When I was a junior in college my mind was starting to get the worst of me. My anxiety was so bad that I decided to try yoga. And like all things in my life I was going to do it to the max. I had no money at the time and was sharing a loft in Harlem. When my roommate went on vacation I decided to take charge of the living room floor space so I bought a tape, and practiced Ashtanga yoga, 1.5 hours a day, seven days a week, for a full three months straight.
I have to admit. It truly helped. My mind calmed down and I was able to sleep better. It was great but due to the extremity of my practice I feared the return of my mind sans yoga which would ultimately occur when school started back up.
And it did. When school came around I didn’t have time to handle such an intense routine as part of my regular schedule. Slowly my mind filled with anxiety and my old self returned. I was so frustrated and angry I decided to take a different route.
I went to mental health services at my university and asked for help. My first session didn’t go so well so I left and never went back. Once again, another extreme decision.
I dropped yoga out of my life as well as any initiative to seek psychiatric help. And the spiral of mania swallowed me whole.
Ten years later I picked up yoga again after having my mental breakdown and subsequently opting to receive psychiatric help for life.
I look back and wonder why I needed to be so hard core about things. I look now and am still hard core but at least I have my life experience, my meds, and my part time practice of yoga to try and ease up a bit and rid myself of allowing being hard core to be hard knocks.
Woman doing yoga photo available from Shutterstock