Meet @manouktideman. This is her #yogasavedmylife story. These are her words❤

"I was born with a congenital heart defect, corrected in infancy through multiple surgeries. Never did I expect in 2014, at 22 years old, I would undergo two open-heart surgeries to replace my pulmonary valve


Doctors assumed rehabilitation wouldn’t be necessary because I was young & fit. Yet, I didn't trust my own body. I had a huge scar running down my chest, everything hurt; I felt like a foreigner in my own skin. I'd spend hours looking at myself in the mirror, trying to accept this new image while trying to find the girl that used to be there: The girl who had always loved her scars, embraced her inner beauty & confident about who she was & capable of. I was a warrior, but I couldn’t accept what my body had gone through

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I'd practiced yoga since I was 17. Yet suddenly, I was barely able to walk up the stairs, let alone consider a downward dog. So my yoga practice started with breathing: a challenge in itself. My ribs were rigid, my intercostal muscles bruised, my sternum held together with steel wires. Convinced a sneeze would kill me, I started to breathe - inhale, exhale... Then after a while I started retaining my breath, just for a few seconds - inhale, pause, exhale, pause... And then I started to raise my arms (inhale), & lower them (exhale). Baby steps

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Weeks later I was doing basic poses. My practice grew. Without intending to do so, I had begun my own rehabilitation: Movement my medicine. Yoga replaced painkillers. Mind & body tuned into this newfound rhythm of life. ‘This is me’ became my mantra. I found my scars attractive, telling my personal story of triumph. I grew stronger, & within the same year as the surgeries I completed my first sprint triathlon

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Yoga remains my best friend. I'm grounded by breath, awakened by movement. My yoga practice tells an incredible story about limitations, challenges, courage, patience and acceptance. My body is not a temple. It is a fortress. This is me"