In the last blog, I wrote about the transformative power of yoga and about building a connection with the divinity within. There are many stories in my book Yoga Therapy – As a Whole-Person Approach to Health, confirming that when we practice over time, we enter an inner transformation process. Such a process may manifest in different ways for different people however it always contributes to inner well-being and compassion for others. For many, it also provides the tools for finding the right decision when needed.
The following is one of many stories speaking to healing, inner transformation and using the tools of yoga in a creative way. The participant of the Chronic Solutions retreat in India wrote about her experiences and I quote it verbatim with the author’s permission.
“It was Sep 2015 and I was just 35. I had a high paying corporate job, a beautiful 6-year old son and a super supportive husband. The only issue was I had extreme pain in my heels, which made it very uncomfortable for me to stand and walk. I went to a few doctors and they recommended vitamins, a few gave steroid shots…Nothing helped… I was required to travel as a part of my job and this agonizing heel pain made it very difficult, but my ambition didn’t allow me to slow down.
My husband saw this program… Chronic Solution …A yogic residential retreat for 21 days. I was not sure if a retreat would answer my pain so I resisted but the husband decided to enroll me.
I had never stayed alone in my life. This was going to be a huge change. I was unsure if the program could actually cure me. I remember reaching the place and Lee welcomed me and I still remember her smilingly telling me ‘I am glad you could make it.’ I felt welcomed.
The program consisted of shuddhi kriyas, asanas, pranayama, healthy juice followed by naturopathic treatments, meditation, lectures on human anatomy and lifestyle changes, yoga Nidra, chanting and tratak. The schedule is still fresh in my mind as it changed my life for good.
During one of the yoga Nidra sessions, I realized I had never known to love myself. There was so much buried under the carpet emotionally that was manifesting as ill-health. I realized I had severe anger issues and was depressed. Slowly, during forgiveness meditations, I learned to become aware of my emotions. Lee encouraged us to write a journal. I would cry every time I was writing a page, it worked as mind cleanser. Anytime there was a question, a doubt, any hurdle that wouldn’t let me move forward, Lee and her team extended help. I remember by the end of the second week, I was smiling and found peace.
Initially, I always questioned if the program needed 3 weeks? By the end of 3 weeks, all my group mates felt that 3 weeks were needed to bring a shift in our attitudes, our perceptions and belief systems.
By the end of the program, my plantar fasciitis (heel pain) has reduced significantly. My husband and my family felt that I was a happier person.
I continued with the recommended practices. After a month, I had a horrible experience at work, where my boss and my best friend at work betrayed me. I was shattered and I came to the conclusion that to survive in this world, one needs to be not trusting and kind. It is never reciprocated. I was in emotional turmoil and I couldn’t find my ground and stability. I turned to my comfort zone, which was yoga Nidra.
After one yoga Nidra session, I came out very happy from my room and I remember telling my husband, “I don’t need to alter myself because of people miserable behavior”. That was the turning point in my life. I quit my job, which would have been impossible considering my ambitious nature and the high level I had reached. I decided to take a pause in my life and decide where is it that I would find peace and balance. I turned to yoga and enrolled in a yoga teacher training course so that I could learn in-depth the science and philosophy.
Today, I am in a different country, where life seems overwhelming as everything is new and different but I still continue with Yoga Nidra. I am still the student that I was at Lee’s retreat, learning every day to be aware of my emotions, to keep balance and inner peace.
I can never express how much gratitude I feel for this program for shaping me.
Sushma, Toronto, Canada, November 2019”