Yoga saved my life. A big statement yes, but also the truth. My struggles with food, body image and self-acceptance first presented themselves in my early-teens and continued to plague me for the next 20 years. At the height of my eating disorder was a 14-year struggle with bulimia-nervosa. There were extremely dark times where I would only leave the house for food and the endless cycle of binging and purging would continue for days at a time. During this phase of my life I honestly thought I would never escape the destructive patterns, and it was not through lack of trying. I saw doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists. I was prescribed anti-depressants at the age of 15.
Despite this, those closest to me did not understand I was suffering a mental disorder. Unhelpful advice was often offered “just don’t eat so much” or “only eat 2 biscuits and you won’t need to have the whole pack”. Naturally at the time these concepts were so unattainable for me that the shame felt each time was magnified.
So, for a very long time nothing shifted. That was, until Yoga found me.
My experience was purely physical at first, showing up to group yoga classes with more enthusiasm than I had felt for anything previously. After 3 short months of this strange and wonderful body movement, I realised I had 'head space' for the first time in my life! I felt clearer, happier, motivated. I was hooked and I wanted to know why.
I began to read anything and everything I could find on yoga. I subscribed to all the monthly magazines and websites.
I began a meditation practice, devoured the philosophy and very quickly understood the more I learned the more there was to learn and that I would never be satisfied with dabbling in this field. I was all in.
So 2 years after my first class, I quit my lucrative career in hotel sales and move to Byron Bay. Here I completed my 800hr Yoga Teacher Training. I lived and worked in 'The Bay' for almost 3yrs teaching at multiple yoga studios and hosting weekly yoga and wellness retreats. During this time I also trained as Yoga Therapist, for I knew on a fundamental level that I was meant to share the tools of yoga with those who had also experienced mental health struggles.
From Byron Bay I heard the call to take my practice to India, to go deeper into this healing journey. I stayed at several ashrams, partaking in their rigorous daily structures, starting with pre-dawn meditation followed by glorious kirtan (yogic chanting) where my soul was singing as loudly as my voice!
There was also karma and bhakti yoga, shared meals, lessons, fire pujas (ceremonies) and of course the physical practice of yoga. India is also where I discovered my love of healing sounds bowls.
It was an incredible time in my life and one that I am able to use the teachings and experiences I had, to reference within client sessions.
So, please believe me when I say, I understand. I understand you are also on your own healing journey and that is what has lead you here today. I understand your struggle, pain and shame, because I walked that path for a long time too.
I understand it can feel scary to inhabit your body, a body you have been/are still, at war with. I understand being so disconnected from your body you have no idea how to feel your emotions, let alone how to name or process them.
No matter what you are thinking, feeling, or fearing, I have been there too.
There is a way out and for me that way was Yoga, so I would be honoured to share this healing path with you.