"The safety I felt in the four walls of a yoga studio is the hardest thing I have ever tried putting into words. The door remains locked, he could not get to me here. I could finally exhale" . . "I cannot tell you when it switched, I could not tell you when my circle got so small it appeared no one was left, I could not tell you when I started "protecting" everyone from what was happening behind closed doors or who he became. I loved him and did not want people to think differently because I was strong, he was funny, and people loved him . I do not remember the day I went from being excited to hearing the keys in the door to fearful of that sound. I, however, do remember the smell of vodka on him at 2, 3, or 4 am. I remember the vibration when his ragging got so intense, I could feel his screams bouncing off my body . Yoga first entered my life as an elective at Community College. My teacher was from India and worked on mind, breath with movement. I found stillness. The semester ended and I lost the connection to my body instantly. That hour of lightness and quietness was gone again . It was a year later when I received a gift for a new yoga studio. I had no idea what to expect when I first walked in. The teachers were welcoming, the students were new (this was 15 years ago, studios were not as popular), there was no judgement. I walked to the furthest point from the door and rolled out my mat . As I moved my body through the Asanas, connecting my breath back to my body I felt connected to myself . When the only escape I could imagine was taking my own life yoga was able to be my safe haven for 60-90 minutes and it reminded me to stay connected to my body, it was worth living . When I finally had the courage to walk away yoga was there to help gain back my confidence, give me that safe place, remind me to exhale and allow me to leave it all on the mat 🙏 . Now that I am teaching yoga there is nothing I would rather do than take the spot nearest the door, hold that safe space and to remind my students to leave it all on their mats 💚 .