Reborn through yoga

How Yoga gave one woman a new lease of life...literally

Eefa doing yogaWhen I look at myself in the mirror, I’m glad I am able to recognise myself today. Things could have been really ugly [no pun intended]. I grew up as any regular college kid wanting to look pretty, be fit and, of course, be recognised for it. My tug of war with this thing, which I much later recognised as ‘vanity’, took me from a plump, pale 14 year-old to a fit and over-confident 17-year-old, who lived on black coffee and cigarettes, worked out for two gruelling hours every day and partied at least five nights a week. Ecstatic at being asked to walk the ramp at 17, I dived into being a professional model. It was such a thrilling time!

Turn of fate

But my destiny had something else in store for me. In one shot, my picture-perfect life turned into a nightmare. I was riding my scooty home after a night out when I was hit by a truck. The hook in the side of the truck had caught me in my forehead and dragged me a good 10m before knocking me out cold. My legs had taken a real thrashing too. The next month was a hopeless one, me and my then estranged parents knocking on doors of the best plastic surgeons we could find.

We almost gave up, when one of the leading surgeons ended our appointment with, “Scars are a part of your personality child.” Needless to say, I stormed out of his clinic cursing [on my crutches], my poor distraught parents trying to calm me down. If it wasn’t for my inability to walk, I probably would have kicked the furniture down.

A friend in need…

All friends left me, except one, the only one who would visit me despite my constant irritability. She was a yoga teacher from Chennai, who taught at a local health club. With so much attention given to my scarred ugly face, I had completely ignored my appointments with the osteopath; I would deal with my legs once I found someone to fix my face.

By sheer coincidence [if it really exists] I met a young doctor who had returned from a medical school in the US. He agreed to try a procedure that had just been discovered in the West. But it offered no guarantees. Two absolutely painful months later, I had my face back, thanks to the doctor, who now head of plastic surgery in one of the country’s leading hospitals. He still introduces me to his patients as one of his best pieces of work!

…is a friend indeed

When I actually got back to my osteopath, he insisted I go into surgery to fix the broken ligaments, cartilage and hope that the otherwise smashed soft tissue could be revived over the years. It was obvious that the surgery wouldn’t be the last one. I stubbornly refused. My doctor was mad at me and wrote me off saying, “You are going to be in a wheel chair by the time you are 30’—a statement I’ll never forget. It was my buddy, the yoga teacher, who absolutely insisted that if I practiced yoga I could get my walking ability back. At first, I laughed her off but it was her sheer faith that got me to give it a shot.

Yoga at work

I started out with doing vajrasana with six pillows propping me up. After which, she would get me into paschimmottasana [the forward bend]—needless to say that I could barely manage to do the postures.

But I remember the time when my friend had to leave Mumbai for Chennai due to a personal issue. By then, I had really started enjoying my everyday five-minute yoga practice. I asked someone to buy me a book and started reading up on this amazing science.

Soon enough I figured how to prop myself with pillows and duppattas. My ability to do the poses kept increasing by the day. Sometimes, I would hold the pose till tears of pain and frustration were running down my face. As I read the philosophies of yoga, I started to question my old ways and my lack of awareness.

I went into a dialogue with my parents for the first time in years and apologised for having been such a tough child. I also told them how much I appreciated their time and effort towards my recovery. Somehow with each day of practice and reading, I felt myself becoming more and more integrated as a person and my legs followed suit. Within three months, I was able to do the two postures without any props and could hold each one for about three minutes. Soon I was hobbling around without crutches and then walking. I saw it as a victory and dived into yoga practice knowing the day when I could run wasn’t far—it came eight months later.

The power within

Since then, I never fail to practice yoga and will always remain a student of this amazing science. My internal training and growth was astounding than the fact that my legs healed themselves. I understood that if I could train my mind to focus continually and in a cultured and aware manner, nothing is impossible.

If a yogi can train himself through discipline and practice, to levitate and walk on water, why could I not teach my tattered legs to walk again? If my cells were dying and being reborn every second, why could I not train my new cells to be whole and new? I could and I did. We need to understand that we hold this awesome power within us, the power to change our realities.

I don’t know whether it was my body that changed first or my mind, but what’s important is that I recognised that we are integrated, whole beings and we need to recognise where we have become otherwise and fix it, through a disciplined practice.

Super for a reason

I call it Super Yoga for two main reasons. One is for what the word super signifies in language. It signifies above and beyond.

The second reason is due to my most favourite phenomenon in quantum physics called superposition. Simply put, it’s the term used to explain the discovery that a particle or sub particle can be in two places at the same time. It takes on a ‘position’ only when it is being observed. A superposition is the particle’s ability to be anywhere and anything at anytime. This is hugely the main influence on the inception of Super Yoga.

Yoga has helped me get back on my feet after a life-threatening accident. With the second chance at life, I try to pass on the benefits of the same to others through my Super Yoga classes.

Eefa Shroff is a qualified yoga instructor, a certified coach and an NLP [neuro-linguistic programming] master practitioner. She conducts Super Yoga classes at JW Marriott Mumbai.


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