Personal Transformation Through Yoga

Written by Santos Casiano
I lived with depression, anxiety and poor health throughout my teenage and most of my adult life.  Even through all of that I knew that I needed to make positive changes in my life but I did not know what, where or how to begin to make those changes.  Yet this unexplainable feeling deep within me knew that I needed to start this journey as soon as possible.

CC8_4988I was guided to a lady who practiced yoga and meditation and she shared with me the benefits that she had gained from years of practice. So I began to research both subjects.  During the time of my research I “accidentally” took a wrong turn as I drove through Uptown on my way home from work.  That wrong turn led me right in front of the Uptown studio.  I circled three times before deciding to stop and walk in to learn more about yoga but the doors were locked and I thought “whew, that wasn’t meant to be.”  I went on home but Sunstone kept crossing my mind from that point forward.

About two months or so later, the feeling that I needed to learn more about yoga overwhelmed me and I decided to look up Sunstone Yoga on the web.  I was surprised to learn that there was a studio in Plano, not far from where I had just recently relocated.  And then I made the choice  to call.  And then I made the choice to go and take my first practice.  I was terrified!

Image-Join-5I walked into the studio with my head filled with so many negative thoughts about myself, what I was about to do and about yoga practice its self.  But I bit the bullet and walked right into that 90 degree yoga studio.  The negative thoughts continued as I laid down on the mat waiting for practice to begin.  I remember thinking to myself, “God, please let the teacher be a female and let her be kind, patient and nonjudgmental.”  In my mind, after several tries of working with trainers at a gym, I thought, “if it’s a guy and he’s built like a muscle head trainer from the gym, I swear I’m walking out of here.” And then Andy, my very first yoga teacher, walked in.  At first I thought, “great, it’s a dude.”  And again, negative thoughts filled my head.  But instead of hearing “don’t be a sissy, just do it!”  I heard phrases like “honor your body where it is, take a deep breath, this is your practice,” and so on.  And something inside of me clicked.

Yes, it was very difficult and there were many moments when I just wanted to walk out in the middle of class.  But I kept coming.  Inconsistently, but I kept coming.  And at one point, after many practices, I began to notice how my mind would find quiet times when it wasn’t overwhelmed with racing thoughts.  My friends and coworker’s started to comment on how I was starting to “glow” and how my body was changing.  One evening during practice about a year or so into my yoga journey, after a very difficult and emotionally charged day, the most amazing thing happened.  I will never forget it.

I was having trouble with all of my postures and nothing seem to be going right at all.  I kept falling out of every single pose.  I literally came so close to walking out and I was so angry with myself.  Then came triangle pose (at the time, my most challenging pose).  I moved into triangle pose, left arm down, right arm up.  As i painfully held it there and looked up, something came over me and I just whispered, “God, please take my hand.”  And all of a sudden I felt something that started at the tip of my middle finger as it reached for the ceiling and traveled down my arm and into my heart center in what felt like a millisecond.  The moment I felt it in my heart center I began crying like a baby.  But I held my pose even though tears were streaming down my face. Thankfully it was hot yoga and I was sweating bullets so the tears mixed in well with my sweat.

I finished the 90 minutes and finally stopped crying when I came down into Savasana.  I tried to figure out what had just happened and why I broke down the way I did.  Finally a feeling came over me and I said to my to just let it be.  It was finished.  That night was the first night that I can remember ever sleeping so sound and deeply.  I slept the entire night without waking up and the next morning I felt so incredibly light and at peace.  It felt as if some sort of heavy weight had been removed from my inside of me.  It was the most amazing thing that I had ever experienced before.  My love and appreciation for yoga deepened that day.  And that very same day I decided that one day I would learn to teach yoga. So, last summer I completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training course and now I sometimes find myself teaching folks who are interested and unable to pay.

Please understand.  I am no where near as flexible as many of my fellow yogis, teachers and students alike, that I have had the honor of meeting throughout my journey.  In fact, if you were to watch me practice it may even seem that it is my very first time in a yoga studio.  But I have come a long way and I will continue to move forward in my yoga journey.  Making the decision to walk into the Sunstone Yoga studio all those years ago was the best decision that I have ever made thus far in my life.  I found myself on my yoga mat. Forever a yogi.
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