Whatever we believe in, Yoga brings us closer to our mind, body and spirit, as well as to something bigger than us. All for the sake of healing and thriving. Here's how.
I've been recently thinking about how faith helps us heal. Some of us believe in God, a prophet or an unnamed force, others are attached to love or their own willpower, and so on. Whatever our belief system, it helps us surpass difficult circumstances and ourselves.
Faith was never part of my consciousness as a child. My mom is a non-practicing Catholic and my dad was an atheist. When I was ten, they both did their best to explain God to me, and imparted that I could always choose my religion –if any- once I was a grown up. A few years later, I asked my parents to sign me up to a Catholic teen summer camp in the beautiful mountainous region of Auvergne. At school, I had made friends with practicing Catholics, and was hoping to connect with their religious traditions. I had fun camping in a beautiful nature with my friends, while nothing much happened for me on a religious level.
It took almost 30 years for things to change. Being diagnosed with my first cancer and discovering yoga blew the lid open on my blockages to belief. The shock of the illness opened the door to my vulnerability, while yoga helped me undo stress, unknot tensions, and unite my body and mind.
At times, I also started experiencing -just like any person who practices yoga-, what Garrett Sarley, a senior teacher at Kripalu, the U.S. largest yoga center, calls “integrated functioning”. That’s when what you think, what you feel, what you say, and what you do are all the same and aligned.
This alignment, which is a powerful realm, started giving me access to insights on what I felt at the deepest level, on how to move forward, and on my connection to something bigger than me.
Today, I believe in the universe and its natural flow, in the power of joy and the acceptance of life -all of life- including its sorrows, which are opportunities to become more of who we are.
My «faith» has even guided me in making life changing medical decisions. In 2014 when I was faced with my second breast cancer, a medical panel made up of twelve experts -doctors, radiologists, and more- all met to determine the best treatment option for me. After much discussion, they collectively agreed that a mastectomy was the way to go. For me, that option felt physically, emotionally and spiritually inadequate. I knew in my gut and in my soul that it wasn't what I needed. Against all odds, I refused it and decided for a lumpectomy instead. My choice came from within and from that something bigger than me. Something that I listened to and trusted. Today even my oncologist, who was part of the original panel and against my choice back then, is happy about my decision and results.
May 2017 bring you integrated functioning, and that deeper connection to yourself and, why not, to that something bigger than you.