A long relationship with cigarettes
I know what it feels like to want to scream and pull my hair out in a fit of cravings. I’ve been that fiend that would bum a cigarette from a homeless person just so I could stay in denial. If I didn’t BUY a pack of smokes, I wasn’t a smoker, right?
I’ve had sleepless nights in fits of shame and remorse over my addiction. Cigarettes were my staple for nearly 11 years. They were the armor that kept my loneliness at bay in the late hours of the evening and book-ended all of my meals, classes, auditions, disappointments and happy moments too. I longed to quit. Yoga, in its mysterious workings, showed me the way.
Relief isn't instantaneous
Relief didn’t come overnight. That would be like expecting a first time yogi to pop right into Eka Pada Koundinyasana. It’s a process. I was 26, a stubborn little badass with bushy black eyebrows that framed fierce, fight-ready eyes. That’s when I set the date to quit smoking and try the Bryan Kest Power Yoga video instead. The events that transpired from this acquiescence still blow my mind.
As Bryan Kest poetically riffed on the principle of equanimity (which is defined as calmness or an evenness of temper especially in a difficult situation), I growled my way into his tough-as-nails yoga positions like I was in a boxing ring. Still, I liked it. A little spark was lit in me and it was NOT at the end of a cigarette!
A new outlet
The next thing I knew, I was showing up for local yoga classes and developing my own personal practice. Wildly, yoga started to practice me! I could see a clear metaphor; my practice was teaching me how to breathe into uncomfortable situations without the need to escape (smoke). It took midday Pranayama (yogic breath work) or seriously just dropping right into Virabhadrasana to let that warrior pose fight away the urge to light up.
My evenings were filled with moon salutations or one long set of Agnistambhasana to get me to go to sleep. Miraculously, an hour without a smoke became weeks, which turned into months and then finally years. In its place was a steady practice on and off the mat of equanimity. I was learning how to lean into life with all of its challenges. I’ve still got those bushy black eyebrows, only today they frame the softly gazing eyes of a nonsmoking little badass yogini.
Born in Anchorage, Alaska, Traci Dinwiddie grew up fascinated by the realm of science fiction and the entertainment industry. Although most fans recognize her as a true gem in the indie world from her award winning “Best Actress” performance as Peyton Lombard in Elena Undone, Dinwiddie soon became a household name when she joined the cast of The CW’s hit series Supernatural as Pamela Barnes. Aside from pursuing her writing, acting and singing talents, Traci currently resides in Los Angeles where she enjoys West African drumming, hiking, teaching and studying yoga and a myriad of forms of Improv Theater. Follow Traci on Twitter!