Mark - Laingsburg, Michigan
Entered on February 24, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: sports
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I believe in yoga. It has significantly impacted my life, allowing me to live a more active lifestyle.

While I have known this for some time, it became abundantly clear as I caught the eye of the man I would have to maneuver by to get to my window seat. There was no need to exchange words, as I could see the pain in his eyes. It is a pain I am all too familiar with. He grimaced as he tried to lift himself slightly out of his seat to move his legs just a little so I could slip by. I could feel his pain as I edged by him.

As we both settled in we shared the usual niceties, but not a word was spoken about his pain. Just the day before we had both been skiing in the mountains of Colorado, he with his old college buddies, me with my son. But today, I was standing tall and he was writhing in pain. This is why I believe in yoga. For a significant portion of my adult life I suffered with lower back pain. It had progressed to the point where it was not uncommon to be flat on my back for a week at time. I constantly worked to get better, taking off excess weight, working with a physical therapist, and daily stretching. It wasn’t until I began to practice yoga that there was a long lasting solution. In hindsight it is easy to see – the weight loss helped, the physical therapy helped, the stretching helped. But it was the yoga that allowed me to get back to the physical activities I love such as hiking, water skiing and downhill skiing.

As I sat on the plane I recalled that I originally signed up for yoga because I believed the stretching would help – which it did. What I didn’t know about at the time was core strengthening and how that would later allow me to twist and turn my way down the mountain. What I also didn’t know about at the time was how yoga would help to improve my balance and how that would come into play when unexpected bumps on the mountain would unsuccessfully attempt to throw me to the ground. Most of all I didn’t understand the confidence and spiritual balance yoga would provide, allowing me to live my life to the fullest.

I shared this story with my plane mate. He shared with me that he had an appointment with his chiropractor as soon as he got off the plane.