Healing Through Yoga

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Brandee Safran

People view my yoga practice as skillful, graceful and strong.

Few people know of my journey with yoga and how the postures helped heal my own body.

In 1996, I was in the middle of my intense 3-year yoga teacher training with Orit Sen-Gupta. Orit was guiding us through the yoga posture of the wheel, a pose that stretches your body into a shape of the wheel. As I thought of this pose, I started to tremble, the thought of stretching the skin on my stomach literally made me sick; I started to cry in fear.

Orit sat next to me, I told her that “I had a terrible experience after surgery, a bowel resection from Crohn’s disease.”

After my surgery, when I was 16, my stomach was so infected that I was left with an open wound and a belly full of gauze strips. I woke up to a nurse changing my bandages without moistening them first. I felt as if as if a steel knife was slicing me open. I screamed out in pain! I asked to die! I wanted to die!

This procedure would have to be repeated 3x a day, for several days!

She said your body is strong, you can breathe I am here next to you.

Yoga taught me that my body was locked in the past. That I was carrying inside the trauma of the event, as if I was still being ripped in half

Through the grace of great teachers and constant practice, I learned to breathe into my pain. To trust that I would not break or rip open. Through the deepening of my practice, I was able to hold the wheel pose a little longer, breathe with greater ease and surrender the pain into believing in my present strength. Commitment, support, and my yoga mat have led me to experience a blissful state of wholeness.

Yoga taught me to breathe to be present in the here and now, and to trust that my body has the potential to release the suffering of the past and embrace the beauty of the moment.

Yoga has given me the gift to experience freedom, joy and gratitude for this body.

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