This is the fifth article in the series, “The 12 Healing Tools“. These articles outline the things that I have found most useful in my journey to overcome childhood trauma and abuse, drug addiction, and debilitating depression.
I put off writing this article because it’s a pretty deep topic for me. There are so many reasons why yoga helped me, some of which I continue to learn about based on scientific research1, 2; and the ways that it helped me are vast and continue to unfold every year I practice. So I suppose I will start at the beginning, even though the beginning was pretty boring. 😉
One of my friends suggested we sign up for a series of Wellspan Health yoga classes around 2003 (don’t quote me on exact dates). I remember it being a struggle financially for both of us. We were single females in recovery and it seemed like there was barely enough money for the basics, much less something frivolous like a yoga class. But somehow, we found a way.
I don’t remember feeling like much was happening in the beginning – unlike during the free Buddhist meditation classes we were also attending around the same time. If anything, I felt self-conscious and really out of place! But for whatever reason, I kept trying to find affordable classes to attend.
Continue reading Yoga as a Healing Tool
Pranayama (control of prana or life force energy via the breath), is one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga, and as such has very ancient healing roots. However, the more modern version of therapeutic breathwork was born in the 1960s out of LSD research. When the government banned LSD, Stanislov Grof turned his attention to something that couldn’t be outlawed: breathing. Grof went on to trademark “Holotropic Breathwork“, a non-drug alternative to reaching altered states of consciousness.
Today, there are numerous styles of therapeutic breathwork. At the core, all breathwork therapy has benefits similar to other “psychedelic therapies” (such as Ayahuasca, magic mushrooms, and LSD) in that, as oxygen builds up in the blood, the breather experiences a mild sort of trip with the aim of promoting transcendental, ecstatic, religious or mystical peak experiences. Types of experiences usually fall into one or more of several categories: sensory, biographic, perinatal, and yogic sleep states.
Continue reading What is Breathwork Therapy?
This is the fourth article in the series, “The 12 Healing Tools“. These articles outline the things that I have found most useful in my journey to overcome childhood trauma and abuse, drug addiction, and debilitating depression.
At the end of 2003, I hit rock bottom – again. Looking back, I think it would be appropriate to say that I had a nervous breakdown. The stresses of a bad relationship, living a life not authentic to who I was, working long hours at a high stress job, my past drug abuse, and undiagnosed PTSD all took their toll. But, as many of you know, once you hit bottom, the only way out is UP. So once again, I pulled myself together to find a way out.
I had been practicing yoga and going to Buddhist meditation classes for about a year after this breakdown when I decided to go on an elimination diet. My gut was totally messed up and I was hearing a buzz about how going gluten free could fix that. So for two weeks, I ate all veggies and rice. When I introduced bread again, I thought I was going to die. The stomach pains and racing heart were unreal! I had my answer and stayed entirely gluten-free after that.
Continue reading How Changing My Diet Changed My Life
I am feeling called to share my story during Mental Health Awareness Month. I will try to keep it brief, even though I could go into great detail about a lot of things here!
Looking back, I think my mental health issues were set in motion around age 5 when I was separated from my grandmother, who I looked to as my primary caregiver up until that point. After that separation from my grandmother, I found myself being raised in an explosive household with an abusive alcoholic / drug addict stepfather and a very young mother who barely knew how to take care of herself, much less another tiny human. All of this early trauma set me up for a lot of issues surrounding safety, trust, anger turned inward, etc.
Continue reading May is Mental Health Awareness Month: My Story