When I first started doing Yoga, I was at one of my happy places: Chapters! They had just started carrying more than “just books”. I bought my first Yoga Mat for a very affordable price and still have it to this day! I use it for other exercises, headstands and such. It is thick and comfortable, but I hated that mat for doing Yoga.
A Yoga Mat is not a one size fits all. Thickness, length, width and material all are factors to consider when looking for a new Mat. A Yoga Mat is going to be apart of you, there for you, and ready to catch you when you fall (laughing, of course!).
If you follow YogatationCa on Instagram, (and if you don’t, check us out here!) my red Yoga Mat is always there for me.
I acquired “Goddess Dirty Toes” from a Yogi friend a few years back for Christmas.
I had been on the hunt for one that was grippy, thick but not heavy to carry and one that was longer.
I stumbled upon Jade Yoga Mat during my research. I love their environmental aspect of their company. After reading amazing review after review and speaking to a few other Yogis, I knew I had found MY mat 🙂
The things that I looked for while researching are:
Jade Yoga Mats checked all those boxes off and than some!
My Yogi Girlfriend knew I was in the market for a new mat and her yoga studio had just gotten the new Jade mats. She did some digging and surprised me with it 🙂 ❤
Although this was a gift, it still has not changed my review on the mat. I use it everyday for my practise. Take it to classes and have even taken it to the park for a little flow outdoors!
I acquired the Jade Harmony Pro Mat. It is 3/16″ thick, 24″ x 74″ and is their most popular to date. Jade calls it the “perfect balance between comfort and stability” and I could not agree more with that statement! It is thick enough that it is nice on my knees and wrists, stable enough that it does not give under my feet in Tree Pose.
With my first mat, if I sweat, I was slip sliding everywhere. Can we say face plant?! With Jade Yoga Mats, they are made of open cell rubber, that make a non-slip surface! I have had my mat for a few years now and have not slipped on it once. I stand firm and strong in Warrior Asana and focus on my breathe, not if I’m slipping on my mat 🙂
Jade Mats come in 4 thickness and 4 sizes/lengths. They are made in the US and contain no PVC.
Jade has 3 Causes that are near and dear to their hearts. When you buy a mat, they plant a tree. When you buy a towel, they provide fresh water. When you buy a block, you help preserve the rainforest. To find out more, please click here.
*Disclaimer: These are my own, personal, honest opinions/practice. This post was not sponsored. YogatationCa recieved this as a gift. YogatationCa is not a certified Yoga Teacher and will not be held liable for any recommendations or information provided. This post is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice, legal advice, or professional services. Therefore, try/practice at your own risk. Always consult your doctor before trying a new exercise.
When starting my Yoga journey there was not a lot of Canadian companies making clothing for yoga that were being made in Canada or North America. There was your big name brand companies that you all know, but those were out of the question.
Fast forward 10 years and now we have a large amount of Canadian companies that are not only making great quality clothing, they are also giving back, providing amazing missions and some, like Inner Fire, are using recyclable products.
I stumbled upon Inner Fire on a web search one day. I was still on the lookout for great quality, great priced, Canadian company and was thrilled when Inner Fire came up. A Vancouver, British Columbia brand, Leah Emmott the founder, says it best when she said:
“I saw the apparel industry getting overrun by the throwaway culture of fast fashion and unfair labour practices. I knew there had to be another way. Armed with a squeegee and a sewing machine, I started printing and sewing my own pieces, selling them at local markets and online. From these humble beginnings, I began to realize that I wasn’t the only one who craved yoga lifestyle clothing that was locally, ethically and sustainably made”
With those words, she spoke to me, was in my head, knew what I was looking for and was passionate about. Wearing and supporting a brand that was local, ethical and sustainable was top on my list.
I decided to give their casual top a go for my first purchase. It is a racerback tank that is soft to the touch and flatters my body while not being to bulky or loose. It is made of a 3 blend fabric (50% polyester, 25% cotton and 25% rayon) which makes it feel super soft. The tops are made in the USA and screen printed in Canada. The ink that is used on the tops is eco-friendly and water based.
Their causal tops are great for your workout or just hanging out! I love every one of the tops and can see my collection growing as I am typing this 🙂 My husband will be thrilled! LOL
If you are looking for a brand that checks all the boxes, you live in Canada and love to support local, great companies look no further! This baby was in my hands in less than a week. 🙂
*Disclaimer: These are my own, personal, honest opinions/practice. This post was not sponsored. YogatationCa purchased all items themselves. YogatationCa is not a certified Yoga Teacher and will not be held liable for any recommendations or information provided. This post is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice, legal advice, or professional services. Therefore, try/practice at your own risk. Always consult your doctor before trying a new exercise.
Like many, I sit at a desk for my job. I do have the opportunity to get up and move but the majority of my day is sat in front of the computer. I have 8 Yoga poses that help me relieve my back pain. I do these almost everyday. Give them a go and see what a little Yoga can do for your health 🙂
Sitting all day causes muscle imbalances, back pain and poor balance and posture. I know for myself, as the day goes on, I find myself hunched over staring at my screen. Small breaks and timers on my phone keep me accountable and allows me to adjust and sit up straight or get up and stretch throughout the day.
The hip flexors tighten and shorten while you sit for long hours. This is due to them overstretching. With overstretched glutes and hips, tight hips occur as your pelvis starts to be pulled out of place in a forward, unnatural tilt. While this happens, the muscles start to pull on your lower back which starts the lower back pain.
Even if I do not have time to do a full hour/half hour of Yoga, I will still take 10 minutes and do these stretches to counteract my day to day pain.
Thread the Needle
Lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Move your RIGHT ankle over your LEFT knee as if making a number “4”. Keep your hips flat on the ground and your lower back pressing into the mat, pull the LEFT knee in towards the chest, thread your RIGHT hand between your legs.
Clasp your hands underneath or on top of your LEFT knee to help pull the knee deeper into the stretch. Try to pull your RIGHT knee open to really stretch the hip. Breathe into the stretch, hold for 30 seconds and repeat on your other side.
Happy Baby Pose
Lay on your mat and pull your knees to your chest. Place your hands on the inside arches or outside of your feet and open your knees wider than shoulder-width. Keep your back pressed into the mat as much as possible, press your feet into hands while pulling down on feet. Breathe into the stretch and hold for at least 30 seconds.
Start by sitting tall on your mat with your knees bent. Bring the soles of your feet together and allow the knees to open out to the side.
Your inner thighs should feel the stretch in this pose. To deepen the stretch, pull the feet closer in towards you, or you can fold forward and walk your hands out in front of you. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
This is one of my least favourite poses and it can be very intense on my knees. Make sure you watch and take care of your knees and ankles if you have issues. Start in table -top pose with your hands under your shoulders and your knees on your mat, or even blankets for more padding.
Gently widen your knees until you feel a comfortable stretch in your inner thighs, keeping your ankles in line with your knees, and your feet and calves grounded the entire time. If you’re able to, lower down to your forearms. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
Half Pigeon Pose
This is my favourite hip opener and one that I’ve worked on. There are 3 variations for this pose, each one allowing you to go deeper into the pose for better relief.
Start in plank pose and bring your RIGHT foot forward with both hands on the mat on either side of my front foot. With most of the weight in your hands, slide your front foot over towards your LEFT hand, and lower the knee over to the RIGHT.
Dropping your RIGHT calf on the mat so that it is lined up as much as possible to the front of your mat. Lower your back leg to the floor. Square your hips as much as possible to the front of the mat. Keep your arms straight and hands flat on the floor for a more moderate stretch.
If you want to increase the stretch, lower down to your forearms, or even lower all the way down to lay over your front leg. You should feel the stretch on the outside of the RIGHT hip and in the glute. Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Double Pigeon Pose
Sit on your mat in a crossed-leg position with your RIGHT leg crossed in front. Move your LEFT ankle and gently pull the ankle to place it on top of the LEFT knee, using your hands where needed to help with the positioning. The shins should now be stacked with the RIGHT leg on top.
I do this pose near the end to get the greatest use out of it. If your hips are tight, your knee on top may be lifted up off the floor a bit. As your hips open more, your knee will eventually lower. You can walk your hands forward slightly to get deeper into the stretch as well. Breath into the pose and hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
Start in plank or down dog and bring your RIGHT foot forward with your hands on either side of your front foot. Lower your back knee and shin to the floor. Lift your chest and bring your hands to your front thigh.
For a greater stretch, or if you have found your balance, bring your arms overhead, and very slightly lean forward, again making sure to not to arch the lower back. Breathe into the stretch, hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Start in plank or down dog and bring your RIGHT foot forward with your hands on either side of your front foot. Keep your back knee and shin lifted. Lift your chest and bring your hands to your front thigh. Allow the hips to sink lower as you square your hips to the front of your mat.
For a greater stretch, or if you have found your balance, bring your arms overhead. Push into your back toes and continue to sink into the pose at your own pace. Breathe into the stretch, hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
*Disclaimer: These are my own, personal, honest opinions/practice. YogatationCa is not a certified Yoga Teacher and will not be held liable for any recommendations or information provided. This post is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice, legal advice, or professional services. Therefore, try/practice at your own risk. Always consult your doctor before trying a new exercise.
I got asked the other day if my husband and I saw eye-to-eye on our beliefs. Although I love my husband dearly, we are complete polar-opposites when it comes to a few key things.
I am a jogger and a yogi. I love to be active and moving. I do it as a way to release my stress and anger and to better myself for me.
My husbands ideal of exercise is walking to the kitchen for a snack!
I try to, almost always, eat healthy food. Having a balanced diet, eating what comes from the ground and staying away from processed foods wherever I can.
My husbands idea of healthy eating is “You gave me veggies for dinner tonight, I ate healthy today”. He will eat carrots, raw as well, but I’m pretty sure the massive amount of Ranch that he uses per carrot cancels the healthy out.
I do not partake in hunting. I believe that there is a time and place for hunting but only if the whole animal is used in some way. Guns scare me, but I know how to use the ones we own for my own protection and need.
My husband loves guns. He is fascinated by them. He recently took up hunting and helped a friend that has a farm harvest his chickens.
Blood and guts are nothing for him. I see a squirrel on the side of the road and I almost pass out.
I recently went Gluten Free. It was a lifestyle decision for my body. I do not make a big deal about it when I go out, or am at someone’s house. I did it for me and my health and I feel better for it. I also cut back on my dairy intake and switched to Almond Milk where I can.
My husband thinks I’m crazy and need my head examined, although I have been to the doctors and she says I am better than I was a year ago :p
He could have Gluten for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. He also downs glasses of milk daily. Peanuts make him sick if he eats too many, but he still buys them and eats them by the handful! He is my Superman 🙂 (He is not allergic, he has been tested)
I am book smart (as its called). I bury my head in books, facts and information. I like to get things done, but do not like doing them. I get things done when they come up and never put anything off.
My husband is strong like a bull, but stubborn like a fox. He can solve any problem and build just about anything. He procrastinates until the last minute or I have bugged him so much that we get into an argument over it. He is the problem solver of the family and everyone (friends and family) turn to him for advice and knowledge on all things. He is my genesis.
Tea or Coffee? Beer or Wine?
I like Tea and Wine. I hate the smell and taste of Coffee and Beer.
My husband lives off of Coffee and Beer. Water? What is that?
As a Yogi, I’m on my mat almost everyday. I’ve rolled out my mat at home, at a studio and even in a field/park. I’ve never stopped to think about what is actually being left on my mat after I am done my practice.
When at home, I leave my mat unrolled, right where I left it after my last practice. Coming from a studio or park, you unroll whatever was on the underside of your mat, right onto the front. Gross, right? Your feet, hands, sweat, even my face – all having contact with my mat.
When I did my practice at a studio, I would use the wipes that they provided before rolling my mat up. But since having a consent practice at home, I have let this go, until recently.
After reading an article on Elle.com about what could or is lerking on your mat awaiting you, I set out to find a mat cleaner that was safe, no chemicals and could be made for a fairly decent price.
I had recently started using Essential oils so I had these on hand. Any brand will do, the more pure and natural the better!
You will need the following:
Small spray bottle
Water (3/4 of the spray bottle)
2 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil
1 Drop of Lavender Essential Oil
Optional: White Vinegar (1/4 of the spray bottle)
Fill your spray bottle with the ingredients of your choice. Shake and spray your entire mat. Wipe down your mat with a damp cloth. Don’t forget to repeat on the other side, and allow your mat to dry for 5-10 minutes before rolling it up for storage.
This mat cleaner is made with 2 simple and fairly common Essential oils: Tea Tree and Lavender. Tea tree essential oil is antibacterial and antifungal, so great for getting rid of the nasties that are left on your mat! Lavender essential oil is an antibacterial oil that offers a relaxing and calming scent which will relieve tension and is great for unwinding post-yoga.
Making a spray, you can use any oils you like to get the desired fragrance, I just like the smell of Lavender and have it on hand at all times 🙂 Tea Tree Oil is an strong scent, and many may not like it. You can substitute it with another antibacterial oil such as lemongrass, eucalyptus, or peppermint. You also don’t have to settle at just two oils – you can mix-and-match and create combinations to match the season 🙂
At least once a month I give my mat a good cleaning. I use Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Soap and into the tub we go. I give it a good scrub and a rinse and hang it to dry.
Not only is cleaning your mat after every use, important for your health, it also lets you come to your mat fresh, renewed and ready to start your practice with a clean slate.
The healing power of Crystals has been used dating back to ancient times. Quartz in particular was believed to be a source of power and energy. While back than, it was all speculation, modern science has declared this to be true.
(For the back story on how this Gem became my possession, please click here)
This necklace is composed of a Quartz Stone, cloudy in colour, and 7 gemstones, each to represent the 7 Chakras. Chakras are energy forces that exist within the body and transmit life force energy to the body. Each Chakra controls specific parts of the body and emotions accompanying those locations.
Quartz Crystals healing properties allows the wearer to utilize the protective and grounding energy that radiates from it. The wearer may experience the negativity escaping and an onset of positive thoughts and feelings from continual wear, creating a healing effect on the soul and mind.
Each Chakra has a gemstone to amplify its healing properties. Many different stones can be used, all having different healing properties. As I am not the original owner of this necklace, I am not fully aware of which actual gems have been use. For the purpose of this post, I can only assume which gemstones are used from looking at the necklace.
The 7 Chakras are:
6. Third Eye
3. Solar Plexus
Crown Chakra – I understand: Located at the top of your head. Is known as the “master chakra”. Represented by the Amethyst Stone.
Third Eye Chakra – I see: Located between your eyes. This is the “all seeing” and mental clarity. Represented by the Lapis Lazuli Stone.
Throat Chakra – I Speak: Located behind the spine in the throat. Communication and independence are characteristics of this Chakra. Represented by the Blue Topaz.
Heart Chakra – I Love: Located over the heart. This Chakra is Love and Compassion. Represented by the Peridot.
Solar Plexus – I Do: Located behind the lumbar region of your spine. Fear and Anxiety are found here. Represented by Golden Yellow Labradorite.
Sacral Chakra – I Feel: Located in the Sacrum. It is known for reproduction and joy. Represented by Carnelian Stone.
Root Chakra – I Am: Located at the base of your tail bone. Security and stability are characteristics. Represented by Rubellite.
When centering your Chakras and cleansing them, you start from the bottom and work your way to the top.
I wear this on days when I feel out of aligned with my body. I find myself being drawn to it without even knowing I need it.
As I dive deeper and deeper into my studies and practice, I learn more and more about what it means to be aligned both mentally and physically. Although, it is hard to master, once mastered, it makes all the difference.
*Disclaimer: These are my own, personal, honest opinions. Not a sponsored review/post. YogatationCa is not a certified Yoga Teacher or Spirit Guide and will not be held liable for any recommendations or information provided. Therefore, try/practice at your own risk. Always consult your doctor before trying a new exercise.
I’ve been pondering taking Yoga Teacher Training. I have been practising on and off for the last 12 years. I did leave the mat for a few years here and there for one reason or another, but always found my way back to the top of my mat.
When I first started doing Yoga, it was an escape from my life. A place to call my own and to be me. Budget and time had me stop. The cost for attending classes in a studio is pretty high. I’m sure its peanuts compared to some studios around the world.
I was not that diverse in my practice to do it at home, so I bowed out and did not pick it back up for a few years. I took a few classes here and there, just the “drop in” fee and fell back in love with my practice.
My husband and I bought our first house 3 years ago! It moved us to a small “town” outside of the big city. It also brought me closer to a few small towns that have Yoga Studios. Within one of those towns was a new studio that offered very reasonable prices and NO membership fees!
I attended their open house, got hooked. It was my drug, my happy place. I love/loved my yoga teacher and the studio vibes were awesome as well. I almost never missed a class. I went for a year and than the studio had to close it’s doors. It left a hole in my heart and mind.
I tried other studios but nothing brought the same feeling as going to that studio did. My mind and wallet missed this studio…
This year I turned the big 3-0! I said that this was the year that I would try new things and enjoy what this city has to offer this summer. I started to go to festivals and events in the summer. A local winery started to host more and more events, including Yoga classes. I’m not much for getting out of my comfort zone, but I “forced” myself to attend. I am so happy I did! It was so amazing and exactly want I needed to kick start my love of Yoga into high gear again. The classes were held near the water, at a winery, in the morning. Birds flying overhead, the cool breeze of the wind and the amazing view of the water. We were blessed to have clear skies for the classes.
I got home after that one class and rolled out my mat again and started practising on a regular basis. I use Yoga DVD’s to guide me through my practice. I still love being taught or lead through the practice.
Now, your probably thinking, where does the “yoga teacher training” come into play here?
We were out celebrating my good friends birthday recently, when one of our friends brought up Yoga and how she wanted to “get into it”. She started to ask me a ton of questions and than asked me if I had considered teaching. It had crossed my mind, years ago. Before it became the “it thing” and everyone was doing it.
The time and money to do it was one thing that was holding me back. The other? My monkey mind. The voice inside my head telling me that I am not the best at yoga or teaching. I can not do the Crow, stand on my head or hands and I am not that flexible. What could I possibility offer anyone?
After talking to my friend and doing lots of research, I found out the true meaning of teaching Yoga.
This quote has popped up so many times, that it was only fitting that I use it in my post.
I also have doubts and concerns with falling “out of love” with Yoga. Not having time for my practice. Everyone teaches differently. Some do the practice with you, only to get up and walk the room when needed. Others only walk the room, correcting you and shows you the moves when it is needed. I would like to think I would be the first. My favourite Yoga teacher is like this and I enjoy this way of teaching so much better than the “university” style teaching. I learn by doing and seeing, not just hearing.
My Monkey mind has also stated that I would not be able to quite my full time job for a yoga career. It would mean working late afternoons, leaving a 8-10 hour day to head to a studio to teach. Would I be into it? Would I be able to offer my students enough of me without being burnt out? All great points.
I just happened upon a new or fairly new teaching platform online. YouTube is a great resource as well, however, this platform allows you to “teach” online for a fee. The student can practice whenever they have time, but you still get paid to teach. I was very interested in this “new” concept and it made my thinking become a possible reality. Something that I could do and not have to take so much out of me. Upload and teach/create on my time.
Making it available to a wider range of yogis is also amazing. You are the driver in the seat. You create the fees, the programs, the videos, the documents. You name it, you create it. They are the platform to help you create and teach. They are the opportunity that just might make me jump start this “thought/daydream” into high gear.
I was discussing with my good friend, another yogi, on my thoughts on Yoga Teacher Training and how I found an online, accredited program that you do at home. This program is very affordable, something that I could save up for and make happen a lot sooner than the other training’s. She made a great point, one that stuck with me for a bit and left my hopes shattered. “Yoga Training should be hands on. To learn how to realign someone, to walk through the classes and learn how to lead the class. These can not be learned or taught from a book”. She was right. I learn in a “college” atmosphere, not a “university” setting.
For months, after that conversation, I was defeated. Thinking that I would never teach yoga. Maybe it is for the best. Maybe I won’t be great at it. Maybe I would begin to hate Yoga and stop practising when I wasn’t teaching.
Maybe, I would learn along the way. Become amazing at teaching. Become recognised around the world. Start out small, learn and become the best that “I” can be.
But, I read a blog post/article about a fellow yogi that basically had the same thoughts and feelings as me. She was in the same predicament as me, it seemed, and yet she just went for it! She shut out all the “what ifs, the maybes and the nos” and just jumped, feet first onto her mat and just practised. She is now a Yoga Teacher and LOVES it.
If she can do it, than I can. The only thing holding me back is my monkey mind and opinions of others. That really, at the end of the day, if YOU are happy with you and your discussions, that’s all that matters.
All these thoughts and emotions are what, I my opinion make for a great teacher. You should always be learning. You should always be listening. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to fumble. You’re going to laugh at yourself, and you should! It is after all, a practice…
After an internal battle with myself, I have come to the conclusion that I WILL complete the Yoga Teacher Training – online. It will get my feet in the door and allow me to teach, if not just online, but to small groups and community centres.
Have you every met someone and felt an intimidate connection to them? Their familiar to you. You do not feel any fear towards them and your inner being is calm around them. Do you believe in Guardian Angels? Do you believe that you can have more than one? Do you think that everyone is put on this earth for a purpose and come in and out of our lives at the exact moment that they are needed? I do.
For this, you’re going to need a little back story. Please read this post to get a little more personal with me and my journey.
I was walking down the busy streets of the wild and alive city that I now call home. Alone and taking on the world by myself. I had a new outlook on the world. My guard was up, way up and it was not coming down anytime soon. I had learned the roads to take, when not to go out at night and which areas to stay away from. I’m not much for crowds, but populated streets were better and safer than quiet ones.
I was walking back from the bus stop one day when an older lady got into my path. Now, at this time of day, the streets were a flurry of people all going one way or the other. My guard went up and I wanted to, no, I needed to get out of the path that this woman was on. But to no end, I could not get out-of-the-way fast enough and we met, face to face. I excused myself and inched my way around her, only to have her say “young child, I have something for you”.
At this point, I know what you might be thinking. Run! Run fast! There is a crazy lady behind you! And believe me when I tell you, all those things came to my head and my feet were ready to bolt. Something deep in my soul told me everything was OK. This does not mean that my guard went down but I did turn around and approach her, with a safe distant between us.
I seen that she had something in her hands and it was dangling. As she approached me she said “child, do not be afraid. I will not harm you”. She extended her arms and showed me what was in her hands. It was a necklace. At this time in my life I was just getting into Yoga, Chakras and Crystals. What she had extended in her hands was a Quartz Crystal rock with the 7 Chakra stones wound around it. The necklace hung in front of me, dangling with purpose and life.
To this, I asked the lady, “Your giving this to me? But you do not know me”. Her response was simple, ” I do not need to know you, to know that you are in need of this. Give me your hands”. I held out my hand and she laid the necklace in my one hand, gestured for my other, which I gave. She put my one hand on top of the necklace and then wrapped her hands around my hands and said “I was given this when I needed it the most. I pass it onto you. Let it be the guide that you need. Keep it always. When the time comes that you do not need it any longer, you will know. Pass it on”.
She left me standing in the middle of the busy street with my hands still up holding onto the necklace. I was speechless, dumbfounded and kinda weirded out. By the time I had found myself again and turned to thank the lady, she was gone. Lost in the crowd maybe. Vanished into the clouds. Where ever she went, she was gone.
All these years I have kept this necklace. It went into a box, got tucked away and forgotten. Through every move, every purge and down size, I never got rid of it.
This morning, while getting ready for work, the necklace popped into my head. I went on the search. Knowing exactly where it was, I found it quickly and put it on. All these years of having it and I never wore it once. Call it superstition, call it witchcraft, call it whatever you wish. But this morning I did not hesitate to put it on.
Like most of my past, I have never told this story to anyone. How this necklace came to be in my possession.
That day, on the busy street, while everyone was busy coming and going, a young girl and an old lady had a brief but spiritual encounter. One that left an impression on the young girls soul.
Canadian born and raised, I’m always inspired with the never ending scenes. The changing weather/seasons and inspiration right outside your window.
Growing up in the country allowed me to be one with nature. I grew up before technology was glued to your eyeballs! It was nothing for me to spend the day in the forest, exploring, getting into trouble and getting down and dirty! This all taught me to appreciate all living things, to touch and feel with your whole beginning. All living things are a gift. We are a gift. Our breathe, our body, our mind. We choice how to use them. Chosen wisely, and you can overcome many things, big or small.
We have all had to overcome troubles in our lives. That is, after all what being human is. Ups and downs, the good with the bad, just trying to figure it all out.
Like many youngsters, I had a hard time in school. Bullied, picked on, alienated. I just wanted the 4 years to be done and over with so I could start my life away from the small town that I was raised in. Where everyone knew your business before you knew your business.
At the end of grade 11, I fell in with the wrong people. I had been friends with this group for most of my high school career, but never really “hung out” with them. I started dating a guy that I liked, but liked more because people were afraid of him. It made me feel safe. No one would touch me, call me names or treat me poorly, in fear of him. Now looking back on all that I know now, these are MASSIVE red flags. Believe me when I say: If I could go back and tell my high school self one thing, it would be to walk the other way. Stay the hell away from this guy.
I graduate high school with 3 possible collages interested in me attending their schools. I was “bullied” into attending the one in his city. At the ago of 18, for the first time in my life, I packed all my belongings and made the 6 hour trip across the 401 to my new home.
If ever there was time in your life that you wanted to be free from your parents, believe me, this was not it. Moving 6 hours away to a city that is 10 times bigger and faster than you are use to will wake you up!
For the first time in my life, I had to be an adult, and fast. Things became clearer as the days progressed. I began to see the person I had moved across the Province for. The person I once knew was not the person I lived with. My personal safety was being threatened. I feared for my life. I would wake up wishing I hadn’t been given the chance to wake up.
I got a full time job to support myself and his addictions. I would get woken up at all hours of the night to either provide money or to just get yelled at and abused.
I followed through with my promise to myself and my parents and applied for College. I managed to get a loan from the bank, with my parents help. I attended my first year of college with no one knowing the battles that I faced at home. The bruises were always covered, both physical and emotional.
I started to get further into debt do to his addictions and was forced to quiet working when I was denied a vacation request. (He went to my work and went mad at the manger. I was fired for his actions). Now having no income of my own, I needed to depend on him for support and payments of all my purchases. More control over me.
Nearing the end of my first year at College, my class had a trip planned for NYC. I was super excited to go. My parents scrapped money together to make the trip happen for me. He, did not agree. For the first time in our “relationship” me left a mark on me that could not be easly covered up. I went to class the next 2 weeks, with a black eye. A visable mark of abuse. And I am here to tell you that NO ONE asked if I was ok. NO ONE asked if I needed help. NO ONE showed a concern for the fact that I had a black eye. I went to NYC with a black eye and it wasn’t until that trip that I found my strength to leave him.
We were walking through Central Park, doing touristy things, when I saw a class out on the grass practicing Yoga. Now, I had done a few classes here and there, but with my financial status, I was unable to take classes regularly. It hasn’t even accrued to me that you didn’t need a class to do yoga. I found a bench, sat and just watched. In just watching, I felt the weight of the world come off my shoulders. My fears and doubts were slowly leaving my mind and body. I knew that I was strong enough to overcome this hurdle that had been put into my hands. I was going to come out of this trip a new person, a new strong independent woman.
The rest of the trip was amazing but it flew by. When I arrived home, a new person, I had to face my demons and get rid of them once and for all. I hadn’t even been home for an hour and he was already verbally abusing me. I hadn’t been able to call him every day like he told me I had to because it was either cell phone minutes or food. I, of course, choice food. He raised his hand to me and right then and there something powerful took over my body. I told him I was leaving him, moving out. I couldn’t keep “living” this life of fear.
I called my parents and told them I needed help moving out. My father took a long weekend, drove down and moved me out of the last place I ever felt threaten and alone.
I got my own apartment. Continued going to college. Started my life over. It was a slow process. I was a young girl, living in the same city as my abusive ex. I didn’t have a car, hardly any money and had to protect myself. With the help of a great friend and yoga/meditation, I was able to over come most of the scars that were put on my soul.
I’m not perfect. There are still things that set me off. I have a temper and get angry very fast. All things that have stemmed from my past. I’m not proud of these flaws. They are not helpful in any way in my life.
Yoga and Meditation have always been a consent in my life. A light at the end of the tunnel when I needed an escape. I have strayed from my Practice. I left the mat for years, but always end up back at the top of the mat ready to learn and let go.
Through breathing, meditation and my practice, I have been able to “Let it all Go” and forgive myself for what my past did to me. It took a long time for me to forgive. Not him, not for what he did to me, but forgive myself. Once I was able to see past my past and understand that my past does not define who I am today. I was able to start fresh, be “reborn” if you will.
I am not a religious person. I am spiritual. I believe in a higher power, in ghosts and spirts. I believe in healing abilities and Mother Earth as a Doctor.
Yoga is YOUR practice, YOUR time, YOUR journey. Let it be what YOU need it to be. Step on your mat and Let it all Go.
*All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not a doctor or health practitioner. Please consult your doctor before starting any new workout. If you know of anyone that is suffering, Please be the voice that they need. Sometimes the person in the situation can not speak for themselves because of fear.