Yoga Saved My Life, Maybe It Can Save Yours Too

Yoga Saved My Life, Maybe It Can Save Yours Too

A great exercise for the mind, body, and soul.

All I have to say is that there is nothing I know better than these words to be true: yoga is a life saver. Literally.

I’ve always been the type that exercised and played sports, so, basically, I never once gave yoga a try because “I stretch before I actually work out anyway," which later I found out I was not even stretching correctly and yoga is so much more than that.

I was 18 years old the first time I tried yoga. What brought me there was a car accident and a really stiff back. It had been about three months after the accident, so I had gotten used to the aches and pains in my back and that had become my new normal.

Secondly was my anxiety, my panic attacks. I remember the fear I would get any time I had even a little anxiety due to the fear that a panic attack would be short to follow: mind racing, pacing, feeling like I was suffocating. I had three panic attacks and it’d been a year since my last one anyway but just the thought of them drove my anxiety up a wall.

I told my doctor about it and she said I should try yoga. Of course, nobody besides my parents and close friends knew, but it was very real to me.

It’s been five years since I’ve even had anxiety, let alone a panic attack.

So I show up to the studio; the instructor asks if it’s anyone’s first time doing yoga and if anyone has any injuries. I shyly raise my hand and am the only person there who’s never done yoga. I don’t even think about telling her about my back since I’ve gotten so used to the pain that I just thought this was how my back always felt.

After my first yoga class, I was hooked. After two days the soreness from the class subsided and my back felt amazing. I was addicted to that feeling of not having aches and pains, so I made a pretty consistent schedule and went often. Soon, my back felt back to its actual normal, and I hadn’t even thought about my anxiety.

One of the best lines I heard was “If you know how to breathe, it won’t matter if you’re in church or on a plane skydiving,” telling us the key is to control our breath.

This really helped shape my mindset that I can gain back control over my mind and body. Of course, I’m not saying “yoga cures anxiety and stiff backs,” but it definitely helps build a foundation and gives you tools to aid you (although I definitely think it healed my back).

I stuck consistently with yoga for about eight months before I stopped showing up to classes because I thought I was “healed." That is, until my back went back to its tightness and stiffness and I learned that no, yoga is definitely a journey and our bodies are not meant to be so tight. I also learned that how our bodies feel is often a reflection of what is going on inside of us.

Basically, creating this new relationship with the ground beneath me and having the inspiration of my instructors, as well as the friends whom I dragged to class with me, all helped in healing a very worried soul. I can honestly say when I leave a yoga class is when I feel best because not only is your mind so at ease, but your body is too, regardless of the sweat and soreness.

I guess I just have to say thank you, yoga, and namaste.

Cover Image Credit: Avrielle Suleiman

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Internet outraged at Delhi Aunty for Sl*t Shaming

Public outrage - justified or an overreaction?


When the topic of sexual violence against women arises, women are often held responsible - because of how they dress, or how they behave, or even if they have a voice. A recent incident in Delhi showed that the mindset of people has not changed. In a video posted by Shivani Gupta, a middle-aged woman is seen defending her claim, "Women wearing short dresses deserve to be raped."

This backward mentality surrounding rape and rape culture is horrifying to see. The middle-aged woman first shamed them for wearing short clothes and when she was confronted, she told them "they deserved to get raped." She made things worse when she told other men in the restaurant to rape such women who wear short clothes.

Shivani and her friends later confronted this woman while taking the video. They wanted a public apology for her statement and followed her around. The older woman stood by her statement. Fair enough. They felt threatened by her statements and wanted an apology for her actions. The older lady, however, was brazen about her ideologies and refused to apologize. In fact, she threatened to call the cops for harassment.

The woman who made the regressive statements. Shivani Gupta

While the anger and outrage by the women who uploaded this video are justified, several questions are being raised on whether the older woman was later harassed for her statements. Public shaming is not the way to solve this issue.

"We cannot dismantle a culture of shaming by participating in it." - Rega Jha.

Now, I believe that nobody must engage in victim shaming. Nobody has the right to police the outfit one wishes to wear. It is astonishing to believe that even in the 21st century, people still believe that an outfit determines the morality and character of a person. That older woman was wrong to sl*t-shame the girls for wearing what they want. That being said, even though what that woman did was horrible, public shaming will not work. It will not change the mindset behind these ideologies. What that older woman did was akin to bullying. Publicly shaming her, stalking her facebook account or posting comments or by coercing her, you are also behaving in the same manner of bullying.

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