By Michelle Pate, MA, MBA
I am sharing this story so others can benefit from my knowledge and experience with healing my body, mind and spirit.
I spend a lot of time hearing and reading other people’s stories and am greatly saddened by so much suffering when there ARE solutions. The solutions are not an easy fix, but if you are committed to your personal growth, you WILL see results on all levels of your existence in time. Sometimes it won’t seem like you are getting anywhere, but someday you will wake up and realize that so much, if not all, of that suffering is in the past. You can then move forward with your best self, ready for a bright new future.
From April 2011 to April 2012, I did over 120 sessions of Bikram Yoga. That averages three classes per week. I healed my body in a very deep way through this practice and went through tremendous positive change. Bikram Yoga is an excellent way for anyone to balance their body’s systems, helping the mind to relax and spirit to soar.
I documented my experience from each class and shared on my Bikram Yoga page on this website. My muscles hurt a lot during this year because I was deeply committed to doing my practice and causing permanent and long lasting change. But now I feel wonderful, especially when walking because my gait is now straight and I am balanced.
My hope was to inspire others who are experiencing any kind of difficult life challenge, that Bikram Yoga will benefit you if you stick with it. I want to thank Nicole Duke of Bikram Yoga Aptos in Aptos, CA for her commitment to this practice and her beautiful studio. Nicole, you have helped me heal my life in a very deep and meaningful way. It was such a positive environment for me to experience healing. The people I practiced with were caring and committed. I am grateful for this time in my life.
I started Bikram Yoga to heal completely from a carjacking and attempted kidnapping two years prior. The attack damaged my body, especially my neck which I could not move fully for well over a year, and set my adrenaline in high gear at the slightest provokation. I experienced full out panic attacks where I thought I was going to die. I was easily startled and then would become sleepy after my adrenaline did it’s thing. It was a horrible way to live. I had to go on different sorts of medications just to function. That was a hard blow for a holistic, alternative care person such as myself. During this time, I also dealt with an impossible, but high chemistry relationship, a lackluster job at a medical office, all while going through an MBA program. By the time I graduated, I was ready to collapse. Just to survive what I was going through, I had to consciously sit up in the left side of my brain. I had ignored my body for two years. But I knew what I needed to do and got to work.
For the nine or so months after I graduated, I practiced Zumba dance and worked on a Yinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher’s Training program, along with learning online marketing and getting back into career-mode. But I still felt a lot of pain, and I got easily frustrated and tearful. I couldn’t go to parties without feeling overwhelmed. I felt so fragile. And I just couldn’t do Zumba or yoga too much without hurting. It was very frustrating. So in April 2011, I decided to commit myself to 1o days of Bikram Yoga. It was the toughest 90 minutes of my life, but I was in love with how it made me feel. I continued to practice every day for the next month.
Bikram Yoga restored me to myself, very quickly. In the beginning, I couldn’t breathe well in class and my muscles hurt a lot, but I was determined to master it. During the year I practiced, I learned to know my body’s capabilities very well. Focusing on poses made my mind strong again. Feeling my heart beat wildly in a hot room was comforting, and my anxiety went away. Then I learned how to control my heart beat with my breathing in class. Such amazing mastery! I dated someone nice and didn’t care much that he didn’t call me for a couple weeks. I started my own marketing agency. It was so great to feel so mellow.
My best benefit was getting off painkillers and anti-anxiety medications I had taken since the carjacking – I’m sure the detox from the hot yoga room was excellent for purging it out of my system. Because of blocking out pain for two years, I had hurt the insides of my digestive system rather severely with a poor diet. I tried to clean up my diet and eat well again, but EVERYTHING hurt most of the time. One night after eating out, I swelled up like a balloon and took this picture of my belly.
I cried in my Chiropractor’s office the next day because my insides hurt more than I could bear. My digestive system felt like it had hives in it. I hurt from my throat all the way to the other end. There is a special part of the digestive system called the “ilieo-cecal valve” that keeps the polluted large intestine from backing up into the clean small intestine. Mine would SPASM when I ate something wrong for me, causing digestive, back problems, and extreme fatigue. Sometimes my belly would swell so much I looked 6 months pregnant. I was scared. I took the following picture one night because I couldn’t believe what was happening.
My D.C. told me I had LEAKY GUT, that my intestines were INFLAMED from food allergies and to stop eating GLUTEN. I took some special nutritional supplements to boost my immune system, and he said it would heal itself up in about a year. In the beginning, I couldn’t eat anything but meats, cooked vegetables, and olive oil. Throughout time, I could more simple foods, but I still try to stay away from grains in general because they still hurt my system. I tried to eat some croutons with a caeser salad about a month ago, and it was the same old pain. I’m just not meant to eat wheat. I WAS happy to know that I could eat cheese and ice cream. I thought I was lactose-intolerant for years, but it was really the wheat I was eating with my dairy.
Just by eliminating the gluten, my abdomen got flat in a couple months. I didn’t lose weight while I did Bikram Yoga, but I did lose a few inches. Most importantly, I created lasting change in my body structure (bones, tendons and muscles) and all my organs. I will return to Bikram Yoga sometime soon, and right now my body is desiring proper nutrition and weight training.
I was still tired after all this time, and trying to decide what to do next with my life. I have been wanting to move to Southern California and work in film and TV, but didn’t know how to make that happen. My friend, Max, started doing the ViSalus 90-day Challenge. He lost almost 20 pounds in a month. He had energy and he was focused. He was having a lot of health benefits, so I decided to check it out.
What I liked best was that the shake mix ViSalus uses tastes very good and settles well in my stomach. Since there is so little I can eat, I am always was eager to find something more I can ingest. These shakes felt like a magic potion to my body. Finally, a full feeling without feeling ill in some way. I went to an event where at least ten people I went to high school were at – and they are all doing the challenge as well.
So I decided to get on the ViSalus bandwagon. Since I believe in the product, I decided to become a promoter. Like before with my Bikram Yoga challenge, I want to document my progress through the next 90 days. However, there are different qualities to this project. Bikram Yoga is for the most part a very solitary journey. You go within and get to know your body, mind and spirit in a deep way. I needed to do that in order to figure out who I was in present time. ViSalus is a group endeavor, its very social. And the body results are very different.
Because of my dance and yoga devotions, I am still in decent outward shape. I’m only ten pound over fitting into my skinny jeans. As far as appearances, I am happy with what I’ve got. HOWEVER, what matters with how good it looks when I am too tired to go out and be with people? Because of my digestive issues, I have missed out on a lot of nutrition my body has needed in order to function at peak performance. I am tired a lot of the time, and feel like I am walking around in a fog sometimes. I’m just too young to feel this way at all, and these products make such a big difference with my health.
I am going to use the ViSalus products to transform my life. I hate the sound of the blender so I refused to make smoothies (too cold anyway), so I drink the shake mix with fruit juice. I am taking all the supplements in the Transformation Kit (everyone should start with this one so you get the full benefits). I love the NEURO which gives me a better get-up-and-go than even 5 Hour Energy.
I will also be writing personal stories of a number of my friend’s transformations. So many of us have big goals we want to accomplish – so we are all working together to make it happen. My main reason to write is to inspire you to greatness. So many of us have big dreams, and we suffer needlessly because we don’t have optimal health.
Here is to health and happiness!
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Michelle Pate is a wellness intuitive/coach who works with people’s mind, body and spirit. She graduated at the top of her class at John F. Kennedy University with a Masters in Holistic Counseling Psychology. She also has an MBA from University of Phoenix.
Michelle specializes in nutrition, holistic exercise and stress reduction to help you be healthy and happy in your life. To schedule an appointment – call Michelle’s office at 408 438 8153 or contact her through email at michellepate99 at yahoo dot com.
Michelle is also a promoter of the Body by Vi challenge and will give you unparalleled support and powerful encouragement for your weight loss, work out, and energetic needs.