Saturday, May 3, 2014

Yoga Saved My Life (A Post in the Real Men Do Yoga Series)

Photo via Yoga Dudes.

I love hearing stories about yogis whose lives have been completely transformed by the practice of yoga. Sometimes it takes being in total darkness to fully understand our need for the light.

Through yoga, we become aware of our need to heal, and what practices we can adopt in order to heal ourselves.

Photo via Yoga Dudes.
Early on in the exploration of yoga, that healing generally manifests physically: we begin new eating, exercise and relaxation practices that help us treat our bodies with kindness. Then, when we don't resist it, yoga will take us to a much deeper place of healing; it offers us a chance to connect with our spirit, and to carry our practice off the mat and into every aspect of life.

Recently I've encountered the stories of two men whose lives were forever changed by yoga, and I'm inspired to share them as part of the Real Men Do Yoga series. I'm encouraged by their humility and strength, their willingness to shed the ego.

Photo via Kim's website. 

Musician Hank Kim used to be overweight, smoking a pack a day and feeling completely stunted creatively and spiritually. Then he committed to his yoga practice, eventually feeling himself open to his personal spiritual evolution and shed layer upon layer of inauthenticity. This year, he's releasing an album of ambient indie rock music with his band Silvery Ghosts.

"I started in a place of mourning and find myself now in a place of hope and excitement," Kim says. "All of the twists and turns of the past were necessary for me to find my voice as a singer and an artist."

Abundance follows healing. I love hearing stories that confirm this. Another eye-opening story about the power of yoga comes from journalist Brad Willis, known now as Bhava Ram.

A broken back and failed surgery crippled and disabled Ram, forcing him into early retirement. Subsequently, a rare and fatal form of cancer, most likely contracted while covering the Persian Gulf War, spread throughout his body. On the brink of death, he embraced Yoga in all of its aspects, fully devoting his life to studying and practicing mind/body medicine, self-healing and personal transformation. This journey led to overcoming constant pain, and ultimately healing from stage four cancer.

Today Ram is an influential yoga teacher, healer, and speaker who works with Kripalu, Yoga Journal, and other conferences.

How has yoga transformed your life? I'd love to hear!

As always, if you're interested in participating in the Real Men Do Yoga series, feel free to shoot me an email at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com. Namaste.

Photo via Yoga Dudes.

PS Chris Grosso's book Indie Spiritualist is another amazing tale of how you can hit rock bottom and overcome addiction as you seek spiritual growth. It never ceases to amaze me the ways in which yoga can save your life once you become open to the practice, this beautiful way of approaching life.

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