My journey with yoga properly began in January 2017. Prior to this I only had a rare glimpse of its healing abilities in Savasana a few times but not enough to hook me in and saw it mostly as a nice compliment to going to the gym when I could fit it in.
However, a decision to go travelling in December 2016 completely changed my life and perspective of yoga.
My trip began in Africa which saw me start my journey home to myself by connecting with my Ghanaian family whom I had never met before, but that story is for another time.
After spending time in a few different countries in Africa my partner and I headed to Nepal which is where my yoga journey began.
Nepal felt like peace on earth, and this is where I had my first experience of a yoga retreat which was completely transformational. During the retreat I had an immersion into different yogic practices which included a yogic colon cleanse to detox and purify my mind and body. This was the beginning of my awareness into healing from the inside and when I left Nepal I felt amazing and was curious to find out more about yoga and its ancient systems of healing.
From there my travels took me to India and I began to discover more and more about the healing and deeply transformational experiences of yoga and other holistic modalities.
Like many people who “find themselves” through yoga, I do not recall a pinnacle moment that led to the changes in myself. But I do remember the uplifting feeling and sense of peace yoga gave me as I finally learned to become present in my body, something I had subconsciously avoided for many years.
If you are not familiar with yoga, then of course it is going to be very difficult for you to imagine it as a therapeutic healing practice which is stereotypically seen as this ‘woo woo’ thing where middle class women or youngsters on Instagram wearing Lycra contort themselves into bendy shapes.
However, yoga is underpinned by science and philosophy behind it and in Ancient Africa & Indian Sanskrit, yoga means “union” –union of our body, mind and soul through the breath to reach a state of bliss.
So you see Yoga is not simply another form of exercise, but a practice of self-enquiry and self-healing that encourages you to take the tools you learn off the mat into daily life to cultivate more balance, peace, and a deeper sense of self through conscious awareness that leads to happier and healthier lifestyle choices that benefit not only you but those around you.
Additionally, the philosophy of yoga teaches us the value of love, kindness, respect, compassion, non-attachment and remaining non-judgmental seeing everything and everyone as an extension of ourselves. Can you imagine a world with more people upholding these qualities!! Or even better these kind of people running our countries!
These are just some of the many reasons why yoga is often coined as ‘life changing’ and becomes ‘a way of life’ for those who practice it which has include me.
After spending several months in different countries learning about different ancient yogic systems & traditions which also included Thailand and Bali, I decided to complete a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course in India in 2018.
Since then, my vision has always been to share the therapeutic healing tools and practices of yoga to empower people to reconnect and rediscover themselves, improve their health and realise their full potential in life.
More recently my focus has shifted to Yoga for Women’s Health due to my diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) in 2021 which came after many years of irregular periods which ironically began in the first month of my travels in 2017.
Watch my video here to find out more about my experience trying to get to the bottom of my irregular periods and eventual diagnosis.
If there is only one thing you take away from reading this blog then I hope that if you are experiencing any health symptoms that are causing you pain or worry or if something just doesn’t feel right within you that you please seek medical advice and persevere until you get the support you need. And remember sometimes we might not even experience any symptoms when it comes to certain women’s health conditions, this is why it is so important to establish awareness and connection to your body for which yoga will always be my go-to.
My irregular periods where one of the reasons that led me to an awareness of ‘alternative’ or as I like to look at more natural ways of looking after our health and wellness.
During my time in India, I sought support from Ayurvedic doctors to try and get to the bottom of what was happening with my health. Prior to this I had no awareness of our mind and body connection and this approach to our healthcare.
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest healing systems and is considered the sister science to yoga. Together they can be combined for greater overall holistic health. Meaning "life knowledge" in Sanskrit, Ayurveda emphasises health and the prevention and treatment of illness through lifestyle practices including massage, meditation, yoga, diet and the use of herbal remedies. This holistic approach is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on keeping the energies in the body, mind and soul balanced.
According to the system of Ayurveda we are all made up of five basic elements found in the universe (space, air, fire, water, and earth) which combine in the human body to form three types of body constitutions DOSHAS that control how your body works.
(Artist of graphic unknown)
Our dosha type can become imbalanced in certain seasons and environments but by following Ayurvedic principles according to your dosha you can keep your health in optimal condition.
For example, as I write this we have reached the peak of summer which is associated with the element of FIRE and the dosha PITTA. With an increase in fire energy, the heat can either increase your feelings of internal harmony or aggravate it.
This is also the case with certain hormonal & menopausal symptoms that cause hot flushes when we look at it through an Ayurvedic lens.
When we are mindful of this ideally we are more likely to move away from activating and heating activities like hot yoga to more calming and cooling slow flowing yoga practices and likewise with any other types of sports. This is also the same with the foods we consume choosing more cooling foods over spicy options.
To find out your Dosha take the questionnaire here
Ayurveda is just one of the many healing systems I have researched and educated myself in since beginning my yoga and healing journey in 2017. I have, shall we say became a bit of a yoga geek and completed over 500 hours of continued personal and professional development studies which has included Anatomy, Afrikan Yoga, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Yoga Therapy and Mindfulness for Addictions, Yoga and Mindfulness for Autism and ADHD, Yoga for Women's Health, and Trauma-Informed Yoga.
Much of my training was completed during the period of lockdown which forced me into a sacred pause due to my yoga studio having to close which I am actually grateful for.
Through the awareness that yoga brings I have witnessed the unravelling of emotions buried deep within me. This is often the case when you start to practice yoga on a regular basis. You begin to realise that your issues are in your tissues and what I mean by this is that our unresolved trauma/ emotions no matter how big or small tend to manifest in our physical body as pain or illness. However, the subject of trauma is very complex and multifaceted if we take into consideration that it can be passed through our DNA from our parents and through our generations.
Unfortunately, it took to my most recent diagnosis of POI to realise that our bodies loves us and they are always trying to help us heal. I found this out as I began to connect the dots around all the tell tale signs my body had been giving me through various illnesses (including Raynaud’s and Lupus) throughout my life and the emotions I hadn't allowed myself to feel or heal particular in my womb space. Our wombs hold so much trauma which is another fascinating topic that more of us women need to know more about. I plan on writing another blog about this and my own experience with trauma at some point.
This led me to counselling to complement the bodywork I was already doing as well as deeper breathwork, embodied and somatic movement and meditation practices for healing.
A great book that delves deeper into the subject of trauma in our bodies is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk.
Over time with my newfound awareness, I have developed better internal controls and have learned strategies to calm my anxious and overwhelmed mind and to safely release trauma that I have experienced in my life. In doing this healing work I have reconnected to my body, mind and soul. I feel empowered to finally be me and my feelings of self-worth self-esteem, self-love, and self-confidence have all increased. This I truly believe all began through my journey with yoga!
I have finally taken back control of my life and my health, and I am now passionate about providing the support, tools, and techniques to empower women to realise that with informed knowledge they too can take control of their health and wellness to go from surviving to thriving.
Positively, there are numerous studies supporting the theory that yoga can improve our health and wellbeing and support issues such as Women’s reproductive health conditions and menopause, as well as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and mood disorders.
The evidence emerging shows that yoga-based practices are effective as ‘mind-body’ medicine to complement health treatment plans and provide less of a reliance on pharmaceutical medicines that often mask the root cause by only treating the symptoms.
And over the past few years the UK Government have got behind the use of yoga in therapeutic settings and GPs are socially prescribing Yoga in various pilots across the UK as a way to support peoples physical, mental and emotional health rather than prescribing medication.
Additionally, the NHS now offers yoga as part of rehabilitation programs for people leaving hospital and also provide free yoga classes to support staffs’ health and wellbeing.
A big part of my offerings now is showing ways in which we can tailor our yoga practices to support our health rather than just unconsciously doing it for aesthetic reasons. In doing so we are reminded that yoga is a system that takes into consideration not only our physical wellness but also our emotional mental and energetical well-being to. It's less about touching our toes and rather about what we learn about ourselves on the way down.
If you are interested in a tailored yoga practice to support your health needs then you can book in for a free discovery call here to see how I can help you reconnect to yourself and reclaim your health & wellness.