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From victim to victor (how yoga has helped soften my anger and look my pain the eye)

Over the years I’ve come to understand that the emotions I cultivate in my yoga practice transfer off the mat. Yoga allows me to feel my feelings and also helps me to feel my pain. It makes me so hyper aware of myself and it’s a place where I can’t run and hide either and so I'm faced with these feelings head on. Sometimes literally head on.


During a yoga practice when you’re that tuned in, you notice every little part both physically and emotionally. Using yoga as a healing modality has helped me manage really f’ing hard feelings. As I’ve gotten increasingly healthier, I’ve simultaneously noticed an angry part of myself that has arisen. Anger towards my body for getting sick and even greater anger towards the parts of my life that I feel were taken from me or that have changed forever.


Rather than withdrawing and pushing away the anger, I’ve chosen to look my anger and pain right in the eye on my mat. My practice gives me time to process these overwhelming feeling which sometimes looks like tears and over time looks more like acceptance. Insert, a big deep sigh out through the mouth here.


I can’t take a lupus diagnosis away but I can continue to release my anger and have even found kindness and compassion waiting for me on the other side. It's from that place of loving kindness that I step off of my mat and into my day with. It's that compassionate energy that I bring with me to every yoga class in order to meet each of my students where they are and to also help them look their anger or pain in the eye.


Rather than a victim who is helpless to my situation, I feel like a victor. Someone who faces the challenges of having a chronic illness and then uses it for good. I may even be a better version of myself and amazingly a lot of that has been done on my yoga mat.


New York State of mind practicing supported bridge pose which is my absolute favorite restorative pose using a yoga bolster.


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