I was going through my old photographs and discovered one of my pictures.
And even I find it hard to believe it’s me – 35 lbs. heavier, smoking, drinking and partying.
I am not sure how old I am in this picture. I do remember taking a trip to Puerto Rico. It was one of my first vacations in US, at least 12 or 13 years ago. I am probably 21 or 22. I am wearing size 12 pants and smoking Marlboro light! Crazy?!
I tried to make a very long story somewhat shorter. It was not easy to establish my life in the new country, but everything was like a dream. I was playing with it, I had fun and I knew I can always go back to where I came from. In this sense, I’ve been very lucky and had many choices in my life. I’ve got a room in my dad’s apartment in a really poor neighborhood. He was a complete stranger to me – I haven’t talked to him for about three years – and now was getting to know him.
I worked during the day and studied English at night. I made new friends and met many great people who helped me a lot. In no time, I landed my first job as an IT consultant with a large bank. I got another offer in a few years from a brokerage house and another one in a few years to follow. I was living an American dream! My typical “New York” routine included a host of unhealthy and body-stressing practices: hard work with little to no physical activity, poor eating habits and cigarette smoking. I was always sick. The doctors fed me with more pills and I fed me with more burgers. Finally, I had a really bad reaction from antibiotics and ended up in the emergency room. I was getting worst. Something had to change.
Need to Change
Luckily, my last project was finally over. I took a month off and decided to settle for a full-time job. A lot of things happened within the next few years. One day I woke up and embarked upon a new regime: with determination, I quit smoking (after five or ten unsuccessful attempts), replacing that nicotine fix with exercise that included running and working out in the gym. But the long stint of physical idleness took its toll on my body; in my attempts to improve my health, I ruined my knees and the discs in my back gave out. I was in bed again. After months of physical therapy, I was able to walk with no pain and lift a bag. My physical therapist healer suggested trying yoga. Sometime in 2000, I took my first yoga class in a yoga studio on Lafayette — and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Yoga and Desire to Live Well
My joints were getting better. I became more active and went on my first hiking and camping trip for my 25th or 26th (I think…pardon my ignorance with numbers) birthday. I was practicing yoga religiously. It helped me to be more mindful, cultivating the ability to observe what was happening internally, helping the relationship of mind to my body and to the environment around me. In addition, I worked with many personal trainers and nutritionists for guidance and, finally, the hard work paid off – I was shedding pounds and becoming healthier. I was feeling more alive! I was learning how to create a balanced life for myself. I continue to educate myself about nutrition and started practicing yoga religiously.
In 2003, I met my perfect partner! It was magic and still is. We’ve been together for about eight years now. At the same time, after several years of practicing in different studios, I discovered Yoga Sutra and completed my 500 hour certification in January 2010. I started eating organic vegetarian diet following non-violence principal. I began teaching yoga in 2008. Currently, I still work full-time and pesue my yoga dream. Of course, I sometime binge and gain a few pounds here and there, but generally, I have a much better and healthier relationship with food. Thanks to my strong yoga practice with “mind over matter” I now rock-climb, hike, ski and have a life full of adventure, passion and love.