Yoga changed this couple's life...
I work with this beautiful couple every week and thankfully they gave me permission to share their inspiring story— the struggles, the triumphs, and how yoga has changed their lives.
“Jack” and “Jill” look so happy and healthy in this picture. It’s hard to imagine that anything could be wrong in the life of this couple as they swing upside down and kiss in their beautiful home. You’d never know that just a year ago their relationship was struggling— Jack was just finishing chemotherapy and they were seeing a therapist.
Jack and Jill met the summer before starting university while doing volunteer work in Israel. They dated long distance through college, as Jack is from London and Jill is from New York. Love persevered— Jack proposed to Jill and moved to New York. They wedded and planned to live happily ever after. And then in his late 20s, Jack was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
No one can imagine what they have gone through— the fears, the tears, the emotions, and who knows what else. They were forced to think about their future in order to preserve Jack’s sperm for their babies to be. During this difficult time of cancer treatments and surgeries, they also began seeing a therapist.
I met Jill four months ago when her mother, one of my regular clients, invited her to join in on one of our yoga sessions. Although into fitness and exercise, Jill was never really interested in yoga but became hooked after our first session together. She joined a few more times and then decided to schedule a couple’s session with Jack. I would’ve never guessed how much this couple would go onto inspire me, reminding me that I’ve chosen the career path to be most of service.
The thing about yoga is it’s not just an exercise— it’s therapy.
Depending on your instructor, you may be guided to reflect on life during yoga. The majority of sessions inevitably become a hybrid infused with life coaching as well. Yoga provides a natural platform to visit habits, behaviors, and struggles as poses challenge us to dig within our subconscious. Yoga is prevention. It maintains sanity. It promotes health. It imbibes us with a sense of peace and calm allowing us to fully be present, ready, and happily willing to participate in this battle of our lives.
People are always commenting on how great my energy is and how healing it is just to be around me. Well guess what? I work hard for this. Every day I have a date with my therapist — my yoga practice. Every morning I wake up, and before I do anything else, I sit on my yoga mat in a lotus position and I meditate for at least twenty minutes. Then, I do my own yoga practice. It’s the only ounce of routine I choose in my spontaneous life. It’s the one thing I’m strict about because I know the wonders of a daily yoga practice.
Jack and Jill were so determined.
I’ve never seen two beginners progress so quickly. Jill started practicing regularly at a studio nearby, but Jack was only able to do our weekly sessions. From arm balances, to headstands, this guy was even touching his toes within two months. I was truly impressed!
Jill’s mother told me about Jack’s remission so I knew Saturday mornings were more than just about yoga, they were healing sessions. During our time together I’d talk about a wide range of topics from self-acceptance and self-love, to the ways in which to communicate successfully. I wasn’t really thinking twice about it until Jack and Jill suggested we host a yoga and nutrition night with their friends as a way to share the benefits they’ve been reaping from the practice. The evening was a success and they announced to all their friends that they had stopped seeing a therapist since working with me. I was amazed, grateful and inspired!
This past weekend, Jill announced it was the anniversary of Jack being cancer free! It was indeed something to celebrate. We decided to do some acro-yoga, and as you can see in the earlier picture, it was their best session yet! Although it is can be challenging, I highly recommend it to couples and friends because it enhances communication skills and bonding, not to mention how good it feels for both yogis.
Despite keeping this fairly anonymous, I sent this blog over to Jill to read to make sure she was comfortable with the level of information I was sharing. In part of her response she writes,
"I think that in addition to the communication stuff that comes up in the acro yoga, our sessions with you are so therapeutic because they really do put us in the present moment together - we spent a whole year worrying about what was going to happen and when Jack would be okay. Then in therapy so much time was spent rehashing the past traumatic experiences of his illness, but what we actually needed was to get into the present and get away from all our fear and anxiety about what happened or what might happen again. Ultimately, I think that's a big part of why yoga with you has been so major for us. You encourage us to stay present, smile and be grateful - especially for health and for each other! I wouldn't have necessarily believed it before I started yoga with you - and I'm certain Jack wouldn't have - but all of this has carried over into our lives off the mat."
Obviously I’m pro-yoga because it’s a life changer.
There are both immediate effects, and other life enhancing benefits that build over time. Yes, I started yoga as a workout, but little did I know that this practice would cause such a profound shift in my life— propelling me into a career path dedicated to helping people in a more profound way than western medicine would have allowed. I’m so grateful.
If you’re feeling in a rut and know something in your life has to change, or even if everything is awesome and you want to sustain that awesomeness, I highly recommend you begin a yoga practice ASAP. Start slowly— even just one time a week— and stick with it. Go to a studio, try using online resources, or hire an instructor. There's an option for everyone on any budget. Yoga will only do you good! Doctor’s orders :)