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A yogi with implants December 18, 2008

Posted by admin in : Health Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , 4comments

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There seems to be a lot of controversy in the yoga community as to whether or not a yogi should undergo breast augmentation, but who is to say what is right or wrong when it comes to someone else’s body? We all have the freedom to do as we choose, but yogis tend to be judged more harshly because having something artificial surgically implanted in the body does not fall in line with the basic core principals of the traditional yogic lifestyle, as described in the Yoga Sutra of Pantanjali.

I found myself at a crossroad about a year ago when I went in for a consultation to speak to a plastic surgeon about getting implants. I spent hours on the internet researching everything there was to know and there was a ton of comprehensive information on what type of implants to get, what size, risks, costs, sensitivity, side effects, types of incisions, saline vs. silicone, complications, testimonials, and how to choose the right plastic surgeon, but nothing made mention to the fact that my body would spend the rest of its life trying to break down the silicone-rubber shells because the body’s ego-system would never accept the implants  as part of the natural order of life within the body.  

No matter which way I looked at it or how I tried to rationalize it in my mind, the bottom line was I was going to pay thousands of dollars for something I wasn’t even sure my body would accept. Had it been a year sooner, I probably would have done it, but I was being pulled towards a more holistic way of living and my conscience would no longer allow me to go through with it. It seemed hypocritical for me to preach about how bad partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and paraben chemicals were for the body and then turn around and have artificial breasts implanted in mine. It seemed to go against everything I believed in as a yogi so I had to consider my reasoning for wanting to get it done and what the implications would be if I went through with it. 

Yoga wasn’t just about the physical asana practice…it was about every aspect of my being.  It was about making an effort to live up to a certain standard that supported an overall healthy disposition because yoga wasn’t just an age-old sacred practice, but a healing art and highly respected philosophy.  The Eight Limbs of Yoga, as described by Pantanjali, seemed to endorse an overall healthy lifestyle and a more fulfilling and meaningful life so I could easily see how following the 10 steps could lead to virtuous transformation and self-realization. I wanted to uphold the core values as closely as possible and getting implants didn’t seem to be in integrity with the values I was trying to uphold as a yogi. 

I really wanted to go through with the surgery, but I also wanted to embody the art of right living and the sacred union between the mind, body, and spirit as much as possible so I realized I needed to look at the root of why I was feeling self-conscious and heal whatever insecurities I had before making the decision to move forward.   

Through a committed yoga practice, I got more in touch with my body and in the process, I learned how to love myself and build confidence I never had growing up. I finally felt good in my body for the first time in years and although I still wanted the surgery, I made the decision not to go through with it, but that’s not to say others should do the same, as we are all walking along different spiritual paths. We need to make decisions based on what’s best for our own bodies and it’s not for anyone else to judge.

We live in a world where beautiful models and porn stars are idolized, but even they are not perfect. We all have insecurities or hang-ups and we can’t compare ourselves to the celebrities we see on television. Our world is so judgmental; it’s no wonder we never feel good enough. It was important for me to be able to love myself and be happy in my own body so I had to let go of the self-defeating thought patterns I had grown accustomed to as a child.

Everybody has the right to feel beautiful and if that means undergoing surgery than so be it. It’s just important to think long and hard about what’s right for you because breast augmentation is a big decision and you might be judged as a yogi, but it’s your body so it’s your decision…just make sure you’re making an informed decision so there are no regrets later.

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Face your Fear December 8, 2008

Posted by admin in : Fun Times Tags:, , , , , add a comment

Before I got my bike back from storage, which was just a recreation bike, my friend let me borrow her mountain bike and I fell in love with it. I no longer had the desire to ride around casually, as I wanted to go out for long rides where I could feel the muscles burn as my feet slowly and steadily pedaled their way up an incline a good size hill. I liked the challenge of a good climb, as there was nothing better than getting to the top and then coasting down the other side as currents of wind whirled around me. It was an absolute rush and invigorating in every sense of the word.

I decided I was going to start putting a little money aside each week so I could buy my own bike. I started shopping around and getting as much information as possible so I could make an informed decision when it came time to buy. One of the bike specialist asked me how often I rode the trails so he could help me figure out what type of tires to get and I laughed because I had actually never been on a trail. I had always wanted to, but was scared of getting seriously injured so I just stuck to the road. Well, I got to thinking about it when I got home and thought I should probably get out and ride one to see if I even liked it, as there was no sense in souping up a bike if I wasn’t planning on taking it off-road.

Well that was that! I got my gear together and off I went. I was happy to see there was a separate trail for each level, but I was still a little weary when I saw the narrow passage and the steep incline of what was marked as the beginner’s trail. I sat at the start of it with my fingers pressed in to the break, as my knuckles turned white and my feet ground to the earth. There was a tinge of excitement, but I was mostly scared to death. I kept thinking what would happen if I wrecked or flipped off my bike and whacked my head in to a tree? There wasn’t a soul around…just me, the trail, and the sound of my own heart.

The last time I remember feeling that way was when I went propelling for the first time.  I remember thinking right before I took my first step off the face of the rock, “Oh my God…I could totally die right now…what am I doing…this is crazy…well if I died, then it was meant to be, but I can’t live my life in fear so I had to trust in the Universe and in my higher soul so I went for it.” I prayed to God to keep me safe and then down I went and it was the absolute best feeling in the world when my feet finally touched the ground and I looked up and saw the massive rock I had just conquered. It was a thrill like no other and I’ll remember that high for the rest of my life, as I felt fearless and powerful in a way I can’t quite describe. 

Standing at the start of the beginner’s trail left me feeling the same, but I knew I had to face my fear or else I would always be afraid. Fear has no place in the company of trust so I knew had to look the dark looming shadow straight in the face and just go for it so I said a little prayer and then slowly eased my hand off the break. Before I could even think about what was going to happen next, my bike was flying down the trail, as I screamed silently aloud.

The whole way down the trail I screamed, “Holy crap…what were you thinking…you are totally out of your mind…oh my God I’m going to die…this was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done…I’m going to end up in the emergency room and I don’t even have insurance…whoa…oh my God…this is dangerous and scary and I’m never doing this again…whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…I’m insane…oh my Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooood…what did I think I was going to prove by doing this…please…let me get out of this alive…don’t let me die on this trail…oh man…”

Well, I didn’t die and when I finally got to the end of the trail I was completely out of breath and my heart pumping vigorously, but guess what I said? “WOW that was AWESOME…what an intense rush…I wanna do it again!!!” And again I did.

Don’t let fear stop you from living your life…take a walk on the wild side…look fear straight in the face and go for it…trust in yourself and embrace the fear, as it will transform in to something more powerful than you ever imagined.

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Survival Instinct December 3, 2008

Posted by admin in : Gratitude Tags:, , , , , , , , add a comment

The night before Thanksgiving I received a phone call from my younger brother and I could tell by the tone of his voice that something was terribly wrong. My mom was in the emergency room. She just finished dinner with her husband and was admiring Gus, her beloved boxer/lab mix, as he licked the remains of the dessert bowl. She was proud to have such an amazing spirit in her life and there was definitely a lot of love between them, as she always treated him more like a friend than an animal. She wrapped her arms around his neck in a very loving way, which she had done a million times before, but for whatever reason he violently turned on her and attacked her face.  

I’ve never in my entire life heard my mother so shaken, as she is one of the strongest people I know. She’s compassionate and loving, but she’s tough and it takes a lot for something to get to her. She has over 30 years experience as a critical care nurse, IV therapy nurse, oncology nurse, emergency nurse and as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She is also a certified trauma expert specializing in post traumatic stress disorder so nothing phases this woman, as she is a rock when it comes to dealing with emotional and psychological trauma, but this affected her in a way I can’t even describe.

The muscle tissue in her face had to be reconstructed by a plastic surgeon and then the skin of her cheek sutured back on. She received a total of 100 stitches so she will have a scar that will be with her long after the bruising and swelling subside. The body has a miraculous way of shutting down around pain so the body initially went in to shock to protect her. The doctors then gave her lidocaine to numb the affected area and when it wore off she had prescription pain killers, but when it’s all said and done and the physical pain is gone, she will still be left with a deep emotional scar that might not ever heal. 

I don’t know why this happened, but my mother had an incredible love for her dog and it will probably take her a really long time to trust him again. Gus was rescued from Hurricane Katrina so it was probably just his survival instincts kicking in from a time when he was starving on the streets and having to fend for himself, but understanding why doesn’t necessarily make it any better. I would be an absolute mess if something so devastating happened to me yet my mother got right back up and was able to face life almost immediately. 

It wasn’t even 24 hours after the accident and she was trying to find the silver lining and the greater meaning in it all. Her focus was on the gifts of the experience and not on the tragedy of what happened. As a health care professional, she was impressed with the quality of service she received from the doctors and nurses. She was grateful Gus missed her lip, nose, and eye as it could have been a lot worse and she was actually thankful for the pain, as it meant no nerve damage. Most people I know would have put their dog down yet my mother was able to find compassion for Gus because she knew he felt terrible for what he did.

My mother believes that if we are afraid of pain or discomfort, we will never change. We have to be willing to embrace the chaos in our lives, listen to the pain, and transform it in to joy, as there are gifts in every challenge. She knows we are never given more than we can handle so she keeps fighting and if she falls down, she gets back up. If anyone ever had a reason to give up, it would be my mom, as she has lived through more grief than anyone I know, but somehow she perseveres. She is a fighter through and through and I am proud to be her daughter and I’m honored to know such a strong powerful spirit.

We should never take life for granted and we should be thankful for the gifts and all the beautiful blessings in our lives. Suffering will never cease to exist so we have to make the best of every situation. It’s the choices we make when life hands us a curve ball that truly make a difference. You hear so many people fall in to the trap of feeling sorry for themselves…always asking why…why is this happening to me, but it’s life and it happens…for better or for worse. We have to surrender and make peace with the chaos so don’t give up. Get back up and keep going.  

 

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