Yoga, my dearest friend. Part 2.

When practitioners take a look back, discovering yoga often marks the beginning of healing in some way, shape or form – and remains among the reasons for their dedication. Dianne Rutstein, RYT 200, owner of Stillpoint Yoga Studios in King of Prussia, tells how finding yoga helped her realize health after her battle with lymphoma in this second of a three-part series.

Part 2. When you saved me.

The funny thing about cancer is how much it changes you. Forever. It changes your outlook on life, on love, any relationship you will ever have, any choices you will ever make. There is no belief that you are invincible anymore because anything can happen at any time. I continued on with life after being told I was in remission, now 20 years old. I went back to college and graduated with my BS degree in Fashion Merchandising. I built my strength back up and my hair continued to grow in. I didn’t talk about what I had been through much, I truly just wanted to move on and be like “normal.” I wanted to escape this nightmare that occurred and just go on. I always had drive and focus; I always had my eyes on the prize, but now even more so.

I moved to NYC after college and held a great job, met a guy (and now my husband), and travelled. I lived and I loved! But this emotional and physical journey was far from over. While in NYC, I walked often, refusing public transportation on most occasions. I joined a gym though unhappily dragged myself there. I really wanted to be active and healthy as I read more on the importance of diet, exercise and disease prevention. Eventually, I decided to try this “Yoga” I had heard about. My first experience was negative with a teacher who just was not in it for the right reasons (read: he wanted to meet chicks). But over the next few years in NYC and then Florida and then back to my hometown of Philly, I tried different studios and different teachers.

I loved the physicality and the challenges classes brought to me. I committed to a series of classes at a studio (which coincidentally I now own!) and I was so hooked and so connected. There was a beautiful community with teachers who truly had a deep-rooted love for yoga that was infectious. In my third or fourth class I realized that no doubt, I was going to teach yoga someday. I had to live this and share this unbelievable gift with others. I had been a dancer throughout my childhood and most of high school. I loved the ability and challenge to move your body expressively as it was always the one thing that took me away from everything else going on in life. Now here was my discovery of Yoga, a true gift. My weeks wrapped around getting out of my stressful corporate jobs with never ending hours and getting in to the next class. I once again really felt alive! My trouble sleeping and nightmares began to fade until eventually it became a rarity that they occurred. And if I did fall into a panic, I suddenly had the control and the skills to calm myself, either with my breath, my intention or gentle Yoga stretches and postures.

With all of this work on my strength and finding inner connection, I had a bit of an epiphany. While hiking in Maine with my husband we were lost somewhere on a mountain trail. Unprepared, 6 hours in and nearing sundown, we kept our hopes up while delirium set in. As we wandered and weaved desperately to find where we started I had a huge smile on my face. For the first time I acknowledged my healing. How you can be so absolutely low and be so gifted later. I truly could not walk a quarter mile after the cancer and treatments were done with me. I had been pale and out of shape and had fleeting energy, and here I was many years later and it finally hit me that indeed, I was healed. I was alive and I was energetic and I realized that we could heal ourselves in diet and exercise and living and breathing and really treating ourselves like the wonderful creations that we are. I often wonder when I see the person who smokes cigarettes, drinks too much soda, and eats too much junk food, but then spends an incredible amount of time keeping their car waxed and polished, tune ups on a regular basis, only the best for this material piece in their lives. They are out of shape and really not feeling great, but surviving. What if they put that much effort into their own selves with “tune-ups” and good eating and activity? Had they ever imagined that they might feel even better? Is it true that we all must hit rock bottom before we make a change? We are our best gift; let’s treat ourselves as best we can.

So with this new realization, I decided to go head on into my newfound Yogic journey, to discover what is next. The love story was just beginning.

Dianne is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Owner at Stillpoint Yoga Studios in King of Prussia, PA.  She loves to love, loves life, yoga, outdoor adventures and her family. She is leading a Rock n Roll Vinyasa to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (100% proceeds to LLS) on April 12, 2015.  Please visit www.stillpointyogastudios.com for more information. Please feel free to connect with Dianne on Facebook, as she would love to connect and hear your stories!

 

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