"Battling Leukemia, injury & depression, Yoga gave me my life back"

Meet Robbie @islandrobbie sharing his #yogasavedmylife story with us. These are his words 🙏

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. "In 2007 we’d just had our third child & completing a move to Canada. It was a period of high stress: working crazy hours. For months I felt exhausted & regularly woke up drenched in sweat. I didn’t know this was a sign of the Leukemia I was about to be diagnosed with. It was a scary moment for my wife & me. I pretended everything was going to be ok but inside I was frantic. Would my wife end up raising our three children alone, how would she be able to manage, would my new son ever know or remember me?

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Lady luck shone on me & the type of Leukemia I was diagnosed with (CML) meant I would avoid a complicated & dangerous bone marrow transplant thanks to a recent medical breakthrough. Instead I did chemo for a short while & alongside the new medication it kept the Leukemia manageable. I regained my energy, got my life back

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One of the side effects of the drug was intense muscle cramps that hit me at random times, but mostly while sleeping after playing soccer or running. I had also been researching stress relieving practices since I believed that intense emotional stress was a big factor in my obtaining Leukemia. This is when I first started to read about yoga online

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It seemed very new age & almost cult like to me at first. I did not think I would like it. I never signed up for a class but instead decided to practice it myself at home. I was still working multiple jobs, one of which was being a firefighter which required me to stay fit. I figured because of my fitness level the yoga would be easy. The opposite was quite true. I was stiff, tense & did not have a good range of motion. I still worked out but added the yoga into my routine & was astonished with the results

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Through yoga I increased my range of motion, became supple & even stronger. It was also helping me with relieving stress, vitally important to my health

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Not long after that I had another setback & got a herniated disk in an accident.  I continued working but it soon got to the point that prescribed pain medication did nothing to soothe the pain & I could not walk, stand or sit in comfort. 
I was in such pain that I was easily irritated, constantly angry, & suffering depression. I could not perform my duties as a firefighter, I could not be a good father or husband, I was confined to my bed all day hoping for a moment without pain. 
Finally after exhausting all other avenues I opted for back surgery. At this point I had nothing to lose because I was already lost. The depression & anger had taken over. The surgery was a success, & once again was given my old life back, but it had its side effects as well.  I have an extremely tight left hamstring and glute. I get intense muscle cramps in my left hamstring & calf more regularly and I now suffer from sciatica on my left side.
This was nothing compared to the pain I had before & through yoga I have been able to manage it better. Yoga has helped me with both the physical & emotional problems I had.  I was able to return to working as a firefighter, I was again a calm & loving father, my wife no longer had to avoid being around me because of the way I spoke & acted while in intense pain. Yoga did not save my life; it gave me back the life I had lost.
I later also made a conscious decision to reduce stressors in my life.  I purged myself of negative people, allowed myself to not pursue perfection in everything & we made our 4th international move as a family, to the Bahamas where the island life suits us perfectly.  
Yoga gave me the clarity to make these decisions.  It is no longer something I schedule into my workout but rather an everyday part of my life.   It has given me physical benefits, emotional benefits, helped me reduce stress, helped me fight depression, find happiness. 
Guys, if you think, like I did, that yoga is too far out there for you give it a try. You may be surprised with how you end up feeling about it.