I’ve always had a zest for life. I love exploring, learning and engaging with people, and I have always had an open heart; I was the kid in school that all the teachers put the new student next to.
And in all my capacity for love of self and others, I struggled. For many years, I couldn’t put a name to it, but as I got older and learned more, I realized that I was dealing with complex childhood trauma. Despite being a loving mother, wife, daughter, and friend, there was always something stirring just beneath the surface and I coped the best I could.
Most of my life I was in a place where I was doing well, but I always seemed to hit a wall. Something would happen in life that triggered me and then I would relapse.
In 2013, I was still working, and was highly functional but I knew I couldn’t sustain it. I was dealing with a lot in my life and felt like things were really starting to bubble up. I decided to start counselling, and that is when I began to unravel. I couldn’t work, my addiction became stronger and I knew deep down something was about to change.
With my family’s support, I asked to go to treatment. I knew I needed to take time for myself, without any responsibilities or distractions so that I could heal. At the treatment facility, yoga was a mandatory part of the programming. This is when I first encountered Yoga Outreach.
The yoga classes landed with me right away. The teacher was so skillful in guiding everyone to just be as they were, regardless of what that looked like. We had the option of sitting in a chair, lying on the floor, or standing at the door if we wanted.
Everything was an invitation, there was so much choice, and there were no expectations of what it was supposed to look like. I remember connecting with the sensations in my body and feeling excited to practice.
Every morning I would get up at 6am and practice alone in a little room on the second floor of the recovery centre (and I am not a morning person). It just felt so good to get up early and practice what I had learned. The time I had to tune into myself was so special, and I became so dedicated to myself.
Recovery is a long process. There are many layers, and for me, yoga was the key because it took me out of my head and allowed me to be my body. It helped me manage stress, stay present, and sleep better.
Because of yoga, I am aware of triggers in my body as they happen, and I can now take a deep breath, step back and respond to situations, rather than react. I am able stay present and take care of myself.
I have come to accept and love all of myself completely. And learning to accept both the darkness and light within myself from a place of love, has allowed me to connect with others, in all conditions, from a place of total acceptance.
I am looking forward to bringing the same kind of yoga programming here to my community, and thanks to people like the staff at Yoga Outreach I have been inspired to take trauma-informed yoga training.
A seed was planted with Yoga Outreach that has grown into a tree, and it continues to grow. The branches have spread up and out and the roots have grown deep. It has been a beautiful experience that has touched something so deep in me.
Of course, life has its challenges, but yoga has taught me that I don’t need to escape. Instead, I can be present with what’s here, even if I don’t like it.