'Yoga saved my life. This is my story' @jessicabellofatto
In 1996 I was a college student by day, a bartender by night. My then boyfriend (& later husband, now ex) ran a restaurant and bar, full of party people. A life of late shifts, partying afterwards. Cocaine became part of the lifestyle . It was then that I first set foot in the Jivamukti yoga studio NYC & it nearly killed me! A relentless Ashtanga. But, as I lay in the final savasana, tears came. My body settled into the earth, my heart felt as if it would burst from the spaciousness created. I returned the next day, & the next.
Deeper into my practice, I embraced pranayama & noticed the cocaine use had an effect on my breathing. I immediately went cold turkey. Yoga was more important than any drug, any party . . YOGA SAVED MY LIFE .I became a teacher a year & a half later & its been my path ever since 🙏 . Yoga continued to save my life from the body image issues & an eating disorder I took into my twenties: practicing Yoga, I wasn't too fat, too short, not pretty enough. Practicing Yoga, I felt strong, capable, beautiful, empowered
Yoga saved my life again, a couple of years into my practice, my (then almost husband & now ex) & I were on a trip to Europe. We were getting married 3 months later. I called my father from France. He told me he loved me. I told him I would see him in a few days. He was so excited for me, having not traveled in his own life. The next day, he had a heart attack & died. I was 26. The wedding invitations had gone out with his name on. During the first few days grieving , I did no yoga. I wept, I tried to sleep, I laid in bed. Then, around the 4th day, I rolled out my mat, breathed. Downward dog, Upward Dog, Child's Pose. I sobbed. I felt him, I spoke out loud to him. Dad told me it was ok . So many more stories. Three pregnancies, the demands of motherhood, injuries, divorce, finding love again, losing & starting a business, aging, watching body shift & change, but I am stronger than ever now. Yoga has been there, a sanctuary, a place to re-calibrate, reset, restore. A place to find answers, to nourish. To heal ❤