While attending Austin Recovery in February 2013 I took a Pure Action Yoga class that was offered as a part of our curriculum. The 45-minute class taught by Tedd Li was semi-heated and gave us the idea of what it would be like in a typical Bikram Yoga class. I had tried a few different types of yoga in the past but could never quiet my mind. I was always thinking about what I could be doing that was more productive instead. I would often catch myself making a grocery list in my head or thinking about work. I was a runner, I ran marathons, did Triathlons and thought “why am I lying here stretching when I could be burning calories and making my workout time productive?” I was in the hospital for 2 months after being diagnosed with severe pancreatitis and I had Factor V blood which caused blood clots in my right arm and neck. I was quickly put on blood thinners until I was in emergency surgery for my bleeding spleen. Unfortunately, I had several more emergency surgeries causing lifelong pain. I can’t be on blood thinners due to my spleen and my clots can dislodge at any time which is life threatening. I left the hospital with a feeding tube for a month and then headed to Austin Recovery for my addiction. Pure Yoga Austin held yoga classes each week and I liked it enough to use the week of free classes I received after completing my treatment. The combination of meditation, cognitive thinking, counseling and opening up along with the yoga from Austin Recovery helped me open my mind to Pure Yoga Austin. I finished my free week of yoga learning all the benefits and the dos and don’ts of yoga. My first instructor Blanca Solis was tough. She was serious and told the class how each move was beneficial to our organs which I loved. She pushed us and continued to coach us through each move which was great for a beginner like me. I never thought it could be so intense, mentally and physically. I loved the heat and the massive amount of sweat. I couldn’t believe how hard the moves were and actually didn’t notice that I hadn’t let my mind wander but instead I was focused on really doing the moves correctly. I was looking for employment so I was able to attend with no excuses. I starting noticing the increased energy teachers always talk about and how my thinking was clearer, my mood was positive and my body felt strong. I felt strong while in class and after, it was a healthy high that I couldn’t believe. I figured it would go away but each time, I was feeling stronger, leaner and even better than the time before. I went through a rough patch in my life dealing with an addiction which caused major health, financial and relationship issues and the loss of knowing me. I couldn’t have pulled through it without my family and God and for that, I am forever grateful. It’s hard to explain addiction to someone that isn’t haunted by it, but the work doesn’t stop when treatment does; in fact it starts. I had my family see me at my worst in the hospital and in my addiction. It was now my time to prove to not only them but to myself that I could live differently. There are many, many things that go into being successful as a recovering addict and living a positive life and for me, that has been Yoga. It’s the focusing, being still, and quieting my mind, which was a huge struggle for me in the past. It’s changed my thought process and how I view my life, body, and attitude. I leave each time positive, refreshed and so grateful for where I am in my life right there at that moment. I don’t use the word, “grateful” lightly. It is honestly true because I am 7 months clean and I am still so grateful for the small things that I used to take for granted. I have continued my practice with Pure Yoga Austin ever since those first 2 classes with Tedd and Blanca and continue to build strength, flexibility, confidence, quietness and concentration. It’s a calorie-burning workout, counseling session and confidence booster all in one! I love it and can’t thank Pure Action and Pure Yoga Austin enough for giving recovery clients the chance to experience the positivity I have seen in just 90 minutes.
Pure Action Volunteer & Austin Recovery Graduate
*UPDATE: Lisa reduced her blood clots from 4 to just 1 in 18 months of consistent yoga practice! #yogaismedicine