I started this blog because I wanted to use blogging as a coping mechanism against depression. I had just moved back to my home country and I missed expressing myself in English. I was also starting to get serious about my yoga practice and I wanted to inspire people to adopt yoga as part of their self-caring, self-loving routine. In today’s post, I want to get a little more personal and tell you about my yoga journey and philosophy.
My yoga journey.
Mindfulness and meditation have sneaked into the vocabulary of everyone in the last few years. People are actively trying to better themselves and lead a happy, purposeful, more fulfilled lives. And everyone knows the amazing things yoga does to your physical and mental well-being.
I’ve had trouble sleeping ‘normally’ since I was maybe 14 years old. I’ve also been struggling with depression since my high school years and in recent years dealt with anxiety and panic attacks.
But to be honest, I didn’t start yoga in an effort to cope with any of my problems. That didn’t even really cross my mind! I was doing okay-ish at that time of my life, and really just wanted to start working out again and see some changes in my body.
I started practicing yoga alone in my tiny apartment in the fall of 2014. I was 22 years old, desperately wanting to get active again and maybe lose some weight. I was out of shape, out of a job, and feeling out of place in the country that had never felt like mine.
I thought yoga would be a great way to stretch my muscles after working out, and a gentle workout on days when my body wasn’t up to an intense cardio or strength training session.
In the beginning, I practiced about half an hour every night. I quickly grew to love the practice and how it kept me active, calmer, constantly challenged. I started to sleep a little better. I had a coping mechanism for any negative feelings, and it was fascinating to see what my body was capable of. How strong I was. How fucking amazing my body actually was.
The Dark Year.
I like to call my bad, ‘oh-boy-I’m-feeling-it-again’ days Sad Days. I also have a Dark Year.
2016 was the worst fucking year of my life.
I was finally back to living abroad, which I loved.
(I miss being not here every single day. I miss being able to express myself in English to people I interact with. The kindness of people. The big cities. The bustle and the life and the variety of options in everyday life. Reese’s cups, anyone?
I miss Japanese restaurants and taking the train every day and silly things, like Starbucks, and walking around the city at night by myself. The ocean, most of all. All my life I just wanted to live near the ocean.
If you’re from a small city in a country that has never felt like home to you, you might know what I’m talking about.)
I was studying something I was genuinely interested in, which in itself was huge. After high school, I had tried a little bit of this and a little bit of that. But it took me ages to figure out what I was actually interested in.
It turned out that the whole studying thing wasn’t for me this time around either. I spent months and months in numb hopelessness and despair. I wasn’t sleeping. I was worried about things back at home. My body started throwing panic attacks my way, cause clearly, I didn’t have enough excitement in my life already. I wasn’t motivated or focused or really cared about anything at all.
That was the most depressed I have ever been in my life.
Then my roommate informed me that she was going to kick me out for being ‘too quiet’. I had no friends or money or future. I decided to drop out of school for the third time cause I didn’t have the energy to fight on all fronts. Everything around me was crumbling down. There was no way out. No light at the end of the tunnel.
Struggling with debilitating defeat and feeling like a complete failure, I arrived back to my home country. I decided to get serious about my yoga practice that I’d been neglecting for months. I just wanted to have something to hold onto, you know?
Yoga is not the cure for anything, but it can be an invaluable tool in your arsenal against any mental or chronic illness.
The panic attacks have disappeared, which is something. I’ve slowly clawed my way back to the land of the living. I’m sleeping a little better. I’ve started to take care of myself again.
A year ago I uprooted my life, as I’ve done before. I changed countries, burned bridges, cut ties, began again. I have 30k in student loans with no degree to show for it. That’s a terrifying concept to my millennial existence because society has been telling me how higher education is the only way to success and a normal, stable adult life as long as I can remember.
I’m back living in a country which I’ve tried to escape twice now. I’ll keep trying.
In the past year, I’ve turned my on-off yoga practice into a consistent, challenging, and rewarding part of my (almost) daily routine.
Yoga has helped me become stronger — physically and mentally — it has helped me love my body, and it’s given me a long-awaited semblance of a purpose. It keeps me grounded, and calm, and present.
Yoga has also shown me how incredibly strong my body is and what it can accomplish. Seeing the progress keeps me encouraged to stay active and move my body. To get my yoga on.
And that’s why I’m here sharing my weekly tips to inspire you to get your yoga on.
Why you need yoga in your life
- You want to take control of your health and happiness.
- You’re on a mission to have a body that’s strong, pain-free, and makes you feel good.
- You crave to have even some clarity, calm, and peace within the chaos of your mind
- You’re looking for something that motivates you to move, sweat, and chase healthy lifestyle choices.
- You’re tired of feeling so damn low on spoons all the time. You need a new way to cope with depression, anxiety, insomnia… Any mental or chronic illness.
- You need a break. Time to take care of yourself. Romance yourself. Even if it’s just for one hour.
You want something that makes you feel good inside and look like a glowing, confident-oozing, dream-chasing goddess on the outside.
What yoga means to me.
I have a very straightforward, no-nonsense approach to yoga. The pointless bickering about the ‘true’ meaning of yoga and the battle between ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ type of yoga is something that I don’t really give a fuck about.
Yes, yoga is an ancient practice combining the physical with mental and spiritual aspects. But right now, in my selfish millennial state of mind, I’m mostly interested in the physical asana practice. And that’s okay.
I like yoga because it makes me feel good. It makes me feel better about my body. It makes me sweat and work and swear and cry. It’s a workout for me. Yep, I went there. Yoga can be a workout. I have no time for any bullshit yoga snobbery, thank you very much.
The moving meditation of sweaty, intense Vinyasa yoga is something that my body craves. I love flowing to my favorite music and enjoying the absolute silence of my mind. My brain’s always busy over thinking and pondering about things that happened 7 years ago. I need the quiet that yoga gives me.
Focusing only on the physical practice doesn’t make you any less of a yogi. It’s a journey, after all, right? It doesn’t seem very yogi-like to pass judgment and condescension on people who are in the beginning steps on their path. Yet you see that all around the yoga world. I don’t want any part of it.
To me, yoga is whatever you make of it. It’s your personal practice. You decide what you want to pursue. You decide which path to take.
My job is to give you the support, inspiration, and resources to start yoga at home and build a fulfilling and life-changing home yoga practice.
If you vibe with my vibe, click the button below to join my email list! That’s where we have weekly chats about yoga and I share my favorite tips, tricks, and yoga tidbits with you. I’d love to have you.