“I’ve always struggled with depression and anxiety. I’ve treated both with medication on and off since my mid-30’s while also seeing a handful of therapists with minimal progress. As a registered nurse and someone who’s knowledgeable in psychology, I still don’t know why clinical treatments didn’t work for me. All I do know, is that yoga has been by far the best therapy and coping mechanism I’ve ever had. I like, that in this practice, we are the ones initiating change within ourselves. We are the ones on our mats — present within that very moment. Nobody else can do yoga, or do the work for you. It’s not a medication, or a doctor’s treatment, or a psychologist. It’s just you.
When my wife was going through postpartum depression and we had the two kids at home, she began her practice as a way to cope. For me, prior to yoga, I’ve always been active; a big runner in particular. But at that time in our lives when my wife was struggling, I just felt like I needed something different. Between supporting her during this difficult time, and being unhappy with my own job, I knew I needed to do something else for my exercise; something structured.
Hot, Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga in particular really resonated with me, which is interesting because I always hated heat growing up. I found this type of hot yoga mentally and physically challenging, which is what attracted me to it. Ultimately, this challenge and experience in the heat is what opens me up physically, mentally, and spiritually, and takes me to a different place.
On my mat, I’ve experienced moments of self-realization in savasana where I could see, I guess you’d say, ‘inside myself’. Through yoga, I can finally see the light I’ve been carrying with me my entire life, and those moments of self-realization have moved me to tears.
Not much time had passed before I knew I needed to continue this journey and become a teacher. So, I signed up, and recently completed my Level 1 Baptiste Yoga training. I want to be able to lead people to those moments so they can experience what I have. The thought of teaching corporate yoga is a big passion and goal of mine. I feel a call to serve high-stress professions like policeman, firefighters, and in the medical field — like I am.
It’s crazy to think about teaching, because a lot of my anxiety stems from speaking in front of people, especially in a classroom environment. I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to walk out of presentations because of my anxiety. When I decided I wanted to teach, I knew this was something I’d need to overcome.
On the second day at Level 1, I was presented with the opportunity to get up in front of the whole program with a microphone and speak about myself. To this day I don’t know what made me come forward willingly, but I did. I felt all of the eyes on me — over 150, and immediately tensed up. The head instructor, Baron Baptiste (and creator of Baptiste yoga) asked me what was wrong, and I admitted I was terrified of speaking in front of people.
I also recognized the physical manifestation this anxiety presented itself in my lower back. Right then and there he led me through a guided meditation that led me to ease. By the end of it, I was up there speaking like I knew everyone in the room. I still have that fear, but now I know that I can push myself through it.
Equanimity is a second huge takeaway I received from Level 1. Even though I still struggle with remaining even keeled, yoga has taught me skills to retain my mental composure, even when I feel that anxiety and restlessness set in.” — Dave Dyer
Follow Dave’s story on Instagram: @dadyoga