When I was young I played a lot of sports like soccer, rugby, tennis, and I even ran marathons. But because of work, accidents (and family), I became sedentary and ill with a laundry list of health issues.
This list includes: sciatica, premature degeneration of L4/L5 discs, carpel tunnel syndrome, spinal bone spur growths, and the list goes on... Not to mention I was depressed, overweight, using drugs, and addicted to tobacco, sugar, and fatty foods.
I went to see doctors and all they did was put me on Vioxx, Celebrex, and pain killers, and nothing seemed to help. So one day I went to see a nutritionist and I started practicing yoga. I was 44-years-old.
The nutritionist taught me about eating veggies, fruits, and consuming lots of water, and that I'd never get heavier if I ate no more calories than I was able to burn off in one day.
Then there was the yoga!
Being a guy, I was terrified to enter a place outside my comfort zone. But what I found was an amazing world:
A world where my body slowly healed
A world where my body became physically stronger
A world where my body became flexible again
A world where emotionally I suffered less
A world where emotionally I felt like I had more freedom
A world of yoga that had the tools to heal
I wasn't doing amazing poses, I was simply going to vinyasa flow and hatha yoga classes. I would go to basics after basics after basics classes for years. Then one day one of my favorite yoga teachers, a man by the name of Frank Mauro at OM yoga, told me to leave his basics class and try a basics intermediate and/or intermediate.
I was almost 50-years-old and my back muscles had become strong enough and supported my spine so my L4/L5 disk could heal. Years of yoga enabled my sciatica down my left leg to heal and I became pain free.
Yoga had healed my body.
Yoga made my body stronger and more flexible.
Then another "funny thing that happened on the way to the forum" - I found that after you practice yoga long enough, yoga starts to shift the way you look at yourself and the world around you:
You start to take better care of yourself
You start to honor your own feelings, which may have been terrifying before
You start to erect and respect your own and others' healthy boundaries
Yoga has healed me in so many ways. In fact, I am so grateful to all my different yoga teachers that I am now teaching and guiding others a few times a week, simply passing on that which I consider a gift. Thank you to all my wonderful teachers - you know who you are!