When I was young I had a severe case of asthma.
Throughout my childhood, I had many experiences that lead me to develop an anxiety problem at a fairly young age - grade 6 to be exact.
As I tried to navigate elementary school and high school, this anxiety caused my mind to race and also caused frustrating insomnia and at times, seemingly hopeless depression.
Occasionally, I became hijacked by my nervous system and panic attacks or asthma attacks would leave me worried and afraid. It was a scary and unsettling feeling, to lose control of my breath. Intense physical pain in my chest would come.
At times I was certain I was having a heart attack and dying.
Other times, I felt like my chest was caving in. Like an imaginary force was crushing my body and suffocating my lungs. These physical experiences of anxiety and panic would often trigger a full blown asthma attack.
More than once I found myself in the hospital with blue lips, face and fingers from hyperventilation and lack of oxygen. One time in my teens, I awoke from unconsciousness hooked up to an oxygen machine in an ambulance rushing me to the hospital. I also experienced heart palpitations that caused me to worry even more about what was happening to my body.
I felt helpless. What I could do to prevent these types of attacks from coming on? I had no idea.
The more I worried about it, the more unexpected attacks would arise out of seemingly nowhere. Under these conditions, relaxation is not accessible; experiencing a sense of peace can be nearly impossible.
Once anxiety takes hold, it can manifest in a variety of ways—from panic disorders to PTSD. Today, over 20% of North Americans are affected with anxiety disorders, many of them children.
When I was in the midst of it all, I felt so alone, so isolated, but I now know that I was not alone in this battle.
My journey with yoga began in 2003 when I fell completely head over heels in love at my very first yoga class. I walked out of that room as if I was floating on a cloud, I blissfully wandered back to my dorm room. I had never felt such peace. I had the best sleep that night that I’d had in years!
I began to practice yoga daily. The more I practiced the more I felt a much needed sense of balance in my life as well as emotional resilience.
Over time, I noticed a progressive reversal of everything I was struggling with in my mental health.
Finally! I had found something that was relieving all of my anxiety symptoms as well as healing my asthma (bonus!). It was an amazing feeling, learning the pranayama (breathing techniques) and feeling like I finally had control over my breath and my nervous system. I could feel my lungs getting stronger. It was incredible.
I went from worrying every night as I tried to fall asleep to drifting off into a peaceful sleep easily and care free. I noticed the effects of this ancient science pouring over into every aspect of my life. I knew I was going to be a lifelong student of yoga and meditation.
I studied under Randal Williams of the Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health for my first 200 hour training. Randal, renowned for his Yoga Nidra retreats at Kripalu was gracious enough to allow me to be his assistant and I am so thankful for his mentorship and for introducing me to Yoga Nidra, the practice that I am most grateful for in this world.
Over the last decade, I've dedicated myself to the practice and my students, taught over 7,000 hours, led 200 & 300 hour teacher trainings and retreats in Nosara, Costa Rica, Venice, California and Kawartha Lakes, Canada and began sharing my guided meditations on my Youtube Channel & Insight Timer. This has connected me to so many incredible yogis and meditators across the globe!
In 2013, I began leading Yoga Teacher Trainings in the Amrita Yoga Tradition with Tiina Kiviven and am honoured to now be the co-director of the 200 & 300 Hour programs.
In 2019 I started leading Yoga Courses & Yoga Nidra Teacher Trainings Online with my global community and it’s been one of my favourite things I have ever experienced.
Nothing is more fulfilling than spreading the incredible benefits I have found in yoga (especially yoga nidra) with others.
I was a person who struggled with debilitating anxiety. Today I am not. In the future, as life brings more challenges, I know that I now have and unshakable inner resilience and the tools to get through it.
It has been over a decade since I’ve experienced a panic or asthma attack.
I’m eternally grateful to the teachers who have passed these tools down for thousands upon thousands of years. Tools that allowed me to completely re-wire my nervous system.
It brings me joy to spread these powerful tools into this community. I have a deep reverence for these teachings that originate in India and South East Asia, I honour them deeply. I am grateful that I get to do this work.
Thank you for reading my story. I hope to see you soon in one of my online immersions or yoga nidra teacher trainings!
With all of my love,
Learn Together with me Online.
I am forever grateful for the supportive & heart-driven community that comes together to learn with each other in my online courses. Would you like to join us?