Finding My Yoga

by Lance Ekum on · 45 comments

 We all have moments that challenge us.  Some of those moments can challenge us deep within our core.  And it’s in those moments,  having a rock to lean on – whatever that "rock" is for each of us – can be the something that helps pull us through. 

Today I am honored to have Peggy Nolan, from Serendipity Smiles, here as she talks about some of the adversities she’s had in her life, and how deeply connecting her yoga routine was for her during those dark days. 

One of the challenges Peggy has faced was breast cancer.  Today she talks about that and more, and how yoga has been a source of comfort and healing through it all.

Please read and be inspired, as Peggy so beautifully writes about…

Finding My Yoga

 

 Hawaiian view
Creative Commons License photo credit: B Mully

"Adversity is like a strong wind.  It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are." ~ Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

The frigid January night I kicked my ex-husband out, my yoga mat took a beating without complaint.  She absorbed the fire from my feet, the sweat from my body, and the tears from my heart.  She rooted me like a tree while the tornado of his deceit swirled around me.  Standing on my right leg with my left foot tucked inside my right thigh, I lifted my heart and my arms upward toward the sky.  I had learned how to breathe through four months of rage, anger, and emotional upheaval.  My yoga mat gently held me in child pose as night after night, I wept my pain away.  She bore witness to my discovery that the impermanence of ever after is no different than the impermanence of each breath.  Letting go of my nineteen year marriage and life as I knew it was not easy but I learned to un-cling myself from the past and live my life forward.

In hero pose I let my yoga mat help teach me to be still in my anger.  Sitting with my right knee wrapped around my left knee and both feet flexed outwards I rounded my spine as I bowed my forehead to my top knee.  I learned how to recognize my anger, accept it, to imagine holding it the palm of my hand and gently blowing it away with each exhalation.  At first my ex husband was the object of my anger – a speck of dust that I’d visualize blowing away with my breath.  But as I unpeeled my anger I learned who I was really angry with – my self.  I did everything I could to save a marriage irreparably damaged by my ex husband’s double life and in doing so, I compromised my self, my daughters, my values, my principles and my own dreams and aspirations.

Grappling with a profound sadness, I let my yoga mat convince me to take flight in eagle pose. Twisting my right arm over left with my palms touching each other while wrapping my left leg around my right leg I could feel the return of my independence.  Balanced in this posture, I often imagined myself flying triumphantly out of Salvador Dali’s "Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory." I could see myself standing in the middle of the painting surveying the loss of time as it melted off the clock. I could see the shattered world I was afraid to leave.  I knew this fractured miserable world – for years I had determined to keep my family together no matter what.

When I discovered that "no matter what" came at the expense of my own self-respect, I decided that a leap off the canvas of devastation into the great unknown was the best option.  I learned that when I made decisions that were right for me they were also right for my daughters…even if they didn’t see it at the time.

Yoga helped teach me to be my self without someone else defining who I was.  I mended fractured relationships with people in my family and friends that my ex didn’t like.  I made choices that were right for me, like selling the house my daughters and I lived in and buying something smaller and easier to manage.  Through my divorce yoga taught me to connect my body with my mind and my spirit.  In doing so, I found my internal spring of love, hope and gratitude from which my soul is immeasurably replenished and nurtured.  This discovery came not a moment too soon because five short months after my divorce was final and one year to the day after my ex husband and I began our disentanglement, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

While I needed the steadfast strength of my friends, my family, and especially my father, it was the loving solitude of my yoga mat that I craved.  Breathing into the powerful warrior poses I’d watch the questions as they entered my mind: "Who am I when I no longer am who I was?" "What am I supposed to be doing?"  "Am I on the right path?"  "What am I supposed to be learning right now?"  In between breaths, I’d listen for the answers. 

While the answers didn’t come right away, I began to learn patience.  I became more aware of my thoughts and how my thoughts affected my circumstances.  In order to face breast cancer I cleaned out the remaining negative skeletons from the far reaches of my mind and I decided to face this disease the only way I knew how – with gratitude and a deep appreciation for being alive.

Four days after my first surgery to remove a three-inch cluster of non-invasive cancer cells, my yoga mat hugged me close as I lay uncomfortably belly down. Poses that were once simple, like cobra, bow, and airplane now presented a physical challenge that I couldn’t just bulldoze my way through.  Lifting my shoulders off the floor for the first phase of cobra pose, something I could easily do just a week before was an incredibly painful challenge.  Laying face down on my yoga mat, I know I heard her laugh as I learned to be humbled by the power that resides in not doing.  After my doctor called with the results of the first surgery, I realized that I’d be doing a lot of not doing on my yoga mat.

My doctor started with the bad news first.  Pathology determined the cancer to be invasive as well and that it had spread to my lymph system.  The good news, she told me, was that this was all treatable with surgery and chemotherapy.  I would lose my breast and in return I’d most likely go on living for another 40 or so years.

Nine days after having a mastectomy, I unfurled my yoga mat in the studio. 
Surprised, well meaning friends asked me what I was doing back so soon after surgery.  My yoga mat didn’t question me for she understood why.  She knew I needed to be there and move my body – to see what worked and what didn’t work.   The compassion of my blue sticky mat supported me, cradled me, and kept me safe.  While I couldn’t do downward facing dog I could and did modify the pose and was the only one in class mastering the fine art of the one armed down dog.

Through chemotherapy, my yoga mat hung onto me.  Quietly coaxing what little my body could give she made me dig deep and helped me discover the place within myself where the Divine resides and where I am at peace.  I battled with loneliness – and cancer is a very lonely disease – only to uncover that by accepting my loneliness I found a freedom and liberation that transformed my perspective on living my own life.  Laying in shavasana, or dead man’s pose, my arms and legs stretched out in relaxation, I found that my someday is now and now is all I have.

During radiation therapy my yoga mat welcomed back my energy and strength. 
I put her through the paces often doubling up on Monday nights and doing back-to-back classes.  One hundred and eighty minutes of yoga to which my friends thought I was nuts but my yoga mat knew I was catching up on some long over due work.  Plank, side plank, chatterunga, up dog, down dog, back to plank.  I’d repeat the series until I heard the white lotus blossoms whisper, "less is more."

Two months after I finished treatment and one year after I was diagnosed, the company I worked for laid off my entire group.  The day after I lost my job I sat in a twist on my yoga mat trying to figure out how I was going to deal with one daughter in college, the other in high school, reconstructive surgery, health benefits, the mortgage, and still put food on the table.  With surprising forcefulness I heard her say, "another silver lining."  I untwisted myself and felt an amazing release. 

After all I’ve been through I now saw that losing my job was an opportunity to change direction. Inspired by my favorite TS Elliot quote, "If you are unwilling to impose your own terms upon life, then you must be willing to accept what life offers you," I knew it was time to impose my own terms upon life.  I renegotiated a better severance package; I found a new position within days but took a six-week break from the insanity of corporate America; I went on vacation; I started writing again; and with a clean bill of health from my doctors, I became a breast cancer thriver.

Oil and sweat from my feet and hands have left indelible marks on my blue sticky yoga mat.  My toes have worn out spots – all those lunges and warrior poses – and my yoga mat is crumbling where I ground down with the balls of my feet.   My mat has carried me through three major life-altering events in less than three years: divorce, breast cancer and losing a job.  I can count on my yoga practice to be there, unfailing and supportive of the parts that are all of me.

The answers I seek through my yoga practice are open ended.  I’m no longer plagued by the sense of loss of who I was because I haven’t really lost who I was – she’s with me as I create a new vision of who I am.  I believe that the Universe is unfolding exactly as She should and I’m standing in the middle of my own unfolding.  Rooting down into my yoga mat, I stand in Goddess pose completely receptive to my own inner strength, courage, and wisdom.

About Peggy Nolan
Peggy Nolan is a freelance writer, breast cancer survivor and certified yoga teacher living in Derry, NH.  Peggy is the author of two blogs, Serendipity Smiles and The Stepmom’s Tool Box, and is passionate about helping others help themselves.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Fit to the Finish October 16, 2009 at 6:28 am

Peggy,
Thank you so much for sharing your incredible journey of survival, healing, and moving forward with your life. My faith is much like your experience with yoga. It brings me comfort in times of sadness, help in times of trouble, and healing that is above anything I ever could have imagined.

You are an amazing person and your writing is like reading poetry.
.-= Diane Fit to the Finish´s Last Fabulous Post ..Finding Myself In Thinness =-.

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Juliet | Freelancewise October 16, 2009 at 6:34 am

Hi

Thank you for sharing your experience and really capturing the power and beauty of yoga. I am in awe each time I take to my yoga mat. I hope that this really encourages those in difficult times or good times to take to this wonderful form of therapy, exercise, rejuvenation and mediation.

Juliet
.-= Juliet | Freelancewise´s Last Fabulous Post ..Socrates: The Test of Three =-.

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Daphne October 16, 2009 at 7:26 am

Lance, thank you so much for featuring Peggy on your blog today.

Peggy, your writing moves me to tears, in a motivational and inspiring way. I’m going to send your words to my mother, who is in the process of finding herself and who I hope will also be moved and inspired by your words. I am frequently impressed by your journey and the attitude you have chosen. I hold you up as an example of the way I’d like to be. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with the world.
.-= Daphne´s Last Fabulous Post ..Own Your Way =-.

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Angelia sims October 16, 2009 at 7:35 am

Peggy,
Your story is beautifully written. It captures your struggles, heartache, and utter endurance. You are a testament of perseverance and inner strength. It is a blessing to know you. Thank you for sharing your yoga mat today.
Angelia

Lance-Thank you for guesting such a shining heartlight on your blog today. You always seem to find such treasures to reveal.
.-= Angelia sims´s Last Fabulous Post ..Do I Have Fleas or What? =-.

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Evelyn Lim October 16, 2009 at 8:10 am

Peggy, thank you for sharing your story with us. I ached as I read about each changing period in your life. You’ve said it so beautifully with: “While the answers didn’t come right away, I began to learn patience.” Indeed, this was my lesson for the past two days.

Your courage is certainly an inspiration! You have shown how life has a way of presenting situation after situation to us, so that we can always learn something more and deeper.

I wish you continued happiness, success and peace. May your yoga mat support you always!

With love,
Evelyn
.-= Evelyn Lim´s Last Fabulous Post ..Break From Blogging =-.

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Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny October 16, 2009 at 8:11 am

Wow! How lucky you are to have discovered your anchor. Yoga is comforting and healing. Recognizing your mat as the place where you ALWAYS find a soothing, receptive welcome is brilliant. Your mat is your rock – unchangeable. We humans are too mercurial to hold that anchor place. It’s too much to expect from anyone. How wonderful that you’ve discovered that place for you. My rock is my martial arts practice. When I started taking boxing lessons, I had no idea how my life would anchor around punching a heavy bag. I understand and I appreciate you speaking your peace so eloquently.
Cheryl
.-= Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s Last Fabulous Post ..What Balaclavas Can Teach Us about Courage =-.

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Stacey Shipman October 16, 2009 at 8:26 am

YAY for yoga! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Yoga is a phenomenal healing practice that so many people still shy away from. Healing emotional or physical wounds…yoga helped me with both. My mat is where I turn when I need to heal. It is so much more than physical, and by sharing your story you shed light on that often missing piece.

Thanks Lance for letting Peggy share her story here. It’s so important.

Best to you Peggy. Your courage to share this will affect many.

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Erin Prais-Hintz October 16, 2009 at 8:31 am

Namaste, Miss Peggy.
You are a Divine being and I honor that Divine in you!
A marvel of the world, the human body, mind and soul are able to bear so very much. I have never enjoyed yoga that much, but you make me want to try again. What power it has given you to center yourself and face all these opportunities head on… opportunities because you obviously had great growth from them. I am in awe of your resiliency. Thank you Lance and Peggy for sharing this beautiful inspiration today.
Enjoy the day!
Erin
.-= Erin Prais-Hintz´s Last Fabulous Post ..30 Words::On The Edge =-.

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diantha October 16, 2009 at 8:35 am

Lance, thank you for having Peggy share her inspiring story here today!
And Peggy, thank you for being so open and vulnerable, sharing this story that is no doubt so helpful to so many! We all have our major challenge(s) in life and what matters is how we respond. Your story is certainly a model for how we can overcome or move through these challenges. A young friend of mine, now about 33, used yoga as a tool in recovering from a violent rape. She said that the movement of the body and the focusing of the mind on that movement is what helped her through that nightmare time. She is now a yoga instructor, helping other young women through such challenges. May your journey continue to be blessed so that you can be a blessing to others…..xo

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The Exception October 16, 2009 at 8:39 am

Peggy – It is so wonderful and beautiful to read your words and the wonders of your experiences. Your outlook and all that you have overcome within are inspiring. THe discovery of such inner strength is breath taking. You are a wonderful model of a life that thrives!

Thank you and thank you Lance for sharing too…
.-= The Exception´s Last Fabulous Post ..One Size Fits All? =-.

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Laura Hegfield October 16, 2009 at 8:47 am

Beautiful story, beautiful soul. Thank you Lance for inviting Peggy to share this portion of her life’s journey with us.
Namaste in both of you,
Laura

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suzen October 16, 2009 at 8:51 am

Lance,
You have a gift for finding exactly the right people to feature on your blog! I’ve been reading Peggy’s blog too, and she is a constant source of inspiration!
Peggy,
Your writing is sheer poetry of the heart! Your very words are healing. I am touched beyond words by the soulfulness!
Much love,
suzen
.-= suzen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Monkey See, Monkey Do =-.

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Srinivas Rao October 16, 2009 at 8:51 am

Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve heard many things about the benefits of Yoga, but I think you did a great job connecting it to an emotional and physical healing experience.
.-= Srinivas Rao´s Last Fabulous Post ..How often do you decide not to brush your teeth? =-.

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Peggy Nolan October 16, 2009 at 9:05 am

Hello everyone!

I am touched by your words and deeply grateful to Lance! I am currently entertaining my daughter’s future in-laws from Ireland but I PROMISE to get back on later tonight and respond to all of you.

Namaste 🙂
Peggy
.-= Peggy Nolan´s Last Fabulous Post ..Guest Blogging =-.

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Lynn October 16, 2009 at 9:16 am

A lovely and inspiring story. I especially like that you retain who you were as you continue to grow.
.-= Lynn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Mystically magical, listening and a good thing =-.

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Jay Schryer October 16, 2009 at 9:18 am

This was very beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it!
.-= Jay Schryer´s Last Fabulous Post ..Memories Best Left Forgotten =-.

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Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord October 16, 2009 at 11:03 am

Lance, thank you for bringing Peggy here to write about her inspirational experiences.
Peggy, thank you for everything you share with us, day in and day out.
Reading about how yoga helped you to remain centered in a very uncertain time of your life has renewed my own interest in it. Just like when I read your comment on another blog about Warrior II – standing perfectly still between the past and the future, and well rooted in the present moment. I think of you whenever I move into that position.
I look at your life and think that I, too, can be a hero like you are. That’s how I see you: someone who is always standing at the plate with a bat in her hand, ready to swing. I will admit that there are days when I don’t even want to put on my uniform and head to the field… yet I know that’s the only place where my life can unfold, play by play.
Much love to you, today and always!
.-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s Last Fabulous Post ..A Study in Sibling Reverie =-.

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Julie October 16, 2009 at 11:50 am

Peggy, your deft way of melding together poses and thoughts beautifully demonstrates the luxuriously flowing completeness that yoga offers. And to find those moments when the inner voice speaks: ah, the sheer bliss of connectedness. Thank you for sharing, so gently and eloquently, the beautiful story of your passages of growth and the wisdom borne from going within. I was there with you, living your movements, feeling your changes, understanding your comfort and inner peace; I could read you forever.

If I may, a suggestion? Maybe your aged mat could be enticed to mentor a new one from time to time. Let the oldster watch the youngster learn the ropes, and then when it’s time for the old one to retire, you’ll all have an easier transition. 😉
– – –
Hi, Lance, many thanks for introducing us to Peggy.
.-= Julie´s Last Fabulous Post ..Honor Redux, with a Twist =-.

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Evita October 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Hi Lance and Peggy

Lance – thank you for having Peggy share her story with us all

Peggy – thank you so much for sharing your story. I am sure all that you have talked about and all that you have gone through isn’t the easiest thing to talk about, especially to so many people. But through this I think there is an aspect of healing for you, as well as learning for so many of us from your story.

It is so fantastic to hear how you dealt with and got through your challenging times using yoga. I truly believe it has amazing healing properties and wish I got myself to do it more. But of course I am the only one standing in the way of that.

So I wish you lots of continued healing – you are a survivor in more ways than one and a shining example for many of how we can overcome anything and rise higher than we perhaps every thought before.
.-= Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..14 Things I Can’t Live Without =-.

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Tess The Bold Life October 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Peggy,
Wow what an amazing story of your strength, healing and yoga. I’m amazed at power of your words combined with the yoga poses and their method of healing. I know you’re working on a book yet I think this story is a book in itself. Like Julie I could read you forever.

How blessed your girls are to have a living example of how to proceed, heal and triumph in life no matter what comes their way. I’m curious did you keep a journal during these times?

Thanks Lance you found another shining star!
.-= Tess The Bold Life´s Last Fabulous Post ..The In Crowd vs The Within Crowd =-.

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Sharmila October 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Lance, you do have a wonderful magnet with finding such lovely guests! 🙂 Thanks for hosting on your remarkable ~positive site! 😉
Peggy, I was so touched by your writing, and sharing, I almost don’t know what to say except thank you! Some of your journey pegs really helped me to see the process from my own health journey over the last year and a bit, and I am finally at that ‘walk in complete faith’ stage.. surrendering to the beautiful nothingness that is who we are 😉 It is amazing what it takes to really fall into grace, into Love and to then receive by staying immersed in this presence. You truly write beautifully and genuinely from the heart and I am grateful to have been blessed by your guest blog 😉 I will continue following your site as well 😉 Namaste~ Jen
.-= Sharmila´s Last Fabulous Post ..New Thoughts: Being and Non-Being.. =-.

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Jannie Funster October 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Incredible journey of ups and downs. Incredible woman of determination, courage and survival. Incredibly tough and resilient yoga mat of friendship, I have a feeling she will never give it up!

Very inspiring and told from your heart of hearts. Thanks, Peggy and thanks, Lance!
.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..10 Great Mysteries of the Universe, 2 =-.

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Joy October 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Peggy,
Thank you! You are courageous and bold, beautiful, witty….
My yoga mat is where I learn most about myself. I was afraid to even try yoga because I thought I had to be pure and clean in life…that was my first lesson, you come just as you are, to yoga, to life. And it just grew from there. The parallels between my practice and my life are amazing…I find if I challenge myself on the mat, I am prepared for challenges in life; if I’ve opened or released on the mat, something will open or release in life; if I am afraid on the mat, there is a fear in life to deal with. Last week I was diagnosed with cancer and went to my mat to see if I’m still “me”…..a sigh of relief I am and regardless of physical changes, I always will be:) I stood in Warrior and harnessed the power, I rested in Savasana and calmed my mind. Thank you for your inspiration!

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Jodi at Joy Discovered October 16, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Hi Lance, thank you for hosting Peggy here!
Peggy, this is a lovely and very moving post. The way you weave your life experiences through the yoga poses is brilliant. You are such a talented writer…this was like a chapter out of a really, really good book. I agree with Megan above, you are absolutely a hero. I love it that you feeeeel everything as it’s happening and then figure out how you will land on your feet-and then do it. Thank you for sharing more of your journey here! Best to you for a happy weekend! Jodi
.-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s Last Fabulous Post ..Love in All Directions =-.

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Wilma Ham October 16, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Phew, reading this has been a great gift, thank you both Peggy and Lance.
Yoga will never be the same to me, I never ever had a look into yoga like Peggy just offered.
Not that I ever thought much about yoga, exercises always had a bad press and my doing Pilates is just me going through the motions of keeping me flexible.
I might be missing something here! I will look at my Pilates a bit differently tomorrow and see what treasures I have left unfound.
Once again reading this beautiful so generously shared writing has been awesome, love to you both, Wilma
.-= Wilma Ham´s Last Fabulous Post ..What happens when instead of an old fashioned partner I become a sponsor. =-.

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Michelle October 16, 2009 at 9:01 pm

beautiful.

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Daphne @ Joyful Days October 16, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Peggy,

I came close to tears while reading your story. It’s not just the story itself which moved me, but your complete honesty and open-heartedness in telling it. Thank you so much. I especially love this line: “I learned that when I made decisions that were right for me they were also right for my daughters…even if they didn’t see it at the time.” So true that we cannot honour others if we don’t honour ourselves.

Lance,

At first I thought you’d taken up yoga! Lovely guest post as always.
.-= Daphne @ Joyful Days´s Last Fabulous Post ..What Makes A Good Relationship =-.

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Lisa's Chaos October 16, 2009 at 10:56 pm

They offer yoga at the cancer retreats I go to and I’ve always enjoyed it. I was first introduced at one of these retreats. 🙂
.-= Lisa’s Chaos´s Last Fabulous Post ..Don’t they mean plots? =-.

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Zeenat{Positive Provocations} October 16, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Hi Peggy,
What a beautiful story of your life. The way you write, the beauty, flow and melody of your words just touches the right chords in the heart. Being grounded in the time of adversity is the hardest thing to do. Yoga, has been my anchor too for a very long time. It especially helped during my pregnancy, when I really really physically suffered a lot with allergies, pains and aches. I know pregnancy is supposed to be a time for glow…but I didnt ….it was very hard on me. Thats when i started doing Yoga faithfully…and it helped. It reduced my physical pain..and calmed my mind, so that i could focus less of the physical hassles and more on the beautiful little angel inside me.
Somehow my faith in The Maker is my first constant anchor…and yoga comes immediately after 🙂

Lance,
Thank you for always finding the perfectly lovely souls to feature on your blog.
.-= Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s Last Fabulous Post ..My New Beginnings =-.

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Peggy Nolan October 17, 2009 at 7:28 am

Dear everyone – I am moved by your comments and I want to take the time to address each of you in a more personal way. I promise to jump back on here later tonight when my daughter has her future-in-laws to herself (she’s taking them to meet her dad…the ex in my story).

I never imagined this part of my story would have this kind of impact.

xxoo

Peggy
.-= Peggy Nolan´s Last Fabulous Post ..Guest Blogging =-.

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Jeanne October 17, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Thankyou so much Lance and Peggy

Blessings
Jeanne?
.-= Jeanne´s Last Fabulous Post ..Happy Sweetest Day =-.

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Tabitha@ichoosebliss October 17, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Peggy, you are amazing and I feel grateful that I was able to read your story.
.-= Tabitha@ichoosebliss´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Goings On In My Life =-.

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Keith October 17, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Hello Lance and Peggy,

Peggy, what a beautiful story of inner strength and courage. I am blessed today by having read your story and I thank you for sharing it, for being so transparent and genuine.
.-= Keith´s Last Fabulous Post ..Overload Your Life! =-.

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Laurie October 17, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Thanks Lance and Peggy for sharing this journey. Your courage, Peggy, inspires us all to weather the storms in life with hope and perseverance. There is a lady in my yoga class with a different type of cancer. The yoga seems helpful to her as well. I do yoga too, to help with anxiety and because bending like a pretzel is kind of fun. It’s amazing to me how it has emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits as well.

God bless your journey.

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Tim October 18, 2009 at 9:37 am

Lance:

Thank you for formally introducing us to Peggy. Peggy – I really enjoyed learning about how yoga helped you get through this challenging time in your life. About 10 years ago, my grandmother passed away and it was at this time that I took my first yoga class. I was amazed how different (and at peace) I felt as a result of taking the class and it helped me get through that time. I still have my yoga mat, but today I do more stretching than yoga. I know I need to focus on my breath a little more. These days, as I hit another challenging time in my life, I know I need to get back to a class. Thanks again!

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Peggy Nolan October 18, 2009 at 11:24 am

Hi Diane! Faith really does move mountains…mostly, the mountains we create in our heads!

Hi Juliet! Yoga truly is one of the best ways to connect your mind, body and spirit.

Hi Daphne! Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help your mom. You are an amazing daughter to want to help her!

Hi Angelia! Hugs hon! It is also a blessing to know you!

Hi Evelyn! Just when I think I’ve mastered patience, I have to learn it all over again! Or a new way to be when chaos swirls around me. Namaste!

Hi Cheryl! While I found my anchor in yoga, I found my warrior goddess in Thai Kickboxing…I just tested for and received my recommended black belt! I think we’re kindred spirits!!

Hi Stacey! I hope that I can be the kind of yoga teacher that teaches how much more yoga is than just the physical! Thank you for attesting to the power of yoga in times of struggle.

Namaste Erin! Finding the right yoga teacher for you is also important. There are many types of yoga and I have been fortunate to find two exceptional teachers along my journey. I hope you find the teacher that can show you how powerful yoga can be!

Hi Diantha! If my story helps one person, than YAY! Being able to focus my breath and my mind on my breath as I move through each posture is my way of gathering back the energy that belongs to me. Some of it is borrowed as I breathe in the energy around me, but with each exhale, I can only hope that I’m giving back!

Hi The Exception, Laura, Srinivas, Jannie, Lisa, Michelle, Tabitha, Keith, Lynn and Jay – thank you so much!

Hi SuZen! As I am always touched by your words also! Thank you ?

Hi Megan! You are a HERO! Never forget that!!

Hi Julie! My aged and very retired mat has mentored and welcomed in a new crew of mats…a pink one, a blue one and my very cool black one, which was a gift! Your compliments of my writing are very uplifting ~ thank you!

Hi Evita! Writing my journey has been incredibly healing! And seeing that it inspires and helps others is the icing on the cake. Thank you!

Hi Tess! Yes – I did keep a journal and most (if not all) of my essays are borne from my journal. Keeping my fingers crossed that my girls did learn a little something from my struggle!!

Hi Sharmila! You are very welcome! Namaste!

Hi Joy! Yoga is such an amazing teaching tool. I’ve learned so much about myself and how I deal with other people. Yoga is a come as you are practice, but when your daily practice is done, you leave your mat transformed. Others may not see the change right away, but the more you practice, the more pronounced the transformation. Cancer can not change who you are. Please let me know if there’s anything I can help with…

Hi Jodi! You inspire me to get that book finally written! Thank you for being one of my blog heros! ?

Hi Wilma! Do tell…did you find any hidden treasures in your pilates movements? As a teacher, I’ve learned how each yoga pose helps heals. What it’s good for, why it benefits you, how you benefit from it. And since everything is connected, it’s just wicked cool to see someone have their “a-ha” yoga moment!

Hi Daphne #2! Everytime I go within during my practice and have a decision looming, the inner focus really helps me tune into the answer. When I do this, it really is hard to make the wrong decision. When I get the ego out of the way and follow what my heart knows to be the truth, the decisions I make are made in peace and love. Not fear. That’s when I know they’re good decisions for me and those around me.

Hi Zeenat! Being grounded through adversity is tough! And some days are tougher than others. I am happy that you have found your yoga practice to be as every bit beneficial to you as mine is to me! Namaste!

Hi Laurie – secret: I kind of like that I can bend like Gumby. Although some twists aren’t as available to me as they were before I had surgery, I have very flexible hips and my forward folds leave my thai kickboxing friends rather speechless. (but then, they should be doing yoga with me…and they too would be a bit more flexible!)
.-= Peggy Nolan´s Last Fabulous Post ..Guest Blogging =-.

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Positive Gangsta October 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Sweet post. Peace of mind can come from yoga because it increase serenity!
.-= Positive Gangsta´s Last Fabulous Post ..17 Fundamental Tips on Successful Living Bitches =-.

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Lance October 18, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Peggy,
Thank you for your open and honest sharing here. It’s through stories like this, that not only do you find healing through putting your words on paper (so to speak), but it’s also all of us – who through your brave sharing – are more okay with our own selves. Selves that are sometimes broken, sometimes weary, sometime down. And you shine what IS possible, in connecting with something that grounds us, in what gives us faith and a belief in ourselves. And that is such a gift. Your story is moving on many levels, and especially for me – on the courage you’ve had to keep going forward. I find what you’ve shared to touch deeply on the human spirit, a spirit that is strong and filled with love.

It’s been an honor to have you here, sharing your story with all of us. You give me continued faith, in those moments that challenge us – that “this too shall pass…” rings ever true. Thank you for sharing your beautiful gift of yourself, here with all of us.

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Lance October 18, 2009 at 12:25 pm

All,
Thank you, everyone of you, for reading Peggy’s story – a story very much filled with hope and belief in what can be, and a belief in just how beautiful the human spirit is! I deeply appreciate you reading a story that was so moving for me to feature here this week.

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Jared | SpiritualZen.net October 19, 2009 at 9:27 am

Peggy,
Thanks for sharing your journey and inviting us along with you. I’ve been wanting to start Yoga with my wife for several years now. We joined a gym two weeks ago to get “vacation ready” and I start Yoga this Thursday. Reading your story is yet another reminder (among many) that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in my journey.

Oh, and the photo, Hanalei Bay Pier. Amazing place. My wife and I got married on Kauai and spent most of our wedding day afternoon sitting on that Pier and watching the surfers and sun set.
.-= Jared | SpiritualZen.net´s Last Fabulous Post ..Racism and Spiritual Growth =-.

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Marelisa October 19, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Hi Peggy: Yoga is a great reminder of how closely related our body, mind, and soul are. We live in a society in which most people live in their heads and try to solve all their problems by thinking; but sometimes the best thing you can do is quiet the mind and let the body take the lead.
.-= Marelisa´s Last Fabulous Post ..Have You Thought of Taking a Sabbatical? =-.

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Hilary October 20, 2009 at 2:45 am

Hi Peggy and Lance – good to meet you and what an uplifting story – congratulations on your approach .. maybe it wasn’t easy initially (it doesn’t sound it) but you had faith in your mat and yourself – and it is so wonderful you can share with us. I’m pleased to have read this now.

Yoga is something I’ve never done – being a squash, tennis player etc, not a runner either – but now I need to loosen my muscles and I’m considering yoga – your descriptions of your healing experiences with your mat encourage me.

I love that quote – impose yourself on life, or others’ lives will impose theirs ..

Thanks really interesting –
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
.-= Hilary´s Last Fabulous Post ..Grovel at Gravel … Recipe for a Moss Milkshake … =-.

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jen October 20, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Peggy/Lance,
I wish I’d had yoga 11 years ago when I was going through my divorce. I know yoga has healing power, but I’ve never heard it put like this. Rarely do people open up this much of their souls on blogs, Peggy. I’m glad you did. You’ll be rewarded for it, I’m sure, in ways you may never know. That seems to be the way it goes. With great risk comes great rewards. Bless you and bless Lance for providing a forum for the best of the Blogosphere.
.-= jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..manhood for amateurs and "domesticated gen x males" [excerpt] =-.

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Peggy Nolan October 21, 2009 at 5:37 am

Hi Jared! Your body is going to love yoga! Have fun in your first class tomorrow!

Hi Marelisa! I used to live in my head until I learned that our bodies remember everything. Whether it’s a physical injury or an emotional one. That was a big learning a-ha for me!

Hi Hilary! I hope you give yoga a chance. Your body will thank you 🙂

Hi Jen! We all find our way when we’re ready…The biggest thing that yoga helps me with is keeping my peace and poise of mind. Namaste!
.-= Peggy Nolan´s Last Fabulous Post ..FNLEHPY =-.

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