What you may be surprised to learn about me...
...What gives me "authority" to coach you on your lifestyle and wellness goals? Well, this story isn't necessarily an easy one to share but I believe that out of any time in history, NOW is a safe time and space to share my personal, authentic, story.
For many of us, our journey towards a healthier lifestyle is sparked by a major event - let's call it our "Divine Storm." Maybe we injure ourselves, or maybe someone we love is diagnosed with cancer. Maybe we are overworked, stuck in jobs we don't really love, or we are laid-off with loads of debt. Or maybe in a relationship that comes crashing to an end. Whatever it is, you'll know it when you feel it.
When my storm came, it was like everything ran ashore. I had everything I thought I needed. I had been regularly working as a singer, I was in an exciting new relationship, had opportunities to travel the world, and because I was performing a lot- my body was in pretty decent physical shape (though in hindsight, I was about 15 pounds heavier than I am now).
At the same time though, I wasn't really paying attention to the quality or quantity of the food that I ate, or how often I went out for drinks, and I certainly wasn't paying much attention to a spiritual practice or mindfulness. I lived my life without much worry, because everything usually tended to work out just fine for me, or so I thought.
But then it happened. (I'm actually beginning to shake a bit as I write this and it has already been a few years since this particular event that changed my life.)
I was a victim of sexual assault.
Yes, #metoo all the way to the "R" word. Ugh.
I was immediately diagnosed with PTSD. I quit my job and moved home (to crawl in bed with my mom) for the next 6+ months. My relationship ended (on amicable terms but my heart still shattered). I was having horrible nightmares (when I was able to actually sleep), night-sweats, anxiety, crying spells, lashing out or trembling for no reason at all...
I either didn't want to eat anything or I wanted to binge everything in sight. My body was wrecked. I had zero energy or motivation to do anything but lay in bed and watch TV. I couldn't focus on anything other than all that I had lost in the process (walked away from a great job, friends, and relationship because I straight up could. not. handle it.) I was swimming in guilt and kept finding ways to blame myself. (I know it most certainly was NOT!) I isolated myself from majority of my friends because I didn't want anyone to know what had happened to me. I had my mom and her dogs, but I still felt very much alone.
Thankfully, I immediately began seeing a therapist who was absolutely wonderful. We utilized EMDR and worked on reprogramming my response to my memories of the trauma. But I firmly believe that it was something else (in combination with my therapy) that completely saved my life.
I found a yoga studio. It may sound strange to you, if you've not yet experienced the healing capabilities of a yoga practice, but it truly has healed me -- and continues to do so! Keep reading...
So with the encouragement of my mother, I enrolled in a yoga teacher training. My intention was to utilize the training as more of a retreat - to learn more about the practice to see if it could help me cope with my PTSD. Ultimately, our training became more like group therapy. In studying the yogic philosophy, I began to uncover the many layers of "me." Or rather, who I thought I was, based on my experiences, stories, and roles placed on me throughout my life. I began my journey towards letting go.
I say that I WAS a victim because now, I am a SURVIVOR. I fought depression, anxiety, ptsd, my declining physical health and mental wellbeing, and alllll the darkness that came with it.
OK, but HOW?
- By diving into "self-study" - learning to love myself, and pealing away the BS that I wasn't "good enough" or that what happened to me was somehow "my fault."
- By reconnecting with my breath - yoga is A LOT or breathwork!
- By cultivating a healthier relationship with my body through the physical practice of asana (yoga postures).
- By studying ancient cleansing and nutritional techniques, I gained a deeper understanding how to feed my body in a balanced, healthful way. (And thanks to the practice of Ahimsa/nonviolence, I also adopted vegetarianism.)
- By reopening my heart to receive love again- thanks to the loving support, inspiration, and guidance of my teacher, classmates, and students. Community is key!
- By choosing to accept the things that I could not change, harnessing the courage to stand up for myself and change the things that I could, and the seeking the wisdom to discern the difference.
I later enrolled at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a holistic health coach. I realized that in order to go a step further in connecting with myself, I needed to continue studying how to better care for myself. What I love about the concept of Integrative Nutrition is that it addresses any + all disease or literally, "dis-ease" in our lives - physically, emotionally, mentally, + spiritually. Rather, it doesn't solely focus on food and exercise, but the WHOLE picture! Naturally, I went for this all-encompassing, holistic approach.
My health coaching certification coupled with my yoga training has truly opened my eyes on how to fully show up for myself, to be mindful and in control of my own body, and and showed me how to truly NOURISH + FLOURISH.
Every day I think about my "storm" less and less. But every time I step on my mat, or close my eyes for a moment before a meal, I remember to express gratitude for the practice that saved my life. My only wish is to be able to share it with you so that it may also calm your storm, as it has mine.
It took dedication, patience, and courage, but through coaching, accountability, individualized nutrition, mindfulness, and yoga I can now confidently say that I am living a much happier, healthier life, and living in sync with a higher vibration.
I look forward to connecting with you and hope to help you to achieve the same.
"The light within me recognizes, honors, and loves the light within you."