How Yoga found him
In December 1999, a life-changing moment involving an accident at work reset Marcus’ course forever. Marcus worked in construction and after a faulty safety guard forced a piece of metal into his skull, he describes being hit with an energy that exploded through his body, leaving him hospitalised for 11 days with a shattered face, broken ribs, torn arteries and a split deep into his skull.
In that moment, Marcus experienced an overwhelming connection to a higher power. He heard a voice from within ask “do you want to live?” and a laughing response, “I’m trying”.
It left him with post-traumatic depression, stress, chronic pain and he found it difficult to communicate due to a severe lack of confidence.
He was 20 years old.
After 6 months of pain medication, Marcus built up an immunity, so turned to marijuana for relief. He saw countless doctors, psychologists and other healthcare practitioners but the addiction to drugs continued. After the death of a close friend, he heard once again that ‘higher power’: “If you don’t stop, you’ll be next”. He listened.
Marcus found himself in South East Asia for the following 10 years, allowing him to integrate back into the community, connecting with people. He learnt to live off the land which formed part of the healing process, having been introduced to the Yogic concepts of respect and gratitude.
Life takes another turn for the worse
A financial crisis led to his return to Australia with $100 to his name.
He began selling drugs. A thread of events, including chaotic relationship breakups, family troubles and the final straw of 12 police holding guns to his head was “enough to shock the system”. This resulted in his realisation of being an addict due to chronic pain, 11 more months of unsuccessful withdrawals and admittance to a Detox Clinic.
With little support from family and friends, Marcus went through weeks of detox. It induced immense pain and violent outbursts. It was a tough time to endure, both physically and emotionally. The drug fog had cleared so he had to confront past trauma, failed relationships and lost loved ones.
The Journey to change
A 12 month residential, therapeutic-based community rehab program introduced him to Yoga. He found the contrast of addiction being dishonest and quiet, when recovery was honest and willing, very confronting. The hard work was all ahead.
The centre’s weekly Yoga Teacher, Jane encouraged him to move and stabilise his imbalance from losing an eye. He convinced the centre to add daily Yoga to the schedule. One Sunday the class didn’t happen as they were a teacher down and Marcus and other patients noticed a significant difference in their behaviours – more irritated and distracted. The benefits of the daily practice were evident.
Marcus had his first exposure to teaching then; he started leading yoga classes in the morning and with Jane’s encouragement and extra classes he focused on the goal of becoming a teacher. From there everything changed.
“The physical is nice but the effect on my mind has been profound”
His year of study at The Yoga Institute gave him time to absorb and integrate into this daily life.
Through his study, he realised the importance of an individual approach.
“Nobody has my story and I don’t have anyone else’s. My students have stories, physical and mental conditions. I feel I now have the skills and knowledge to cater for their individual needs”
Studying the Yoga Sutras directly helped him recover through reflection into the nature of his own mind. He recalls the moment he realised addiction was detailed in the sutras (kleshas) as being a profound moment. A true example of ancient wisdom integrated into modern living.
The connection Marcus describes with his ’higher power’ became clearer. His relationships with others improved. Learning to listen and use words consciously enabled him to speak confidently for the first time in years.
Marcus now lives a life without medication. Pranayama is his new pain treatment.
He uses chanting at work to calm his internal environment.
He uses his breath as a tool to evaluate before responding. His favourite quote being:
”Few things are so pressing they can not wait for a moment of breath” TKV Desikachar
Clean from drugs, Marcus got his first job during the year of his studies and has learnt how to be loving a compassionate towards himself. He now lives in gratitude of the realisation he is continuing to share.
He says of Krishnamacharya’s contribution to the World “I feel so grateful to be ‘part of the chain’”.
Marcus has been off drugs for 2.5 years.
“Chronic pain no longer defines me, it is no longer my excuse. Pranayama is now my chronic pain management”
Thank you Marcus for sharing your inspiring story with us.