My journey with Yoga has been a long and tumultuous one. It began when I was 13 years old and diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had been an active child, always playing on my school sports teams, and a serious competitive swimmer. One day in swim practice, I stopped being able to move properly in the water. I didn’t feel tired. I felt like a truck had run me over and I couldn’t move my limbs. If I wasn’t such a proficient floater I would have feared drowning. Nobody seemed to know what was wrong with me as I went from doctor to doctor. My grades began dropping and my physical health continued to decline.
Six months later, I was finally diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I didn’t know what that meant, and neither did my parents. They began researching and doing what they could to help me, but nobody seemed to know how to make it better. By the time I was 16 I had trialled more sleeping medications than I can count. While I didn’t like the medication, it allowed me to fumble my way through the rest of high school, and get a university degree. .
Just before my 20th birthday, I had a major crash. I couldn’t make it to classes, or write essays (I could barely write a cohesive sentence). Frustrated with doctors who didn’t seem to have any solutions, I cut the sleeping pills. I made a decision to improve my health; on my own terms.
I began attending a health clinic, where I learnt about mindfulness, nutrition and yoga. By the time I finished the program I was able to take up a full time job while still studying part time. Something that had seemed hopeless just one year earlier. My education did not end there though, I became obsessive about my own health. I made very careful decisions about the foods I ate, became a dedicated yoga student, and made time for self care each day. I accepted regressions as part of life, and took them for what they were, my body telling me that I wasn’t treating it right.
5 years later, I no longer feel limited by my fatigue. in 2012 I took a one year leave to travel around Asia, the Pacific, India, and Europe. I went from a girl who couldn’t sleep through the night in the comfort of my own home, to someone who slept on couches, in dorm beds, and in tents. Throughout my journey I always had a secret in my back pocket: Yoga. When I was feeling tired, stressed, homesick, or afraid I would find a little spot- in a hostel, on the beach, in a field- to do yoga. When I settled in London and began to work full time, I again had to rely on Yoga to bring me mindfully through stressful times.