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How Yoga Helped Me Surrender

The more I immerse myself in yoga, the more I understand the concept of union.

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On a stormy winter night in 2013, I was jolted awake: A pipe had burst, and the house was flooding. At the time, I was caring for my father, who’d had a stroke; worrying about my husband, who needed a kidney transplant; and mothering three children. That was on top of my job in a school library and everything else that went with keeping a home running.

I stood at the bottom of the wrap-around stairs in the hallway of our house and just buckled. Women, especially women of color, are taught to stay strong and press on. That’s not what I needed. I needed help. Through tears, I asked my husband, “Who’s taking care of the caregivers while we’re taking care of everybody else?”

It was then that I found Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21-day meditation program, which made me curious about asana. My first vinyasa class spoke to my soul. I attended a 10-day silent meditation retreat the next year. And in 2017, I did my first 200-hour yoga teacher training.

A year later, I signed up for a trauma-informed yoga training. There, I met a woman and her partner who were kidney donors. They helped my husband find a kidney—and they became like family. Last year, they took care of me when my husband had his transplant in the middle of the pandemic.

Yoga and meditation have given me a sense of peace and joy. When I asked for help from a place of stillness, it was amazing the way help showed up. The more I immerse myself in yoga, the more I understand the concept of union: that we are a community.

—As told to Caitlin Carlson

This story is part of Yoga Journal’s Special Report: How Yoga Can Improve Your Mental Health

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