where one of my sisters was waiting for me. I asked her how he was doing. She said, not good.

So we solemnly made our way up to the floor where my dad was.

That night and next day was the longest 24 hours of my life.

My family and I pacing around, popping in and out of my dad’s room, trying to find out answers from the doctor.

And then it came time for me to say good-bye. My mom walked with me into the room, and I kissed my dad on the cheek for the very last time, and said good-bye.

My brother, and his wife at the time, stayed with my dad until he took his last breath. I know that was so hard for them, but I am so grateful that they did, because at the time, I couldn't.

I was numb…..kinda zombie-like.

That moment of impact was an event that changed my life forever. I was never the same person after that.

Then 7 years and 2 big life events later, (graduating college & getting married – the two things my dad always told me he couldn’t wait to be a part of), I experienced my next big moment of impact – my first life-altering panic attack. It hit me like a raging tsunami.

And right after that, I developed agoraphobia. So every time I left my house I had an anxiety attack.

Life, once again, was never the same. I never experienced anything like this before. I couldn't even recognize myself because I was always so calm and had this easy-going attitude. I didn't feel like myself for a really, long, time.

That first panic attack happened to me in the spring of 1994 and is what catapulted me onto a very long healing journey.

And near the beginning of that healing journey is when I discovered yoga.

I remember walking into my first-ever yoga class. Now remember, I was in the storm of anxiety at this point so I would get anxious anytime I left my house and especially when experiencing something new.

But something unexpected happened during that practice. I was so focused on the moves and the cues from the teacher that I was more present and in the moment than I had been since that first panic attack...and maybe more than I had ever been before! 

Yoga brought me out of my mind and back into my body.

And it suddenly hit me as I was lying in savasana......there was no anxiety present. And I felt calm and relaxed for the first time in almost a year.

Well, if you are reading this and you know me, you know I never stopped practicing. And 15 years after being a yoga practitioner, I became a certified yoga teacher so that I could share the gifts of yoga that I have experienced throughout my journey. Yoga has been there through many other challenges in my life, and it will be here for the many more to come.

And now I’m here, on the other side of anxiety. On a side that is filled with more peace and freedom than I have ever experienced in my life.

Anxiety has been a huge gift and blessing in my life – something I thought I could never say – especially when I was in the deep dark trenches of its grip, way deep down in the dark layers of the mud. But now that’s how I feel.

Yes that healing journey was hard. Yes those moments of impact have changed me. But I never thought the journey would change me in the way it has. And I now know what many spiritual teachers mean when they say 'pain is inevitable, suffering is optional'.

I also have a huge amount of gratitude for my dad for leading me onto the path of awakening.

And now, even more than ever, it's the fuel behind why I do what I do. And it's my passion and continued mission to share the gifts of yoga.

To your continued healing and ever-evolving journey to your True Self,

- gina 💜

"Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego."

-- Eckhart Tolle

 

 

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