By Amy Serafin When you really think about it, our bodies are a miraculous thing. Your body is designed to heal itself. If you should cut yourself, your body will heal the cut. If you cut yourself too deeply, you may need to go to the ER to get stitches, but after the doctor stitches you up, he/she will send you home to heal. We often forget that our bodies have this amazing ability or we lack the tools to help our bodies to heal.
To heal yourself is completely within your power and I can personally speak from experience as to how I have healed my body with Bikram yoga.
I have scoliosis with curves in the cervical and lumber part of my spine, but my thoracic isn’t exactly straight either. I have dealt with varying levels of pain every day for the past 10 years, plus many side effects that I will not go into detail about here. However, at the pinnacle of my illness, my neck pain was to the point of debilitating. My C1 and C2 vertebrae were compressed and I suffered from migraines and at times a rather cranky disposition. Sleeping through the night was nearly impossible as my rest was taken in little increments. I couldn’t turn my head at night without severe neck pain waking me up.
To add to my frustration, I thought I was doing everything in my power to take care of myself. I sought out help from masseuses, doctors, dentists (I was treated for TMJ) and chiropractors. I worked out regularly and ate healthy, but to no avail. And rather than getting better, I continued to get worse to the point I was starting to lose feeling in my right hand and foot at night when I was sleeping. I was a mess.
Then two years ago, I had the luckiest day of my life and I walked into a Bikram yoga studio. When I walked into the studio, I was unaware that Bikram had specifically designed his series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises to heal the body. I was just hoping that yoga would help alleviate some of the tension in my back and neck. Wow, was I in for a huge surprise.
Every day that I stepped into that hot yoga room, I slowly learned that I didn’t need anyone else to solve my health problems. I just had to be willing to commit to sweating, compressing, squeezing and stretching in a hot room for 90 minutes every day to heal myself. Once I made that commitment, my body started to change in amazing ways.
I don’t go to a chiropractor three times a week anymore. I actually don’t go at all, only rarely. If I go to a masseuse now, it is because I want to feel better not to relieve pain. I sleep through the night. I cried with joy the morning I woke up and realized I had turned my head in the middle of the night without waking up from the pain. I can sleep on my left side, which I hadn’t been able to do for years because of the curvature in my upper back. Completely gone is the loss of feeling or numbness in my right hand or foot when I sleep. My hips are more level and my right shoulder, which couldn’t even lie flat on the floor while in Savasana, now rests on the floor with ease. The chronic dull pain in my lower back is gone, along with the migraines and headaches. But best of all, my disposition and outlook on life is 120% better. I am happier, more relaxed and my quality of life is off the charts.
I will not lie to you and say that my journey practicing Bikram yoga for the past two years has been easy. I am working on changing my physiology, which is no easy task, but is within my power. There have been great days when I walk out of the room feeling like a million bucks and like I could take on the world. Then there are the days when I feel like I have been hit by a Mack truck and every muscle in my body is sore, tired and aches with fatigue. But I will tell you honestly and sincerely -- it has been completely and utterly worth it.
And even though my recovery is not complete, my hips and my shoulders are still uneven and I get flare ups in my lower back as my spine realigns that can last a couple of days or weeks, I am not worried. Bikram yoga has given me the tools to heal myself and as long as I keep showing up every day and keep working, I move closer and closer to my goal of being completely healed. And the biggest miracle of all to me is that I did it all on my own. No one gave it to me. I earned it. I healed myself. No surgeries, no pills, just me. I walk into that hot room day after day and give myself the gift of MY life. That is power beyond compare.