Student Feature: Today Lived Well

by Raisa Tiedemann

My Back:

I have had lower back pain for about 8 years now, which became worse after having my daughter.  It wasn’t until learning from Deanna, that I found I needed to have a good foundation to know how to REALLY take care of my back.  In the past, I endured years of physical therapy, daily chiropractic trips, and even two injections to try to relieve the herniation pain/disc degeneration in my L4-L5.  After the pain started to come back after the last injection, I knew that it was only a matter of time that the pain would be just as bad as before.  I knew that I had to find something that actually works, not just mask the pain.  I drove by DYA many times and it wasn’t until I looked them up was when I finally said to myself “what do I really have to lose, I’m already in pain.”  This was the turning point that made a huge difference in my life.  After the first couple of weeks of daily practice and working with Deanna twice a week in back-care only classes, I was able to stay in a seated position for 30 minutes without being in pain - I didn’t have to make the excuse of my back hurting to my daughter.  I have learned the needed tools to make sure I protect and take care of my back.  Being in your late 20’s and having a doctor say to you that your discs are degenerating is pretty scary, because what has happened you can’t reverse.  With Deanna’s help I now know how to take care of what I have left.

Being a Caregiver:

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In 2014 my husband was diagnosed with cancer that had spread throughout his body.  From 2014 to 2016 and even now (he has been clear from active tumors for a little over a year) I have been his sole caregiver.  I had to make sure he went to his appointments, drove him to his treatments and made sure he had everything he needed to keep fighting.  At the most intense times of his treatment I would be running on fumes, on auto-pilot trying to keep things together.  It was during these times that I realized the importance of today not what is tomorrow.  Even in the worst of times, I knew that it could have been worse.  That is when I was able to truly appreciate the value of a day, the full 24 hours.  From the months and years leading up to this realization I was a person who would ALWAYS worry about the future, always having a plan for everything, and if my plan did not go the right way I would stress out and anxiety and panic would overtake my mind and my body.  But once I realized to truly appreciate a day and hoping for a tomorrow, I felt such a weight lifted and I was able to finally breathe.

Why I started the 200hr Yoga Teacher Training at DYA:

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For the longest time I've always had that feeling of needing and wanting to give back and help people, but I really didn’t know what I wanted to do to fulfill this.  I've had a lot of things happen in my life and I just wish I had someone or something during those times.  At first, I wanted to do the teacher training to better my practice, but as I let the thought of the teacher training settle in my mind, I realized that this is how I could give back.  I've been in the military for 9 years now, and the one thing I see is a lot of my friends struggling with PTSD.  I know a lot of them turn to destructive alternatives to try to escape or help what is going on, but it only makes things worse.  A lot of veterans are unsure of what to do, and they are very skeptical on trying something new or even being afraid what others may think.  I want to be able to help them and let them know it is okay and to appreciate their life and the things that are in it. 

Being a teacher, I would want to help all people, to help ground them so they are able to truly be happy.

“Yesterday is but a dream,
Tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”   

      ~ Kālidāsa, The complete works of Kalidasa

Read Raisa's TESTIMONIAL here.