When I first found yoga I'd been working as a Counsellor for several years and had spent much longer still on my own therapeutic journey, searching for the missing pieces that would complete my healing. Having experienced chronic pain for many years following childhood trauma, I was desperate to feel in control of my relationship with my body, not dependent upon someone fixing me all the time.
Yoga's balance of stretching, strengthening, and breathing was something I had never experienced before, and I knew straight away that it was going to mean a lot to me. I fell in love with the peacefulness of a deep, inner connection that yoga had gifted me.
I began to see there was a way of living which wasn't full of pain, anger, or sadness at the things I could never change and despite many helpful (but also long and often re-traumatising) years of counselling, I had never felt contentment like this before.
It was during my teacher training that I was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but in thankful synchronicity, I was able to use my new love of yoga (and the hope for a new way of being that this gave me) to not 'attach' the rest of my life to this medical diagnosis of 'incurable' and 'life-long' pain. Within my meditations, I had found a place away from pain, a space of peace and joy. Though I do still experience pain in my body from time to time I know that it neither defines me nor runs my life.
It is our body that provides the 'ground' (earth) for all of our experiences and our cells hold old memories of the things we have been through that the conscious mind is unable to process. So, of course, any exploration through mind alone will have significant limitation.
Any chronic condition that creates pain or tiredness is the body's way of speaking to us, asking us to sit up and listen, to make the necessary changes in our lives to bring greater balance and calm. It is possible for us to communicate with our suppressed experiences and emotions (however they arise) in a way that can help ease or release them, freeing us up to live happier and more fulfilling lives.
The changes in my own life and ways of thinking have been so profound that my new-found understanding of healing inspired me to create my own integrated therapy, bridging the gap between body and mind. I've called this therapy 'The Swan Method'.
The Swan Method helps to bring suppressed unconscious 'stuff' safely and lovingly into consciousness awareness. It helps stop the inner criticism that many of us are stuck in, allowing mind, body and emotions to come into alignment. It creates freedom to begin to make the changes needed in our lives to move forwards again, allowing us to understand our authentic selves, and get comfortable in that authenticity in the world around us. And, of course, the beautiful precept of yoga sits perfectly as the 'container' to this therapeutic method, since yoga tells us that we were already whole and perfect, we simply need to peel back the layers to 'come home' to our true self.