How Did I find Yoga Therapy?

SO HOW DID I GET HERE< AND WHERE AM I GOING?

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Sometimes, the questions, “How did I get here?” and “” pop into my head seemingly out of nowhere. Not being one who likes to leave things hanging, I feel the need to pause and reflect, so the answers will come.

I never planned to immerse myself in the yoga world. I was a busy daughter, mother, wife, and teacher, swept up in the worlds of family, friends, and work. Life was good, if frantic at times.

My lifestyle habits weren’t the most ideal, but I did the best I could, operating on too little sleep. I had very little energy, but I thought it was due to my schedule and responsibilities. I had stopped eating meat, but resorted to preparing quick and easy meals (read: processed foods), somewhat regular exercise, and when it all got to be too much, a nice glass of wine and a cigarette to relax! (Not in the house, of course. I was a closet smoker!) Don’t get me wrong! I didn’t stand out at all.

My life wasn’t very different from the lives of my friends. We were all in it together! So I went happily along my path until a boulder fell onto it right in front of me. In 1999, my mother, my closest friend and main cheerleader, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

At first, I just kept going, like nothing had happened. About 3 weeks later, when it had finally sunk in, life for me changed forever. I did all I could to be with her and help her. But I felt helpless. I didn’t know what to do to ease her discomfort, her fears, her anxieties.

We had lots of good talks, and believe it or not, good times; laughing and reminiscing with family members and sometimes just being with each other. The inevitable happened and I would like to say that I had a great enlightenment that immediately changed my life. But I didn’t. It was a process.

I had been going to yoga classes twice a week. My body felt really good afterwards. Then I went to my first TriYoga class with a new teacher named Georgia. Afterwards, I felt great in my physical body, but I also had a more peaceful mind and emotional state. I wanted more.

She taught breathing techniques that helped me relax, mantra to calm my mind. I had never heard of such things! I became a little more mindful. And that was just the beginning.

I wanted to learn more, so I did. I hadn’t had the knowledge to ease my Mom’s fears and anxieties, but now I had the tools to help others. I wanted to share what I knew with people living with cancer.  Gilda’s Club of South Jersey gave me that opportunity.

In the nine years that I taught yoga there, I met many incredible people. I learned so much from them, and I like to think that I made their journey a little easier. My metamorphosis continued. My lifestyle began to change. I didn’t even really notice it. I had a different mindset too. I was more aware. Over time, this yoga was transforming! 

I wanted to learn more. So I signed up to learn about Yoga Therapy. Where was I going with this? I had no idea!!! But I kept going!

Then, after 2 and a half years of study and practice, my friend Georgia (Yes, the one who taught that yoga class that touched something in me.), who JUST happened to appear in my life at JUST the right time, was planning to open Vitality Nutrition and Wellness Center, fulfilling her dream. She wanted to offer Yoga Therapy, and invited me to come on board! Really!

The rest is history! Over the last 15 years (has it really been that long?) I have gradually evolved into a better version of myself. My priorities have changed as have my diet and lifestyle. This, too, has been a process, evolving over time, and it continues.

Yes, I falter and struggle at times. But I can always return to the path. I know now, that the mind-body connection is strong! We are so much more than our bodies. We need to nourish our bodies, and we need to nourish our minds and spirits as well, to stay in balance.

So the boulder that came down in front of me led me in a different direction, one that I didn’t  understand or plan for. And it has brought me right where I am supposed to be. As for where I am going?  I don’t think I have to worry about that. The Universe will guide me. Thanks, Mom! 

By: Nancy Deckard MA, RYT500

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