When Richard WidmarkÂ found yoga, he weighed more than 650 pounds. While Widmark, an EMT, is trained to save the lives of others, he was struggling to save his own. After a failed suicide attempt, however, he knew it was time to at least try.
"?Even though the gun didn't go off, I was still 600-plus pounds," he told PEOPLE. "Instead of a gun for suicide, food was my suicide. I was slowly killing myself. Now, I don't want to die.â
Having battled depression and an eating disorder his entire life, he first turned to a raw food diet to help with his weight loss, then discovered yoga. Now, his entire lifestyle has changed.
I hit the almost splits last night!! First time I've ever even gotten close. Thanks to my yoga teacher and friend Sylvia "Durga" for giving me the opportunity to open to my true nature again. Also thank you Sarah for sharing your practice with me. Click the link in my bio to help support my yoga teacher training!! #strength #instayoga #instafit #practice #me #posing #motivation #healthy #love #namaste #yogalove #yogaeverywhere #meditation #yogi #fitfam #yogini #yogaeveryday #peace #yogalife #yogainspiration #balance #inspiration #yogachallenge #yogapractice #yogapose #happy #training #exercise #strong #lifestyle
âAs the years went by, I started losing friends, which made me have a lot more time to myself,â Widmark told WTVR. âThen my friends are getting married having kids and here's me â a big failure at life.â
My yoga teacher took this of me today. When I look at this my first reaction is of disgust. I didn't see what my teacher saw. "Look at your top arm and leg. The openness at your chest and hips is beautiful!! How straight your are able to get, and how you are supporting yourself and balancing on one arm and leg." Years of hating myself won't go away over night, but with the help of supportive friends I'll get there. Yoga is for EVERY BODY. #yoga #motivation #benow #selflove
"I see myself in the future teaching it to people who are in the position that I'm in now, people who might be scared to walk through the door," he told PEOPLE.
But it's not just weight loss that keeps Widmark on the mat. Through yoga, he also thinks more positively about himself and has found an inner peace.
"It's brought me many opportunities to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually," he told DOYOUYOGA. "Yoga is teaching me that it is okay to be exactly where I am at with life, it's still an every day struggle, but I cope with things better than I once did. I use to hold everything in and just wait to explode, now I'm more open to say what's in my heart."
Widmark has a GoFundMe page to raise money for his training program. "I don't have the means to pay for the class but I'm trying to find a way," he writes.Â "You aren't just giving me money for a class, you are investing in my future and the people I will teach futures as well." Good luck on your continued journey, Richard! Namaste.