During the beginning of my junior year of college I began experiencing severe anxiety attacks. They would come at random, so I was never prepared to deal with them. They are difficult to describe, but it felt like a 500 pound weight was placed on my chest, making it almost impossible to breath normally, and therefore concentrate on anything but the panic attack itself.
Breathing became a chore, and I lived in constant fear of being overtaken by panic. This began to affect my everyday life. I was afraid to sleep, in fear that my heart would begin to flutter or my breathing would become short. I was hoping they would disappear on their own, but they only worsened. Only people whom have experienced one can understand how frightening they are.
My doctor advised me to wait it out for a while and see if they improved, while making sure that I took time to relax for myself everyday. However, they only worsened. My family and friends and counselors at school urged me to take medication, which I opposed greatly. Because it is unclear what causes anxiety attacks, many people believed I would just have to live with it.
While I practiced Bikram Yoga whenever possible beginning in July 2001, it was not until I began practicing regularly (4 or more times per week) in the summer of 2002 that my attacks became less frequent and less intense. I can now go weeks without having an attack, and when one does occur I am able to breathe my way through it without feeling as if my body has lost control. Bikram Yoga has changed my life and brought me back to the life I always enjoyed.
I plan to apply for his fall 2003 teacher training course so that I can help others discover the healing, joy, and realization that I have come to know.