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 been experiencing chronic pain for many years following childhood abuse 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. Yoga really connected!
My relationship with myself, with others and with the world around me deepened as yoga illuminated a whole new dimension to life. I began to see there was a way of living which wasn't full of pain, anger or sadness at what I could never change and despite many helpful (but also long and often re-traumatising) years of counselling, I had never felt peace like this before.
I fell in love with the peacefulness of a deep, inner connection - to my essence or soul, if you like, that yoga had gifted me.
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. In my meditations I found a space away from pain, a space of peace and of joy, and though I do still experience pain in my body from time to time I know that it neither defines me nor runs my life.
I realised that our mind, body, emotions and spirit are interconnected, and it is our body that provides the 'ground' (earth) for all of our experiences so, of course, since it is the body that holds our trauma memories any (non-embodied) exploration through mind alone will inevitably have significant limitation.
I've seen how pain flares up when something is out of balance in mind, emotions or life and this is actually part of a sensitive and important communication system. Pain is the body speaking and it's asking us to sit up and listen to our inner voice. It's a last ditch attempt of the body to say, "you're not hearing me, I need your help!".
The most wonderful thing is that with years of counselling, yoga and inquiry into life meaning and purpose, I learned that it's possible to 'communicate' with pain, and that this communication and attention inwardly can ease or release it. Once we develop helpful inner communication between suppressed parts of ourselves / our experiences and our adult 'here and now' self that is experiencing life in this very moment, then the unconscious mind can come into alignment with the process of healing and self sabotage can stop.
True healing really is possible!
My new-found understanding of healing inspired me to create my very own integrated practice of Talk, Embody & Heal. Within this healing therapy, there are so many tools I can use to help people but the supportive relationship we create together is the most important of all.
Eventually, I made the decision to finish my counselling practice and dedicate myself to teaching yoga and to offering 1:1 therapy, and I haven't looked back! I am so happy for my work to fully embrace the beautiful precept of yoga, which says that we are all already whole and perfect, all we need to do is come home to our true nature.
I would like to honour all of my wonderful teachers, both yoga and counselling, and especially Debbie Avani (Avani Yoga Academy) and the lineage of yoga wisdom that she passed on. There are far too many teachers to name, all of whom have made such an impact on my work and life choices. But perhaps the biggest teacher of all has been life itself, because once I stopped fighting it, I realised how much there was to learn and to embrace.