"The sexual trauma I had experienced as a young woman had made me a stranger in my own body"

Meet @tessnicolayoga sharing her #yogasavedmylife story with us. These are her words 💚 . . "In 2013 I graduated with my bachelor’s degree & moved back home to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder & PTSD. The sexual trauma I had experienced as a young woman had made me a stranger in my own body. I could not sleep & had panic attacks daily . That summer, my soul sister took me to my first yoga class. I was clumsy & awkward throughout the entire practice, but during the shavasana a wave of calm caressed my entire body. It was the first time in a long time I had ever felt relaxed. I was hooked . The studio, Yoga Tree Plano, was starting a 9 month 200-hour teacher training in the fall. I was new to yoga, but I was also unable to work from the effects of trauma, so I decided to take the dive & become fully immersed into yoga. I am at a loss for words to what happened next. It genuinely feels like magic. In addition to medication & therapy, I was practicing yoga daily, understanding the body & communing with others. The light came back into my eyes. I was able to ground myself & breathe through panic attacks. My practice was no longer clumsy; I now moved with grace & knowledge. I finally started to feel at home in my body & cleanse myself of the past . My life from this point on was not without trauma or setbacks. I lost people I treasured, faced adversity, wrestled sexism; my heart broke over & over again. However, the lessons I learned through yoga helped me survive. Yoga does not erase the hardship of living, but its teachings guide us to serenity . Now, I have my master’s in social work & have the privilege to teach yoga & provide therapeutic services to incarcerated veterans with a program called VALOR. These men I work with suffer from PTSD & addiction. They, like me, are strangers in their bodies & lost in their minds. I have the honor of teaching them yoga twice a week. During every class I see their pain & I watch them find a shrapnel peace. I see the lifechanging effects of yoga daily & it saves my life every single day.