Many of us on this side of the planet start practicing yoga as a way to exercise. I started my yoga journey right before I got pregnant with my youngest daughter, at the end of 2001. Although my body never was extremely flexible I like to think that my mind was.
My first encounter with yoga: Ashtanga. One of the most austere forms of yoga; I practice Ashtanga for years, even when I was pregnant (of course with a lot of caution). I fell in love with the practice and soon yoga was not a way to exercise, instead, a way to see the world. Not a way workout but a way work-within.
I practiced different types of yoga intermittently after my daughter was born (vinyasa, hatha, kundalini, and yoga nidra). I started fantasizing about the idea of becoming a yoga teacher. Although life had different plans for me and I ended up founding The Embracing Project, a non-profit organization in 2007 to help children victims of sexual exploitation.
My love for yoga and meditation grew deeply as well as my journey into my daily practice, self-care, and self-love. I attended several yoga retreats and I organized a few as well. My practice keeps me sane, balance, and allows me to find peace of mind. Especially when I need to deal with the horrors that I see and hear every day.
In 2016 I finally decided to become a yoga teacher, I was 47 years old. Perhaps too old, too busy, too late, … our mind is always a master manipulator. I decided not to listen to my ego and move forward with my desire of becoming a yoga teacher. Full of excitement I started preparing my trip to India. I found an Ashram outside of Mysore that was perfect for me. I was leaving in October 2016! I couldn’t believe it… by the beginning of December 2016 I will return to Las Vegas being a yoga teacher. Yes!
On Friday, September 9th2016, life decided to give me another chance. From the corner of my eye, I saw a car coming from my right. “Impossible!” I remember thinking. “I am in the highway. Cars travel all in the same direction.” Before my brain could make sense of what my eyes were seeing I felt a strong impact and a deafening noise. Everything in that moment slowed down as if I was watching a slow-motion film. Traveling on the highway at 65 mph and receiving an impact from the side could be…supposed to be fatal. I remember holding on to the steering wheel as strong as I could asking God not to let me go. After what seemed to me, be long minutes (only seconds in reality) my car hit the wall that divides the highway South-North. I don’t remember for how long I stayed still holding onto my steering wheel before I saw the smoke and exited my car, but I remember falling on the hot asphalt of Las Vegas wanting my body to stop feeling. Several people stopped and came to help me, waited with me until the ambulance took me to the hospital.
God heard me, I was alive and in one piece. I could have died in that car accident, but I did not. The aftermath of the event: a few burns in my hand, arm, and shoulder, neck whiplash, and the worst part adhesive capsulitis,also known as a frozen shoulder. After all, I was alive, I could walk, I was ok!
I started physical therapy immediately. I was only a month away from my India trip to become a yoga teacher. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to the ashram and do my yoga teacher training. I ended up going to India anyway and stayed in a Buddhist monastery doing volunteer work and teaching English to young monks. I came back in December to Las Vegas happy, spiritually fulfilled, but still in a lot of pain. Nothing was working, physical therapy, massages, heat, cold, nothing. I couldn’t move my left arm past my chest, I couldn’t clasp my bra, and the worst part…couldn’t fully practice yoga. I was attending sessions but my pain was too strong.
I was determined to heal. I started researching different types of yoga that I could practice with a frozen shoulder and I came across yoga therapy. I watched some videos because nobody in Las Vegas was practicing and offering yoga therapy sessions. I started practicing at home although I needed someone to guide me and help me to be able to obtain the full benefits.
By the end of January 2018, I embarked on a new journey to India. I found a school in Kerala that was offering yoga therapy teacher trainings. After a month and some change of a challenging self-discovery journey. I did it! I came back home March 2nd, 2018 as a yoga therapy teacher/practitioner. I came back home healed. My shoulder is healthy; my mind is in peace; my soul is happy. Yoga therapy changed my life. I am a yoga teacher. I am a yoga therapist.