My Yoga Journey
In January 2006 (two years before my accident), I embarked on my first long-term solo backpacking trip around Southeast Asia. The trip culminated with a one-month yoga teacher training course in Nasik, India. Up until this point, I knew nothing about yoga, even though I was a certified aerobics instructor and personal trainer. After seven months of traveling, my body was a wreck. I could barely touch my knees, much less my toes! However, by the end of the course, doing 4-5 hours of yoga and meditation a day, I was amazed at how flexible I had become in such a short time. Most importantly, I was in awe at the crazy awareness I had in my body. I was hooked.
Within two months of completing my course, I moved to Dubai in October 2006, where I taught up to six yoga classes a day at a newly-opened yoga studio. After six months of this insane schedule, I was completely burned out, hated yoga, hated teaching, and had no energy or love for my own practice. Once my contract with the studio ended after a year, I stopped teaching yoga and started working full-time in the corporate world (a bit backwards, isn’t it?).
It took a year before I was able to find myself in a yoga class again, and I slowly started easing back into my practice. Unfortunately, life had another plan up its sleeve, and on December 12, 2008 I fell off my balcony and was paralyzed from the waist down. I remember lying in bed, in the hospital, feeling this intense desire and urge to bust out some yoga moves, but knowing that I couldn’t.
I began physical therapy immediately, and I gradually started to regain some function in my legs. I was released from the hospital after a few weeks, and I went to Project Walk in San Diego, CA to continue my therapy. I was getting stronger every day, and I was convinced that this was mostly thanks to my fit and active lifestyle and how in tune I was with my body. By the end of March 2009, I had graduated out of a wheelchair and into a walker, and I went back to Dubai and back to work less than four months after my accident. On the outside I was strong, resilient, and fiercely independent, but inside I was heartbroken, depressed, and in mourning, and I avoided anything that reminded me of my previous loves, including surfing, snowboarding, rock climbing, and, of course, yoga.
I eventually left Dubai, war-torn, unhappy, passionless, tired of pretending like nothing had happened and everything was the same, and desperate for a change.
Travel has always been medicine for me, and I knew that I would never recover emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically until I took some time out to travel. Therefore, on July 31st, 2013 I set out on a yearlong solo backpacking trip around Central and South America. Once again, I destroyed my body in the process, but my spirit was finally set free and I learned to love myself again, the new, slightly damaged, slightly wonky, but most definitely improved me.
Upon finishing my life-changing trip, I moved to Barcelona, Spain in October 2014, excited to start a new, unwritten chapter in my life. I jumped into yoga for the first time in six years with a vigor, and I am now re-discovering my personal practice. I am hooked. Every single day I find myself in awe with how my body is responding. I love nailing poses that I never imagined I could do again, and the challenge of trying a new pose is addictive. I’m recovering, strengthening, nourishing, and loving these skinny little legs, one yoga pose at a time!