Since I was a child I have always felt as though I was running through life never really taking the time to smell the roses, as some would say. With a strict after-school schedule of competitive figure skating, every minute of my day was allotted, reserved and planned out to support skating and school. If I didn’t fill my time in order to remain productive, I would feel anxious, like I was wasting my potential. So, when I attended York University, a double major, with honours in Global Politics and Human Geography continued me on the same path of busy-ness. But this still wasn’t enough. I decided to replace the time figure skating with dance classes, in addition to working two part time jobs.
Anxiety started to become a real issue because of the way I was living my life. My life long patterns began manifesting as an overload of stress, mostly self induced. In truth, I made the choice to live my life so chaotically.
After graduating university I moved back to Ottawa and worked for a year. I worked a lot.
Still feeling stressed and anxious I attributed it to a lack of physical exertion. I started attending The School of Dance Professional Contemporary Dance Program and again was working two jobs. By the end of my program my anxiety was turning towards anger. I would have periods where I would be destructive with my life because I felt indifferent and just didn’t care.
I needed help.
In dance school yoga class, with Lisa Hebert, was an outlet. It was the one time where I could actually leave the external world and all its stimuli and turn inwards and concentrate on myself.
During my dance training program I had a couple of serious injuries that lead me to seek help and answers from other professionals: physiotherapists, sports medicine doctors, and message therapists. After X-rays, MRI’s, acupuncture, countless physio and massage therapy appointments I still had no answers and no solutions. I only received vague estimates of what could be going wrong and treatments and rehabilitative exercises were only temporary solutions.
The pain always came back. I felt helpless and hopeless. I was only 27 and felt as though my body was 60. So I became interested in doing my own research, trying to solve the problems. Tune Up balls were introduced to me through Yoga class at The School of Dance and these balls completely changed my life. I am a dynamic mover. I tax my muscles more than most people because I tend to work too hard. I am always tense. Subtlety is not one of my strong suits.
When I actually realized this, the calmness and less-is-more approach presented through teachers in yoga and dance helped me reevaluate the way I move on the dance floor, in yoga classes, on ice, and in everyday life. I needed to SLOW DOWN and be kinder to myself, mentally and physically. Up until this point, I was focused, like the majority of the population, on physical health, completely ignoring my mental and emotional health. With the increase in anxiety symptoms, anger and aggression, to the point of experiencing panic attacks, I finally decided that I had to answer my own questions about what I was experiencing.
This is when I was presented with the opportunity to take the Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training with Todd and Lisa. I originally thought that it would be your traditional Yoga Training course in that it would focus on asana and sequencing. Todd and Lisa did cover this aspect but included so many other aspects of yoga and therapeutic movement which opened up a door to a vast array of information on alternative therapies focusing on whole-body well-being. Being the nerd that I am I enjoyed the fact that this course was designed like a university course. There were amazing books to read (I read most of them), the book reports allowed me to explore areas of interest whether it be about my own personal growth or clientele that I wish to work with in the future. The practicum’s helped us develop our individual presence and professionalism as a teacher/trainer, to explore difference target groups we may work with in the future, and allowed us to bring our own personal flare to our classes and workshops and incorporate our own past movement experience.
My mother is a nurse and I have always admired her for that. I have always had an urge to help and heal others, whether I am just a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to bounce ideas off of about injuries and well-being. This course provided me with the confidence that I know my body and what I am experiencing; that looking internally through self-awareness instead of looking for answers externally is much more satisfying and empowering, whether the obstacles or issues you are experiencing are mental, emotional, or physical. Now I believe that I have enough knowledge to conduct one on one therapy classes and workshops successfully and confidently and have a significantly sufficient knowledge base of most areas associated with yoga and its therapeutic benefits as well as its disadvantages. This allows me to approach movement with a therapeutic mind, analyzing whether things are safe in the long run, or the short run for that matter, so that we may maintain our general mobility for longer, thus maintaining a better quality of life as we grow older.