A volunteer yoga program at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego is bettering the lives of its oncology kids.
The cornflower-blue sleeper sofa. The formica closet. The tea cart clanking by. Jaymee Jiao will never forget the eight months she spent living in this hospital room with her son Savior-Makani Jiao as he underwent around-the-clock treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. But today, the rambunctious two-and-a-half-year-old is in remission, and he’s arrived at his former bedroom at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital in a red plastic Radio Flyer. “I had to buckle him in because he was going crazy downstairs,” Jiao says when we meet, exhaling. It’s true: Right now, Savior’s energy could fuel a turbine. The familiar nurses who pass by gush over his vivacity and thick, wavy tuft of black hair. You’d never guess that just last year he was undergoing chemotherapy full time.
Five months post-discharge, Jiao is settling into life back at home with her husband and four children, of whom Savior is the youngest. She is visibly tired, yet cheerful. Atop her left shoulder is a large, tight lump, and she points it out, pulling on it as if it might loosen and slip off. “I carry my stress physically,” she says with a shrug.
Also in Savior’s old hospital room is volunteer yoga teacher Liz Fautsch, a smiling brunette who worked weekly with Jiao to ease tension and stress while she was holed up at Rady. “Your shoulder is looking better!” Fautsch encourages. Jiao nods. “Yoga helped relieve my shoulder and back pain,” she tells me. “And,” she says, lowering her voice a little, “it would take my mind off things when we were having a bad day.” But between school drop-offs and shuttling her …
Nothing is more annoying during a vinyasa flow than a zipper stabbing you in the thigh during revolved lunge. Or what about during a yin class when the elastic waist feels a little too tight in your supine twists? Uncomfortable clothing can quickly take you out of your meditative state. Avoid that problem all-together with these trendy and extremely comfortable pieces perfect for identifying yogi males.
Finding herself homeless and miles away from her daughter, Cleo Childress discovered abundance through yoga.
On a cold, dark winter night six years ago, I was shivering in the backseat of my car, parked behind a Publix Super Market in a northern suburb of Orlando. I was scared and alone. I knew something needed to change because I’d never reached such a low point in my life. I was struggling financially: I didn’t have any savings. Swamped with debt, I could barely pay my bills. I was embarrassed and ashamed. As a single mom, I felt like I had failed my daughter. “How did I get here?” I wondered.
I was homeless.
No one knew at the time. I told my friends and family that I needed time to train for a new job—which was true—but I used that as an excuse to send my daughter to stay with my sister in my hometown of Nashville. This was the first time we were apart, but I wanted to shield her from the stress. Despite this unthinkable situation, deep down in my soul I knew that this was a test and I needed to pass it to unlock the next level of my life. This wasn’t the end of my story.
Then I ended up in Orlando for a new job opportunity, with my daughter in Nashville, and a car for a home. As I returned to sleep in my car every night, I discovered what was missing. I was just existing and not doing anything that made me truly happy.
On a whim, I participated in a yoga challenge on Instagram and then started practicing on my own. While living in my …
Brad Wetzler found himself over-medicated, in a fog, and uncomfortable in his own skin. But yoga reminded him how to open his heart and feel whole again.
When I turned 38, I found myself in a bind. The intermittent depression that had haunted me since my teens had become more frequent and severe. I was taking a lot of medications to treat it. Antidepressants, first. When the drugs didn’t relieve my pain, I pleaded with my psychiatrist for a higher dose, and then to try another, stronger med. And then another. Until I took 12 different meds, 25 pills per day. I’d been a successful magazine writer and editor who’d traveled the world on assignment for the New York Times, Newsweek, and more. I’d been an intrepid traveler to remote and extreme places. The drugs stole it all from me. I disappeared into a fog. The drugs caused me to slur my speech. I tripped when I walked. I couldn’t ride a bike without falling over. It was so bad that my wife hid my bike. I went to bed. For seven years.
And then my life really began to unravel. My 15-year marriage to my journalism grad-school sweetheart ended. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. A dear friend whom I considered a little brother killed himself with an overdose. I was estranged from my real brother and father because of my anger about old issues. The worst part: I couldn’t feel a thing. I was cut off from my heart and couldn’t cope with the quickening changes. What do I mean?
After building the perfect life in DC, debilitating anxiety drained Paige Pichler of her power and strength. Here, how yoga helped her start over and feel worthy again.
Fully recovered from a years-long battle with an eating disorder, I had created the life of my dreams in Washington, DC. I thought everything had finally fallen into place; I worked at a powerful Capitol Hill law firm during the day and ran and lifted weights at night. I was in shape, successful, and relatively happy.
But, while everything looked great from the outside, the constant pressure I put on myself while creating this career didn’t go away. I was type A, quick to move, and even quicker to worry. I worried constantly about being good enough. I never felt secure in my work and used every minute of my schedule to make a name for myself. The mental battle took its toll, and finally, one night, alone in the emergency room at 4 a.m., I found out I had mono.
I lost all of my strength, and my anxiety went from manageable to debilitating. Rigorous exercise had been an outlet; suddenly, I couldn’t even walk to work because I needed to conserve energy. Crying took up most of my time, even at the office. After months of searching for a solution, I turned to the last option: moving back home to Milwaukee.
I slowly rebuilt my life with a new job at a boutique public relations firm and restored my health after countless doctor visits. I decided to train for a half marathon. I wanted to prove to myself that, even though my physical strength was no longer at its peak, I was still tough. I began training, running for hours at a time. Eventually, my body begged for restoration. …
Here, five standout stories of recovery and renewal.
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Today, we’re highlighting people from around the world who are incorporating yoga into their lives.
International Day of Yoga lands on June 21, which coincides with the first official day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Today, we’re highlighting people from around the world who are incorporating yoga into their lives. Keep reading to see yogis on each continent (and yes—we even got Antarctica, too!)
“Please take a moment everyday to remind yourself that you’re enough. Personally, I do so through a 10 minute meditation every morning and it works for me. It’s important to have this kind of approval from within before you go out to meet the world for it can sometimes be falsely unaccepting and cruel to your different.”
As a child, Ebony Smith survived sexual assault but didn’t have the tools to cope with the trauma until years later, when she found yoga. Now, she’s bringing the practice to her community, and others in crisis.
Exactly 247 people came to practice yoga with me today. Why is that such a big deal? Well, it means that I’m a badass. But to fully understand, you have to learn more about me and my community.
The practice of yoga powerfully changed my life. I went from being an alcoholic, Xanax-poppin’ college dropout to traveling the world to inspire others to be the greatest versions of themselves.
I was born and raised in Dallas, and was eight-years-old the first time I was sexually abused by my neighbor. That year I was also sentenced to my first in-house suspension. I didn’t have the tools to cope with the trauma, and I was punished for it. I became a menace in my elementary school. Teachers didn’t want me in class, so they placed me in an ESL class instead (English is my first language). The ESL teacher drank cold coffee all day. She spoke in Spanish (which I didn’t understand) and seated me in a cubicle I couldn’t see over or around. Needless to say, I didn’t learn anything that year. I grew more disenchanted with school. Nobody asked what was going on with me.
My dysfunction bled into adulthood. By the time I was 29, I was an alcoholic, married to a man I didn’t really know, and detached from myself. Then I found out I was pregnant. I told my then-husband, and I haven’t seen him since. Watching a Ricki Lake documentary called The Business of Being Born (who doesn’t love Ricki Lake?) inspired me to have a natural childbirth. I …