{Below is an article written by Sarah Sowards which was published June 21, 2021 on the Club Fit website. Original article can be read here.}

On December 11th, 2014, the United Nations recognized June 21st as International Day of Yoga. The idea, proposed by India and introduced by their Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was supported by 175 other countries at the 69th meeting of the General Assembly. “Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world, and nature,” Modi proclaimed. Clearly, the impact of yoga on people’s health is recognized worldwide. Not only has yoga been shown to improve physical health, but research has established there are many mental health benefits yoga offers as well. On International Yoga Day, I would love to highlight a real-life story depicting how beneficial and life-changing yoga has been for some. Data can communicate a great deal, but sometimes hearing it come to life is more impactful and I hope that will be the case here. To begin, a special thank you is owed to our very own Carl Vreeland, who graciously agreed to be interviewed for this piece. Carl has practiced yoga for twenty-one years and has served as an instructor for fifteen years, seven of those at Club Fit. In all transparency, Carl granted us a thorough examination of the relationship between his health and yoga, and his journey from a divided sense of chaos to a calming and united recognition of peace.

As many do, Carl encountered trauma early in life. As he described his trauma, he referred to a “spiritual brokenness,” a sense of being detached from something greater than himself, a sense of emptiness. As young as four years old, Carl began experiencing panic attacks, anxiety, and fear… A need for perfection arose, and high expectations were set in place for himself and others. He was hard on himself. There was no patience, no insight, no connection… Depression and anxiety drained the energy out of him, and Carl slept for up to twelve hours a day.

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