I was heading by car on the freeway towards my daughter’s summer day camp for pickup. I went to take a sip of hot water out of my travel mug. The inner factory seal exploded upwards, and all of the contents cascaded upon my body.
I immediately thought of fire ants. The burning was so intense, but for a few seconds I didn’t realize that fire ants were not the cause of the heat sensation. I started slow, deep breathing in order to not have an accident on the freeway.
When I finally put cool water on my burns, I was at the closest gas station. I sat on the ground next to the building with the water flowing on my body from an outdoor spigot. I sat there in a daze with all of my clothes on. I was silent, I didn’t cry or scream, and I disappeared for a few minutes.
For a year or more afterwards, I had nightmares and flashbacks of the incident. I burst into night sweats often, and experienced rapid heart palpitations. My husband woke me up from a deep sleep often, telling me that I was crying in my sleep. My flashbacks varied in intensity, ranging in the length of time and the emotions accompanying them. I felt ugly from the scars and my self esteem began to slide. You see, I modeled all around the world from age 4-35. I began to feel the blues and slide into depression. I was scared.
Even to this day, every time I pass that particular gas station, the whole horrid accident reoccurs in my mind. My heart races, I begin to perspire, and I pray a prayer of grace. It could have been way worse.
After a year of these continued symptoms, I signed up for a trial series of Bikram hot yoga classes to see if it would help with my ugly scarring on my legs and stomach and my post traumatic stress symptoms.
The first three weeks of class were intense. The room is minimum 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 46% minimum humidity. The poses were tough, each one lasting 60 seconds and then the second set was about 30 seconds. The room was funky too, with an odor of vinegar and peanuts. But, I stuck with it.
After 3 weeks, my sweat didn't sting my eyes anymore. My sleep became restful once again, my grip more relaxed on the steering wheel when I drove. The yoga room stopped stinking. I can do the poses with intensity now so that when I focus, I leave everything else in my life behind. And that is a moving meditation.
After almost 4 years of yoga, the scars have faded, my muscles are beautiful and strong, my meditation is consistent, and I can leave what is outside of the yoga room, outside of the yoga room. It will be there when I am done. What a vacation from the rest of my life! I feel like I can do anything again, regardless of the scars. Due to my yoga practice, my inner confidence and peace outweighs the outer "stuff." Free at last.
I hope this helps others step up and not give up.