Grace, North Carolina:

“I am an 18-year-old bisexual college freshman, with an extremely old soul, who has been given the honor of being a dancer in this life. I was also diagnosed with predominantly inattentive ADHD (formerly referred to as ADD) and anxiety at a very young age.

My introduction to yoga was sort of an odd one, as I began my practice during my junior year of high school by teaching myself at home through an app on my phone. It has, in the 2 1/2 years since, yoga has given me many gifts that I did not anticipate.

Yoga and meditation helped get me out of the isolation and pain of the mental health “rock bottom” that I endured my last year of high school. Through practice, I have found the ability to breathe better through hardships, I have rediscovered the beauty of my body and its curves (a body that my image of had been tarnished over time by the constant affirmation that my wide hips, prominent butt, and larger/more muscular legs were “just not right for ballet”), and I have been able to appreciate and accept my wild thoughts and easy distractibility instead of aggressively trying to control my mind all the time.

Most importantly, yoga has allowed me to be okay with being alone with my thoughts, accept and own the space that I take up in this world, and provided me with a community of love and acceptance both in others and within myself. When I am practicing, it does not matter what my grades are, that my brain functions differently from others, what shape my body is, or what labels I identify with. I have found in yoga, just as I did with dance, that I can simply be a beautiful human practicing with other beautiful humans.”

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