D.L. Sweet is both altruistic and realistic. Ironically these traits, so desirable for most of us, brought disappointment, doubt and unfulfilled hopes during most of her adult life.

For years she held on to a cherished dream that somehow, someday she would make helping people her life’s work. But the realist in her trumped the altruist by continually cautioning against it. For good reason. She could not help anyone until she first helped herself. The question was HOW.

“The problem was (and to a lesser extent still is) my Type A personality. Considering the way I lived, they should have invented a Type triple A rating for me,” she declared.

Life In the fast lane

Type A people have the temperament of a NASCAR driver. They speed through life at a dizzying, sometimes health-threatening pace with stress as a constant companion. In D.L.’s case, digestive difficulties also came along for the ride. She was, moreover, a workaholic, a controlling person and very competitive.

In addition, D.L. suffered from a serious sinus condition, another product of her lifestyle. It peaked when the multiple antibiotics being used to treat the problem not only proved to be ineffective; they wiped out all the beneficial bacteria in her colon as well.

As a result, she lost more than 10 pounds and experienced frequent periods of fatigue.

One aspect of D.L.’s life has remained unaffected—her career. She is a Senior Account Executive at a firm providing assistance to companies that rely on special promotions to help strengthen their brands’ positions in the marketplace. A respected veteran of more than 20 years in the field, she has enjoyed much success.

Keeping pace and then some

In many ways, her accomplishments can be attributed to her Type A personality. It is in tune with the pressure-packed, deadline-oriented nature of her profession, with its virtually nonstop demand for creative solutions to marketing challenges. Exciting? Yes. Exhausting? Guaranteed.

Fortunately, the realist in D.L. started putting everything into perspective a few years ago. “I knew this couldn’t go on. I was overwrought and headed for even more illness and agony than I already had. Without question, I had to adjust the emotional volume control down,” she explained.

D.L. reasoned that the situation seemed tailor-made for psychotherapy, and decided to give it a try. It wasn’t a perfect fit.  After more than a year of therapy, she pronounced herself  “more aware of my problems.” She also came down a few notches on the high-strung scale. Most important was the fact that she was willing to embrace change, but on the downside she was still unfulfilled.

“At that point it was suggested that I try restorative Yoga. I was told that the objective of this branch of Yoga is to put the practitioner and his or her spirituality in balance. By doing so the person would in time become calm, healthier and better able to cope with pressure.’

Hope springs eternal

Full of hope, D.L. enrolled in a restorative Yoga class in 2010, but “for some reason I didn’t feel ready to accept Yoga at that time. After a few months I dropped out.”

The next year she changed her mind—which, this time, changed her life. She decided to give Yoga and herself a second chance, and chose to practice Vinyasa Flow Yoga. That choice turned things around beautifully.

Vinyasa Flow is a restorative Yoga variation based on poses. As explained in an article published by FitDay, an online weight loss/diet journal, “poses (postures) are linked together in a series of movements synchronized with the breath inhaled and exhaled. Emphasis is put on breath and transition in and out of the poses.”

She has been practicing this restorative Yoga for three years. In that time she calmed down considerably and her sinus condition disappeared. “I’m relaxed and more at peace with myself and others. It’s been a very renewing experience but it’s just one step, though a big one, on the way to my ultimate goal—my dream, if you will.

The goal is in sight

“I have to practice one more year to qualify as a certified Yoga instructor. Then being able to help others becomes reality for me.”

And what a meaningful reality it will be. The plan is to create a studio in her home where she will teach restorative Yoga and also apply its techniques to sufferers of muscular and vertebrae ailments. Additionally, the focus will be on senior citizens. They’re most susceptible to these medical conditions, due to falls, other kinds of accidents, or just plain aging.

Continual movements from one pose to another provide added cardiovascular benefits, while increasing muscle strength, endurance, flexibility and stress reduction.

Next stop good health

FitDay likens Vinyasa Flow Yoga to “a dance powered by inhaling and exhaling.” To complete the comparison, all forms of restorative Yoga can be considered dances complete with props. They facilitate the movements among different poses as well as the breathing. Their prop lists include blankets, bolsters, chairs and ‘sticky mats’ designed to adhere to floors, keeping participants safe from slipping.

A recent study by Yoga Journal puts the number of Americans practicing Yoga at 15.8 million. The percentage breakdown is 72.2% women, 27.8% men.

The guess here is that not one of them—male or female—is more gratified with the results of their efforts than D.L. Sweet.