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By Denise Lettau

SAT MAR 28, 2020

It has been quite the journey. We all have our stories of triumph and failure. The pivotal and defining point of change in my life was a divorce. In the scheme of things, there are things so much worse. This was my tailor-made tragedy. Designed to force me to get on my own two feet. The challenge was sweetened by making me a single mother. The blessing in this was that it did not give me time to waste. I had to make decisions and get to work. Having been out of the workforce for more than a decade, I was definitely fearful. I got to work. I entered the grind while trying to give my son the opportunity to participate in any activity that appealed to him. The days were long.

After 15 years, I was terribly overweight, suffering from chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue and horrific cortisol levels. My thyroid was acting up and I was dangerously close to becoming a diabetic. That shook me to my core. My father was a diabetic and most of his family members were as well and it was all weight related. I did not want to go down that road. All of the usual tricks did not work. In fact, I have always been very mindful about what I ate but seemed to only be getting fatter. I had stopped exercising as it seemed to exasperate my fatigue. And yet, I felt that I had to start something. I tried Zumba. Many have a lot of success with this to lose weight. I did not, plus it was super-humiliating. I could not learn the steps. Mercilessly, I injured my knee. This made me more desperate. Not that I had lost any weight (I had not) but at least I was working on it. Somewhere I read that Bikram Chodhury (yes, I know), healed his knee with yoga. I found a studio and instantly fell in love with the practice. Addicted really. My knee healed and I slowly peeled off some pounds mostly inches but more importantly, I felt so good. My stress was relieved. I no longer cared as much about my weight. I found a mechanism to handle the stress of enduring a job that I did not care for. And then, the studio closed. Dramatically. The studio owner, a woman, had had it when the lawsuit against Bikram emerged from a former employee. I was new to the practice but aware enough of Bikram and his pursuit of copyrighting yoga poses and propensity for collecting expensive cars. It took me about 10 months to find a hot vinyasa studio with a non-Bikram style. I loved this as well, and slowly my mind and physiology changed. Again, weight loss had become irrelevant. I just wanted to feel good. And then, I switched jobs which required a lot of travel and I established a self practice.

This was a five year odyssey. I did a yoga teacher training after 4 consistent years of practice, mostly for my own personal development. And then I did another one. I am actually in the middle of another one now. Because it works. It transforms. You will hear this phrase often and it will eventually click: yoga is a work-in and not just a work-out. Yoga is also not only physical. There are many facets and it is subtle. You start to care about and appreciate your vessel, your body, your container. You take more care of what goes in it (not only what you eat but also what you listen to) and what goes on it--no chemicals, please.

My only regret is that I did not find the funds or time to start yoga, to meditate, to integrate daily practices that make me feel better than I ever have in my life. If you truly desire something, you will find the money and time. How much is transformation worth to you?

After a few years of
After a few years of "religiously" practicing yoga. I actually think I look younger today.