Why does it take crisis to realize we can’t do it alone?
Even though we arrive and exit from this Earth all on our own, we can’t truly survive, much less thrive, without the touch, love, friendship and support of others.
It’s primal and it’s necessary.
And yet, so many of us work actively to avoid making connections. We shy away from anyone and anything unfamiliar or unknown. And sometimes we avoid even the people and places we once loved, because we aren’t in a place of personal peace.
Living with a chronic condition makes things even tougher. Helplessness and frustration become the norm. We soldier on, but the joy just isn’t there. We get stuck in the struggle.
I’m writing this because I’ve lived it – for 6 years after my diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at the age of 42. I was 25 years into my career as a yoga teacher and yoga teacher trainer and I didn’t know one other person with diabetes. I didn’t reach out to anyone, not even once. I pretended I was “normal” and actually believed that I could stop having diabetes if I tried hard enough.
My brother was brave enough – just once – to say, “Why don’t you just suck it up and go on insulin?” My angry reply was “It’s complicated, OKAY?!”
Looking back I was misinformed, living in isolation and believing the stories I made up in my head.
Yoga definitely helped. It gave me breathing space. It calmed my nerves. It helped me to grieve. I came out of the isolation whenever I got on the mat to practice. I felt connected, peaceful.
Yoga helped me to reach out. I remember thinking, surely there was someone else out there like me who was living with diabetes and loved yoga.
I looked online and found someone. She looked like a nice person. I sent her a message. I waited for a reply.
We made a connection and swapped stories. I immediately saw something special and chose to go deeper. I learned, finally, that isolation was not the answer. I learned I was not meant to go through this alone. I could and should find support. It was okay to ask for help.
I decided to write my story – from denial to acceptance – as a way to giveback to the communities that transformed my life. Diabetes and yoga. Yoga and diabetes. Maybe you don’t put those two communities together in your head, but I do. It’s my life and my story, and awareness of how yogic practices can positively change the life of a diabetic is crucial for growth and transformation.
How many of us, as yoga teachers, know much about diabetes or how to meet the needs of someone who has it in our classes? Often people living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes don’t even let their teachers know they have it. Diabetes frequently goes under the radar and as a yoga teacher and someone who lives with diabetes I want to change that.
I share everything I’ve ever learned about ayurveda, yoga and diabetes in my book, Yoga for Diabetes.
It’s a manual for teachers and an inspirational guide for people living – and practicing – with any type of diabetes. My mission is to educate on how mindfulness practices can truly transform how we experience life.
Writing the book inspired me to be even more committed to my practice and to sharing with others and it taught me that I truly can’t do it alone.
If you’d like to learn more, you can join Rachel for a Yoga and Ayurveda for Diabetes workshop at the Princeton Centre for Yoga and Health THIS SATURDAY, November 4, 2017 from 1 PM to 3:30 PM.
Books will be available for sale at the event!
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