Ashtanga yoga is the thread holding me together in early sobriety. First, it gives me a safe base where I am not judged and I do not judge anyone else. It gives me purpose each day. Since cravings or triggers can happen at any time, I now have a priority that stands taller than my addiction. Yoga has also brought up curiosity in my mind. I question the poses, breathe, and focus. For the first time in a very long time, I am not afraid to learn about religions or spiritual matters and explore what my soul craves. Each practice feels like solving math problems with my whole body. It is hard and frustrating, but feels fantastic once something clicks. There is no end result. It is a lifestyle. Lastly, yoga provides a healthy community. We are all on our own paths, but we stand together with the same goal – to be better people.

It has been seven months since I checked myself into rehab. I had hit rock bottom and felt isolated and alone. I felt used up and worthless after working in a nightclub for two years and thinking my only thing of value was my body. But something in me knew there was a way out; I just cannot do it alone. My therapist gave me Taylor Hunt’s book, Away from Darkness. A dim light began to grow inside me. I was hopeful.

It took me almost a month to get the courage to go to a class, but I did it. It was so intimidating. I am a performing artist with a degree in dance…how embarrassing that I can’t do these poses. Today, I got up at 4:45am for a led class. That used to always be my bedtime. I am only four months in and I am stuck on Marichyasana D, but I am no longer discouraged. I am so proud of myself for not running away. I have beautiful people who say hello and ask me how I am doing. This is still such a new community and lifestyle and of course I fear it. Will I keep coming? Am I capable of this kind of discipline? I take it day by day. One thing I do know is that I have changed. I am moving closer to the path I am meant for. Even on the bad days, I know I have found a very strong thread.

Written by an Ashtanga Yoga Columbus student in recovery