Yoga Testimonial – Rachael. Our Peru Yoga Teacher Training Alumni
My journey began three years ago, I was extremely ill working multiple jobs, double majoring in science and caring for family. To say the least, I was worn down and stressed out. I had undergone all the ‘proven’ and experimental surgeries available to widely misunderstood condition. People always say “you’re one in a million” but in this instant you don’t want to be, and those words burn. None of the treatments lasted a year and even then, I was still in pain and still exhausted. My frustrations grew as I felt I was losing my autonomy, I felt like a caged bird, stuck within the painful confines of my own body. Not realizing how grateful you should be every day you wake up in good health until that basic human right, that unspoken promise is ripped out from under you. This made me bitter. I lost my ability to pursue the things I enjoyed, always in search of a backup plan. But I didn’t want to lose my ability to be active and desperately feared it. I feared the word ‘disabled’; I didn’t want to be seen that way, I thought it made me weak, I thought it striped me of everything I was and marked me in red. Because until you become sick you do not realize how much we fear our mortality unconsciously. We unconsciously avoid those that are unwell because it reminds us that nothing is granted, it reminds us of our own mortality and its something many of us are unwilling to address.But I adapted to my disabilities. I learned to look at things with a new light. To take the days as they came because I was letting my anger scorch what should have been the good days. I decided I was not willing to live the rest of my life in a storm cloud though those days still roll in but as a storm they also pass. I searched new and gentle ways to stay active, which lead me to yoga. I began taking classes at my college becoming enthralled with Ashley’s enthusiasm which kept me coming back. We became close and she continued to encourage me with each practice, even though the practice was very difficult for me and I beat myself up for it. I was so frustrated, because kickboxing was so easy. How could I do things of brute strength but not even do simple poses in yoga? It looked so easy. But again, I had to alter my mindset, switch my focus from what I couldn’t do to what I could do. To stop focusing on my environment and letting it alter how I felt about my body. So, I kept going, kept trying, kept resetting my mind every time it ran wild, I am enough, I will get there, stop pushing.
As time passed the practice grew, mentally and physically. I began to fall in love with the practice I scoffed at. I let stereotypes and preconceived notions block my path. But looking back on it, that was part of the bigger plan, without that realization or that time, I would not have found such a deep gratitude or passion for yoga. Allowing those realizations to culminate put me on my path. Which led me to SYI, to Peru, to the deepest and most sacred of healing in the heart of the Andes!
After three years of practice I became fluent and latched onto it as the only thing helping my chronic pain for now five diagnosed autoimmune conditions (Endometriosis, Interstitial cystitis, IBS, Migraines, Hashimoto’s and Fibromyalgia). But why stop at my own health? Why did no one tell me about yoga until I was ill for 7 years, until they exhausted every surgery and medication they could? These questions haunted me…so, I decided to get my yoga teacher training, to form a niche for chronic pain management as well as women’s pelvic health yoga. I want to make availability for a widely undiscussed treatment path.
But… I didn’t think I was ‘good enough’. But was reminded, ‘there is no such thing as being good at yoga’…that echoed within me. So, I leaped at SYI after hearing such transformative stories from two dear friends. I didn’t think I would go so soon for money is tight when you’re stuck under the thumb of the American healthcare business. However, SYI welcomed me with open arms ushering me closer to my dreams. I was so grateful because Peru called to my heart. The other locations looked beautiful don’t get me wrong, but something about Peru sang my heart song. I felt such a strong pull to come to that land without even knowing what healing it had in store for me.
This course gave me a yoga teacher certification, yes, but that’s not even the tip of the iceberg… It gave me my independence back; I was so scared to leave the country with my illness and it showed me those chains were imagined. I needed to find mental clarity, balance and healing. To take back the reigns from the ego. It allowed me to shed layers of myself fully that society cloaked me in that I was desperately struggling to slide out of. I was able to be my full self and be loved for my imperfections. It was inspiring and empowering to have a community full of so much love. I feel lighter after leaving, so pure and happy, empowered to care for myself and take things as they are, ‘and so it is’… This training taught me to love without boundaries, something I have struggled with my entire life. This was more than a training; it was a rebirth. After being given my own inner healing and independence, SYI has given me the confidence and presence to move forward helping others heal. I hope to empower those such as myself, to put healing back in their own hands. To make health a community again not a business.