Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine Issue 04 | August 2016 - Page 32

THE LIVESAVING POWER

OF YOGA

By Kat Tozier

Third in a three-part series

In Part 1 of this series, we focused on the mental and emotional impact of a yoga practice. In Part 2, we looked at the important physical value of yoga. Here in Part 3, we’re going to look at the spiritual aspects.

When I first set out on my yoga journey, all I wanted to do was learn to control my racing monkey mind and my confused, chaotic thoughts. Later, after my car accident, I simply wanted my physical mobility back.

In the fall of 2013, though, I wanted to save my soul.

I didn't see it that way right then, but that's what I was doing.

It had been the year from hell: my mother died, my husband went off the deep end, my youngest child left home, and my dog had terminal kidney cancer. I was emotionally devastated, physically depleted, financially strapped, scared, alone, and broken.

And just so tired of it all.

I was so defeated, that I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to fix any of it.

I was half-heartedly following the advice of my naturopathic doctor, and just as half-heartedly, doing a bit of yoga as I'd done for so long.

Mostly, I was wallowing in my grief, depression, anger and anxiety, and in self-pity. I was railing at the universe, at God, at my father, at my exes…

and at myself for being so stupid, so foolish, so screwed up.

About the only thing I wasn't mad at was the dog, and that turned out to be what changed everything.

We were walking on the trail in the woods one late-September afternoon. To this day, I don't know what I was deep in thought about - I'm sure it was more of the usual litany of dark, angry thoughts - and then in a flash, almost as if I had smacked into a wall in the middle of the trail, I picked my head up, looked at the sky and said (out loud), “Is this how you want Maverick’s last days to be? Full of anger and despair?”

And I didn't.

Sounds a bit crazy, I know. I was a bit crazy right then.

But that dog loved me with everything he had, and he watched over me, and worried about me, and stressed over my distress. If you ask me, the whole reason he had a kidney tumor in the first place is because he had spent the previous three years taking as much toxicity away from me as he possibly could, and now he was dying because of it.

So I made a decision in that moment to make whatever time he had left as joyous and peaceful as I could (and maybe, just maybe, help a miracle happen).

There were many things I changed in the next few weeks, but this story is about yoga. As I was already well-acquainted with its mental and physical healing power, it was a mainstay I immediately turned back to when I finally had the motivation to do something about my dark circumstances.

At first, I did the same thing I'd always done: either focus on my breath if I was trying to settle my mind, or focus on an area of my body if I was trying to increase strength, flexibility or stamina.

At about the same time, I was studying the role that energy plays in dis-ease and healing. And, I discovered a local metaphysical shop and

32 | ElementsForAHealthierLife.com | August 2016