What does the practice of yoga have to do with writing? Not a thing for some people, but for me, it’s vital. Writing is a sedentary practice, and yoga gets me moving, wakes up a body that far too often is stuck in my story-making mind. But there’s more to it than that. In fact, yoga just might have saved my life.
For a few years I had a medically irreversible pre-cancer condition called Barrett’s Esophagus. As a student of yoga, I associate the esophagus with the throat chakra, one of the seven energy centers of the body. Esoterically, when the throat chakra is damaged, it indicates that the voice has been silenced in some way. For a writer, that’s a death metaphor. So of course I did everything my doctors told me AND worked with yoga and chakra clearing to heal myself.
The biggest change the specialist recommended was in my diet. No more coffee or chocolate. No tomatoes or wine. Diet is important in yoga, too. I had noticed in the past that when I ate a steak or drank more than a glass of wine the night before yoga practice, I’d have a hard time in class. I’d get nauseated and dizzy. My teacher always asked about my diet before showing me how to sit out the session in a pose designed to calm the digestive system.
With all of this in mind, a year ago I quit eating meat. It wasn’t difficult. I’d read a book about the meat industry in our country and it totally turned me off. Plus, I was supposed to be eating smaller meals, so I figured taking out the meat would do that. My husband is a healthy eater, and he was all for cutting out the meat, which made things so much easier.
I continued to work with my inner body, envisioning my throat chakra and thus esophagus as bright golden, like a little burst of sunshine. A few months ago, a sentence floated into my head. As a writer, that’s not unusual. But this sentence was “My throat is fine; I don’t have Barrett’s.” I am not the kind of person who expects miracles, but I believed it.
And sure enough, when I went for my scan this year, the test came back clear. I reminded the nurse that everyone from the specialist to my family doctor told me the condition was irreversible.
“It’s rare,” she said about my spontaneous healing, “but in a very tiny number of cases, it happens.” She of course attributed my perfect esophagus to the Prilosec I take every morning. Me, I know it’s down to yoga.