Happy Pride month!
Let me take a moment to reintroduce myself. I’m Sarah, the founder and yoga teacher here at Anahata Yoga from the Heart. Some of you may know my story that I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life, and that struggle is WHY I opened Anahata Yoga 2.5 years ago. The idea sparked during my time at the Mental Health Day program at RVH here in Barrie. I checked myself into the hospital after my 3rd battle of depression seeking help to understand why I felt this way. During this program I started practicing yoga regularly to help ease my stress and anxiety. When I’m passionate about something I start to tell ALL my friends and family (and pressure them to join in too haha). I told my peers in the mental health program how much yoga was helping me in addition to our group, and the majority response was “I can’t afford yoga” or “I’m off work right now due to my mental health”. Mind Blowing! How can anyone get better if therapies and self care practises are so expensive? I didn’t see it as expensive or unattainable at that time in my early 20’s when I had the luxury of living at home rent free, and my only expense aka entertainment fund was going to yoga. That sparked the idea of affordable yoga for ALL and is why we have our Pay it Forward Program at Anahata!
For the longest time I blamed or labelled my anxiety and depression on my work and being an overachiever, “Coming Out” was a HUGE factor on my mental health. And even though my family and friends were accepting of my sexuality there was still that unlinking fear of judgement. I lost friends when I “came out”, and for a period of time I was in denial of my sexuality and was too busy “people pleasing” that I never spoke up about the societal pressures that were impacting my anxiety. I’m a believer you can love whoever you want, and I’m so grateful to know that our yoga community is accepting and understanding.
Fast forward 10 years later after “coming out” as bisexual (if you need to label it) to my family and friends, I am happier than EVER. I love the person I am, and I feel EMPOWERED (finally) as a community leader and entrepreneur to share my story. But it didn’t happen overnight. Years of self-help books, yoga, mediation, chanting, trips of finding myself have all shaped the person I am NOW.
I want to thank my yoga community for loving me just the way I am. I only “publicly” came out a year ago. I’ve never felt more comfortable in my skin.
June is pride month and as your friend I want to remind you to keep being kind, practice non judgement (yoga!) and open that big heart of yours. Be authentically YOU.
Founder & Yoga teacher Anahata Yoga from the Heart
Please note Anahata Yoga is not a therapist or mental health expert we are advocates of mental health through the practice of yoga.
Yup we said it, the dreaded word, the lets not talk about it…Panic Attacks.
It has been a year and the word of the year well beside Covid-19 has been “uncertainty”.
So many changes, so many ups and downs. And for some it may be the first time they have questioned their mental health or even felt that other dreaded word “anxiety”.
I’ve been struggling with my own mental health specifically anxiety and depression for over 10 years. And yes I do believe my yoga helps me manage it these days but you just never know when a panic attack is going to sneak right up on you. For me its that feeling in the chest where you can’t breathe, and its not the good kind “I’m so in love I can’t breath” its the “I want to run away so quickly but I can’t, cause I feel like there’s a 1000 bricks on my chest” kind of not breathing. OH YES. I’ve been there, it is not fun, and even worst the added nausea in my stomach when I can’t tell if I want to throw up or need to eat kind of anxiety. Have you felt like this before?
I remember my first panic attack about 10 years ago, I lost control of my breath and I was so stressed about a recording session I had booked (at the time pursuing a music career). I’ve never felt nervous before, but I had scheduled myself to work with a new producer who I only met once. Something in my gut told me I shouldn’t go. My brother found me pacing around in our basement back and forth, I built a up such a sweat and was almost in tears. Intuitively he just grabbed me and gave me a hug, I started to cry. I really couldn’t explain what had just happened. I thought there must be something wrong with me.
Sometimes there isn’t an explanation for it. And that’s the frustrating part family and friends can ask “but why” “what brought it on” and sometimes the honest answer is “I DON’T KNOW”
Why do we always have to have the answer? Well I’ve been teaching myself these days its ok not to know WHY, It’s ok to say “I don’t know” and its ok to not always have to explain ourselves. As our yoga practice teaches us, meet yourself where you’re at.
Anxiety looks different for everyone. For my partner its in her chest, for me its in my stomach depending on the day. Please listen to your body slow down, take a breath and remind yourself it’s ok, step away to a time that made you feel GOOD.
I’m thankful for this body
I give myself permission to not be 100 % all the time
I give myself permission to rest
Be Gentle with yourself.
We get it, the practice of yoga can be intimidating when social media may portray it as this “leg over your head” “holding crow pose, and head stand” kind of lifestyle. But the true essence of Yoga is that it can be practiced by EVERYONE.
We are trying to break the fear of the yoga world and change the “I’m not flexible enough” to “I’ll meet myself where I’m at”, after all thats why its called a yoga practice not perfect.
If you’re new to the practice of yoga and still hesitant to join a group then maybe try one of our recordings or reserve a one on one class to ask your questions and work past the fear.
We take pride in offering an inclusive space for EVERYONE and try our best to offer modifications and variations in each class so everyone is truly welcome.
We hope to see you at the mat.