Growing up I had an idyllic childhood. I lived with my parents, sister and a troop of farm animals on a property in the Central Western Queensland. I did school via correspondence and like most children in that situation thrived learning in a classroom that was much more than four walls with a teacher at the front. I didn’t have the usual interaction with other children only getting together with kids from neighbouring properties on special occasions.
My first introduction to yoga was at home when I was between 8-10 years old. I remember getting exposed to the practice initially purely because my mother was doing it and I wanted to be just like my mother. It wasn’t a serious practice back then but little did I know how important yoga would become to me in the future as a healing process.
During high school I was bullied a lot, I was proud to be a very studious person loving to learn and read, with many a great unusual solo adventures. I also played chess and softball which made me a good target for bullies. The bullying hurt me deeply but thankfully it did not destroy me as it has done to others, I have no hard feelings against my bullies because now I know that they probably just didn’t understand me. I have never been able to fully understand the many unwritten social rules that come naturally to others. I have often felt as though there was a major part of me missing, this feeling often left me questioning my existence. I struggle to read body language, and I often take figurative speech literally and can never understand why someone might not want to hear about the how the entire solar system works.
Later in my high school years I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), this diagnosis helped me so much to understand why I was struggling yoga was recommended by the paediatrician and this led me back to my yoga mat. Those with an ASD are affected by not only social awkwardness, but can suffer meltdowns as a result of sudden surprises, changes to their routine, loud noise and crowds etc, whereas sameness and the need for a quiet space rejuvenates our spirit.
My diagnosis led me to the realisation that there was a wall built within myself that I must tear down. Yoga gave me the initiative to break down the walls enough that allowed me some real personal growth and strength of mind. Yoga, gives me a quite space, where I can be me, it is a place where I can discover myself further. Yoga and meditation grounds me, and helps me to explore my deepest, dreams and worst fears. Before doing yoga, I would become so intensely overwhelmed by continued social stimuli that I would retreat deeply within myself and cut off communication with nearly everyone, even my family, except Mum, who seemed to understand me, even though she couldn’t fight my battles for me.
Yoga and meditation has helped me to become more social on a long-term basis, though still not 100% confident. Yoga gives me a positive, repetitive focus that is a comforting zone, while the teaching draws me out of that comfort zone.
You might be wondering why I chose to teach yoga, being someone who isn’t comfortable in social situations? It is because I care a great deal about the feelings and wellbeing of other people, and I know how much yoga can change a life. So in 2018 I completed my yoga instructor training to broaden my knowledge of yoga and give me the skills that I needed to be able to share it and help others to discover their quiet space, where they could tear down any walls that restricted their personal growth and happiness. The yoga classes that I coordinate are more than just classes for the people that attend; they are a personal growth opportunity for me too, which I am very grateful for. The more I teach, the more practice I get at communicating and caring for people.
Yoga and meditation have been my saving grace, it is on the yoga mat that I found myself, strengthened my mind and body and healed my heart. Delivering yoga classes is a way to keep improving my life while also being helpful to others who come to the classes for all different sorts of reasons.