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How Yoga Changed my Life: One Student's Story

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How Yoga Changed my Life: One Student's Story

How Yoga Changed my Life:  One Student’s Story

Christi Crowell


Meet Christi Crowell.  She joined Surya Yoga in July 2022.  Yoga has improved her life in a myriad of ways.


Why did you start practicing yoga?


Like everyone, a lot of life events had led to extreme stress and anxiety.  This manifested in injury to my body.  One day I tried to stand up from my desk and I couldn't.  I ended up having back surgery in 2012, about 6 months after my mother passed away.  This allowed me to walk again (yay!) but it didn't mean that my days were pain free.  I lived with pain and deep depression for over a decade. During this time I was given advice to work out and build up my core strength to help with the pain.  Most days completing work was an achievement, so the thought of working out was just another thing in a long list that I felt like I was failing at.  


One morning last summer while waiting to start working from home, I was watching the Today show and they were doing a walking challenge.  I looked around at the dogs and thought, we can start doing that instead of sitting here for a half an hour doing nothing each morning.  We started walking every day and they held me accountable (you can't resist a Husky and Malamute face). After doing this for about a month, I wanted something more.  I was looking around for yoga studios and saw that Surya had a Beginner Series.  This felt perfect as I had anxiety about joining a studio and not knowing what to do in class, plus it is super close to my house, so I couldn't talk myself out of going because it was too far away.  So I joined Surya in July 2022.


How has yoga changed your life?


I started with the Stretch and Chill classes after the Beginner Series.  Emily (one of the instructors) said some things in my first class that hit home.  This was where I needed to be.  This is self care.  This is a place to leave everything behind in the outside world and take time for yourself. Let go of those things that don't serve you. I had spent my entire life being a people pleaser to my own detriment.  I can take time for myself and not feel guilty about it.  I started taking different classes and this theme ran through all of them.  I started making changes in other areas of my life, realizing that I was holding onto things and relationships that were unsalvageable.  I started finding myself again.  I was also surprised at the skills I was gaining at managing my stress on my own.  I had to take a month off due to vertigo issues, and I definitely noticed the difference in my state of mind without being able to practice.  


Outside of the mental changes, I have gained strength and regained flexibility.  After ten months and over 100 classes (!!!) I have seen definite changes in my body.  I no longer need ibuprofen every day to function.  My back pain that had been chronic for years has almost disappeared.  If I do have issues, I heal much faster than before.  One of the best things about yoga is that there are so many variations of poses so you can customize almost any to your level of ability.  Even if there is a bad day, you can still get the benefits of practice.


What do you enjoy about yoga?


I like being able to calm my mind, leave the world behind for an hour, and do something good for my body at the same time.  I had preconceived notions about what yoga was and my experience has changed those in a big way.  To me it has become a tool in my life to slow down, get centered, and get in a good workout at the same time.  


What has been an unexpected benefit of practicing yoga?


I've been working from home since 2018 and am now living by myself with three big dogs who aren't the best conversationalists.  I feel like I have found a community and made friends that I wouldn't have otherwise.


What is your favorite pose?



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