Years back I was so highly strung I couldn't get through a day without being completely torn apart because not everything was 'perfect'! The house, the kids, my weight, my hair, my job, you name it, perfection was the only way but over time it does nothing but destroy you! My health began to deteriorate and quite frankly I wasn't the nicest person to be around, fun could never come into the equation as fear kept me back from making a fool of myself. Perfectionism is tough to unteach yourself!
My yoga journey wasn't straight forward, like anything it took time to connect, it took time to not feel silly, and it took time to change my mind-set that this may actually change my life! But I had reached breaking point, I was bed ridden with illness so what did I have to lose? What I was about to gain was nothing in my wildest dreams.
I began with meditation which is the hardest to connect to but I had nothing but negativity in my head so it was a welcome break from the pit of depression I was in. I needed to find a different path, I needed to feel better and live a life again!
Over the first couple of weeks I started to notice small changes in how I was feeling, the calm snippets I was connecting too and the relief from my thoughts it was giving me, the emotional strength I began to gain over the following weeks gave me that push I needed to regain the strength within my body, which felt like lead weights at the time. Gradually I began to do gentle restorative yoga stretches in my bed, it made me feel a sense of achievement, and I could feel the muscle wastage improving and my body beginning to heal. I could see a future and it made me determined to continue.
After a couple of months I went to my first class of Hatha yoga, slow paced but even more than that the teacher took understanding of my conditions and made me feel comfortable enough to not push myself to keep up with others. That has always stuck with me and is so important to me to treat my now students with the same individual respect for their needs and reasons they are there!
This class gave me a new confidence not only in myself but also it allowed me to socialise again in a safe environment, yoga classes are surrounded by like-minded people that are there to improve the way they feel and no matter their reasons, and there is a sense of community.
The intense anxiety and depression I suffered began to ease, it brings peace to your life in a way nothing else does, the connection to my breath, listening to my body, learning to let things be and connecting to my owns reactions to find better solutions is truly magical.
My body was a mess, I was heavy, unfit, and not flexible in the slightest and I had no motivation at all. The feelings I had through body image were destructive, I was not respecting my body and suffered with eating disorders or most of my young life, yoga taught me to reconnect, to slow down and respect my body even when I didn’t feel I could, it gave me that strength to keep going, to keep improving my heath day by day, little by little I started to like what I was seeing, I started to accept who I was and how I looked and although like everyone I have down days, I find acceptance and love what my body can do for me, what it has been through and how it has healed from all the trauma!
Acceptance is the biggest lesson I learnt! To slow down enough to look at the moment for what it is and know that I can accept today for what it is, accept the feeling I have, acknowledge it and let it go and that later today or tomorrow will be better, I struggled with this more than ever and it has taken longer than everything else to achieve but I am so happy and proud that I stuck it out, that I learnt to understand and trust the process and be happy in who I am, exactly where I am and what I have!
I used to be truly obsessed with exercise, excessive hiit programmes, 100 sit ups, running, gym, classes but I was never happy, never satisfied, I always wanted more! I have come to realise fitness is nothing without well-being and our well-being is more than a bikini body, more than those size 10 jeans and much more than how society expects us to look!
My body is happy, I have found a contentment within, I still have areas that I have down days about but they are very few and far between now because I see it differently now. I see my stretch marks as evidence of growing three beautiful healthy babies; I see the scars from emergency surgery as the healing from the trauma I have suffered and the beauty of survival!
I see my practice as a healing process, of the calm in the crazy life I lead, my time to slow down and connect to myself and continue to get to know who I am; exercise is no longer a punishment for my body but a way to release from daily stress and trauma. I now see my life and myself in a way I never thought I would. I do not strive to look 'perfect', I see myself happy, playing with my kids, doing things that create fun for them and that brings me joy, so many things I wouldn't do before because of 'how I looked'! What does that even mean? Why do we feel those judgements and expectations?
Yoga and meditation saved my life! Saved my relationships, my family and made me the person I always wanted to be and that’s the true meaning of happiness!
My body and mind crave my mat now, I crave deep breaths and the stillness within that I can now find wherever I am, I can just be in that space, the present moment and go within!
Do you want to feel happy? Calm and love who you are?
Yoga is the key to a new life that lasts!
That is true strength! You will change your life when you commit to yourself each and every day, your mind and body as one to find true happiness within everyday life, the beauty of feeling confident within yourself each time you look in the mirror and the calm feeling within the chaos around you! Find yourself in the stillness and regain your life!