“For most of my adult life I had been on a path of self loathing, dealing with body image issues, unable to forgive myself from past mistakes and decisions. I constantly had a dialogue going on in the back of my head trying to figure out life, control life, and belittle myself, ” Bridgette Marzulf says. “In addition to the mental stress that I put myself under, I was constantly sick with respiratory illness.”
Her answer? Ashtanga Yoga.
Bridgette Marzulf, mom to one beautiful daughter and several beautiful kitties, is a Registered Nurse in hospital Surgical and Trauma units. During her work shifts, Bridgette has the opportunity to heal her patients, but she also takes on their stress, fear, and trauma.
Her answer? Daily Ashtanga Yoga.
“The physical yoga practice of Ashtanga is my escape,” she confides. “The practice is so challenging that I can only focus on the posture and breath, my mind has to be quiet. During practice, I am at peace.”
Initially, Bridgette taught herself the Ashtanga Series from a ‘Power Yoga’ book. She had no idea that learning the method would become solace for mind and bring her body back into health. She even learned to manage and treat her asthmatic symptoms through Ashtanga breathing. “After being introduced to pranayama and PRACTICING DAILY, I realized that my asthma could be controlled with my breath. I then began to notice how every day occurrences that caused emotional distress were affecting my body. [For example,] my relationship pain settled in my hips. A broken heart hurt in my right shoulder. [Even] my too many responsibilities cause pain in my neck.” This realization was a turning point for Bridgette. She decided to take her own health even more seriously and to tell stress to ‘stand back’ in order to master her own reality.
“Frequently, I have setbacks in my physical practice. EACH and EVERY time that happens, I ask myself: ‘What is going on?’ Every time my physical pain surfaces it has been because I have moved away from my meditation and pranayama, away from God and closer to my ego and mental chatter.”
Recently, Bridgette endured yet another injury that left her unable to perform chaturanga for nearly 5 months. Most yogis might rejoice at this opportunity to skip such a hard pose, but dedicated Ashtangi’s like Bridgette find omitting chaturanga dandasana a hindrance to the flow of the practice. Bridgette was frustrated, but she knew that the physical pain was teaching her something. “Now, ” she says, “I take comfort when pain surfaces [because I know] I am being taught a precious lesson and ALWAYS come out stronger physically and mentally after the pain subsides.” She is always ready to master her own reality.