By Alexandra Pecci
Kay White was lying on her yoga mat in Savasana—relaxation pose—in Bali when it happened.
“All of a sudden my heart burst open,” she remembers. “All of a sudden I loved myself, and I had never loved myself.”
It was a true spiritual awakening, and in that moment, she not only loved herself, but everything and everyone around her, from trees to animals, to people. She realized that they were all spiritual beings, and that she was a spiritual being, too. That realization not only helped White find true joy in a sober life, but also led her to open Villa Kali Ma, a sober living house for women in Carlsbad, Calif.
White’s awakening was hard-won. For years, she was consumed with “outside things” that she used to try to make herself feel better: drugs, alcohol, toxic relationships, a new Porsche, the latest Louis Vuitton bag.
“I lived in a selfish little bubble,” she says. “It had been so damaging to my children. I knew that I needed to change my life. I was really living a miserable existence.”
But even after she ended her abusive relationship, went to rehab, and spent five months in a sober-living house, something still hadn’t clicked. She smoked, had a terrible diet, endured sciatic pain down both legs, and couldn’t even bend over and touch her toes.
“I looked like an 80-year-old woman trying to get out of a chair,” White remembers, even though she was only 48 at the time. “I went to AA meetings but I didn’t get the spiritual connection. I didn’t have a higher power connection.”
Yoga helped her find that connection, first when she met a yoga teacher in rehab who introduced her to the spiritual aspect of the practice, then later when the book “Yoga Bitch” inspired her to go to Bali to practice yoga and attend the BaliSpirit Yoga Festival.
That two-week-long trip to Bali morphed into much more: White ended up taking an intensive 30-day yoga teacher training course in which she was fully immersed for 12-hours a day into the spirituality of yoga. She learned that yoga was about so much more than just the postures, or asanas, and finally experienced the spiritual connection that had been the missing piece in her recovery.
To read the rest of Kate’s story, including how she is helping other women, see the latest issue of Renew.