I am immensely grateful for the practice of yoga and what it has done for my mind, body, and life. Over the past two years my life has changed dramatically. Going from a ‘healthy’ marriage, looking to buy our first home, a stable job of 14 years, and seemingly no problems, to being diagnosed with PTSD, major depressive disorder, anxiety and multiple substance abuse disorders. My body was no longer able to keep it together. I was losing it, my mind, my sanity, my life. I experienced my second divorce, losing my job, suicidal ideation and plans, inpatient treatment, alcohol and pills took my life back over. I thought I was past all that. I couldn’t control my mind without drinking until I passed out daily. I couldn’t stop the thoughts and emotions. I lived in a state of overwhelming emotion on a daily basis. It was too much. My counselor at my Vet Center had me, and still does, participate in grounding exercises, primarily breathing. He taught me the importance of moving my body to break up that energy of leftover war shit trauma. With the guidance and patience of my counselor I started to absorb it. That’s when I found Operation RSF. Tyler spoke about the importance of regular exercise to combat PTSD on a podcast in the summer of 2019. I found an accountability partner through RSF and got started. It was not easy, simple yes, but not easy. My mind has quieted down. I can observe the crazy insane frightening thoughts as they arrive but I no longer have to engage with them. They don’t own me anymore, I have more control now. Yoga and meditation have taught me to pause and respond rather than react. To be tolerant of uncomfortable feelings. To notice them without judgment and allow them to be there. They do not debilitate me any longer. These practices got me in tune with my body and allowed me to drop my guard, to be vulnerable, to cry and show emotion in front of others. It teaches me to deal with my emotions, to use my breath to get through them. To feel for the tight spots and create space around them. It is training my focus and awareness.
This tool, the breath, is the most powerful readily available tool I have. That we all have. My daily non-negotiables now include yoga, meditation, connecting to someone daily, and moving my body. These practices bring me peace and help me to accept me for me.