Yoga saved my life. Well, yoga...and my mother.
Yoga found me just when I needed it. My 8 year relationship with my partner had abruptly ended and I hit the lowest point of life. One day we were choosing baby names, the next he says “I’m just not in love with you anymore”. The pain of hearing those words made my whole world shatter in a moment. I was sure I would never recover.
At that point I did what any broken hearted 32 year old, professional woman would do: I moved back home to be with my mother. I moped, I wept, I drank way too much. I lost so much weight from crying and anxiety I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. I was a ghost walking around, dazed and confused.
Like any good mother, mine let me work through my sorrow, and stood by me the whole time. She took care of me, and let me grieve the loss I needed to grieve. After a few months of this, she announced one morning that I was going with her to her yoga class at the local YMCA. I had never taken a yoga class in my life and had no idea what to expect. Blissed out hippies? Bored soccer moms? Tattooed hipsters?
I was surprised when I walked into a room of what turned out to be mostly seniors in sweatpants. For one hour, we all moved together in what felt like a synchronized dance. Arms up, arms down, breathe in, breathe out, step back, open your heart, breathe in breathe out. It was simple, it was soothing, it was yoga.
I started to look forward to my “Senior Saturdays” as I called it. Saturday yoga was the one hour out of my week that I noticed my mind could actually focus because all that was asked of me was to breathe and move. I would leave the class and feel the sweet relief long inhales and exhales gave me, allowing me to finally release.
The good news is my heart did in fact recover. I blossomed and was able to love more deeply. I connected back to my source and my strength. Every day I am thankful for this practice. Every day I am thankful for this community. Every day I do my best to use the magnificent tools yoga has given me to navigate all the challenges and joys that we call Life.
By Iana Velez
Iana is the Editor in Chief of NY Yoga + Life. She was born and raised in NYC. She was introduced to yoga in 2006, during a highly emotional time in her life by her mom who knew it would help with the depression and anxiety she was experiencing at the time. It was definitely not love at first practice…. but over time she noticed those one hour yoga classes once a week was the one time she could really focus and block out the mind chatter. From that point on, she was hooked.