Yoga is a practice that requires the student to consistently extend compassion to oneself and forgive oneself for allowing our ego to rear its ugly head. When we step onto our mats, stand shoulder to shoulder with other humans and try oh so desperately to lay our egos down, only then can we experience true compassion. The act of compassion is also a practice. A practice of any type requires patience because perfectionism will drop by unannounced, begging to be let in to and will seek likeminded company.
When people ask me what happens when I have a seizure, I tend to say something like: “well, I usually sit down in a weird position, and my eyes blink really fast and my right arm shakes, and sometimes I say random words and occasionally if I’m walking when it starts then I’ll keep on walking.”
Moving my body in those hours after a seizure, as much as I might not want to, makes a huge difference to how I feel. Even a brief, gentle yoga practice gets muscles moving and stretches out some of the tension that seizures can create. The benefits aren’t only physical. Yoga - the physical practice combined with meditative practice - helps me to calm down, release stress and fear, and process what’s going on in my brain (literally). Yoga is the element of my life that, more than anything else, helps me to accept the strange electrical interruptions in my life and to find ways to live well with them.
This happened very, very slowly. There was more than a year between my first yoga class and my second one. The real turning point for me, I believe, was when I had spent three or four days without drugs. I was going through withdrawal - mild, by the fourth day, but still present - and I was encouraged to take a morning yoga class with my roommate.
Addiction is no easy struggle. A lot of people have their lives claimed by the dangerous nature of drug addiction, and I’m glad that I can count myself among those who managed to escape from the grip of drug abuse. In part, I have the practices of yoga and meditation to thank for that.