Armando meditating in Central Park

Armando meditating in Central Park

Yoga. I was introduced to the idea of yoga when I was a freshman in college living in the dorms. Although I checked the “non-smoking” preference when filling out my on-campus living application, I somehow landed on the only smoking floor next to the  smoking lounge of Cumberland Hall. (This ages me, I know.) A few of the cigarette-smoking (and pot-smoking) ladies on my floor talked about yoga between inhales and practiced it in their rooms. Needless to say, I was immediately turned off by what seemed to me a new-age, hippie-inspired form of meditation. Not only did it seem anti-spiritual, I knew I was too high-energy to think it would be enjoyable for me. That was 22 years ago. My attitude toward yoga has made a dramatic shift since then.

For years, I found relief from stress through running. I ran along the C&O Canal. I ran the streets of Frostburg. I ran in the mornings. I ran in the evenings. I ran on a treadmill and even tried running on an elliptical. I ran to feel my heart pounding in my chest. I ran to remind myself that I was alive. Running felt so good.

In the summer of 2002, I stupidly got behind the wheel of my car after a night of drinking white Russians. Luckily, I was alone. My car rolled several times (according to reports; I remember nothing) and landed on its top. I landed in the ICU for three days with a collapsed lung, a fractured c-5, several cuts and bruises, and a torn medial meniscus in my right knee. I spent months in a neck brace and with a physical therapists. My neck healed; my knee would never be the same. I could not longer run.

I believed it was Karma. I believed the universe was punishing me for being irresponsible and stupid. It made sense to me, so I didn’t complain about my knee or ever say, “Why me?” because I knew why. But it didn’t stop me from hurting and plummeting slowly into a quiet depression.

I kept myself busy for years after the accident: I planned my wedding, I went back to school, I volunteered, I read more, but I could never find an activity that made me feel as alive as running did. I left my husband, had an affair, tried finding that “thing” that gave me faith and courage in myself. It wasn’t around any of the corners I looked. Every where was a dead end. I became more and more complacent with the idea that life was just life. I became fatalistic to a degree. I somehow lost my fire, so to say. I was waste high in in self-doubt and very depressed but felt there was nothing I could do about it.

In the fall of 2011, I started looking into finding an orthopedic surgeon that could possibly “fix” my knee so I could run again. While surfing the internet, I stumbled upon some testimonials from yoga practitioners who claimed to have been healed physically and emotionally by yoga. Being the cynic I can sometimes be, I highly doubted what I was reading. But after reading more and more about yoga and its benefits, I decided to shed myself of my bias and prejudice and began searching for a studio in my neighborhood.

I found Bikram Yoga Rockville. My first day practicing yoga was October 15, 2011. I have not been the same since:

  • After my first 90-minute practice, I felt something happening to my knee, something good.
  • I started feeling alive again within 3 practices.
  • I could walk down steps without holding onto the railing after a week of practices.
  • I learned patience.
  • I felt the flame returning to my heart.
  • I found myself again!

And with finding myself, I hope to give of myself more. I want to give more to my husband, my son, my mother, my sisters, my family, my friends, and every person I encounter in my life. I call myself a yoga snob, because I can’t stop talking about it as if it were a part of me. But, I guess, it IS a part of me. Namaste.

Bikram Yoga, Family, Forgiveness, Friends, Health, Relationships, Running, Self Improvement, Yoga

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. What a great message of hope on a Sunday!


  2. Paula! Great journaling and have to love the picture of your son! You haven’t done anything (most) of the rest of us haven’t done in the drinking and driving. The things we learn with age and experience. Have a beautiful Sunday afternoon!


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