The following was written by guest blogger Alex Vandiver, winner of our social media contest for a free year of Yoga. Alex will be blogging here about her yearlong journey with us.

I have been alive for 26 years. I have been fighting a difficult battle for 8. A war is being waged against my body, my uterus and my femininity. 

Endometriosis, such a funny diagnosis isn’t it? One minute I feel like I can get some things done, and the next I feel as though a cat with hot iron claws is trying to work its way out of my lady parts. Charming, I know. Look it up, it sucks!

It honestly never occurred to me that one day I would wake up sick and never get better. I am constantly torn between “I can’t let this illness ruin my life” and “I have to listen to my body and rest.” After years of surgery, major diet changes, nerve blocks and medications, you’d think I would throw in the towel.

That, honestly, is the funny thing about me: I do not give up easily.

My lovely OB/GYN had suggested yoga therapy as an alternative to physical therapy. But, my yoga practice has been on-and-off for years — depending on pain — and I had not ever considered exercise as a true pelvic floor therapy. Exercise typically flares up my lady parts. So, I did not give that suggestion a second thought.

Thanks to luck and scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw that the Floating Lotus was offering free yoga for a year. Algorithms and the universe said, “Hey girl, weren’t you just told to do this?” So, I crossed my fingers, wrote an essay, and asked every deity out there to give a girl a break.

Then I got the best call in the world from Cassandra and the studio. Holy shit! I had won yoga for a year. A WHOLE YEAR. Now, I’d get a running start at getting my strength on, practicing mindfulness and developing peace within. 

Since my yoga journey began in February, life has thrown some interesting curve balls: endo issues, Covid-19 and a slight ankle sprain. But that has not stopped me. With the support and strength of my yoga family, we are fighting this war together. 

I’ve tried yin, hatha, beginners and several (sweaty) hot yoga classes. Some days are harder than others. But the instructors have constantly reminded me to take my time and be kinder to myself. Which is a battle I had been avoiding.

Mental support and physical strength are my ultimate goals for my practice. Only I can provide that to myself, with positive instruction. Strength within is what I am learning.

All this simply to say, I’m fighting like a girl and will kick ass the whole way through, one class at a time. I look forward to sharing more and getting to the end of this road as a better, more flexible, and stronger person.

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