As a school teacher and mother, I highly recommend this book for young people ages 10-17. I'm an adult though, and I still thoroughly enjoyed this read with constant nuggets of wisdom from Miriam Gates. The drawings throughout the book clearly illustrate the concepts being taught in simple terms for young people. Another thing I really enjoyed was that the book was not solely focused on yoga postures. There are many meditations and breathing exercises as well. I have implemented several of the practices in my classroom for breakout sessions and seen much success! Not only that my students appreciate the break to reset and renew!
Life was going particularly well. I was out of an emotionally and in other ways abusive relationship, I had a beautiful daughter, and a wonderfully supportive partner who actually loved me. I had just started going to therapy for my previous relationship & the PTSD/anxiety/depression that was a result... and then my grandpa died.
The loss of my grandpa was particularly difficult. He was the male figure in my life where I had always received unconditional love.
Once this happened everything in my spiraled out of control.
The flashbacks of the childhood sexual abuse from a trusted family friend came back. I was 5 years old when it happened.
I started having panic attacks 2 to 4 times a day, even at work, life was a constant battle.
As talk therapy continued my symptoms got worse. I told my therapist I wanted to try EMDR therapy because I had researched what it could do for people with PTSD. Looking back I realize this therapist wasn’t actually trained in EMDR. My symptoms got worse still to the point that I was hanging on to the last little thread of my sanity and quit therapy altogether.
At this same time I was seeking out holistic remedies and healers. Some were amazing, others were just money hungry without actual results.
Shortly after dumping my first therapist, I met a Shaman and worked with her and 3 other female Shamans in Peru. There was a lot of healing that occured for me in South America.
I returned home and although I felt a ton better, I was still experiencing panic attacks about 1-2 times a week. I decided I needed to try EMDR again with a different therapist who knew what they were doing.
I found one and we were able to process the triggering memories within 3 months. He said it was partly due to my meditation practice and the fact that I was comfortable visualizing things.
I had done all this work and yet I was still having really difficult weeks. I was like, “I’ve done the work. Why is this still happening?”
The answer was my mindset. I was still living from a survival mindset. I was still watching my back, waiting to be taken advantage of. Then I had a wake up call. I was in a Kundalini Yoga class and you know when someone says something at the exact moment when you need to hear it? That is what happened. The teacher said, “Whatever you’re facing in life--You Are Strong Enough! Just do it. Stop playing small. Whatever you greatest desire is, work for it, it’s in your reach.” I went home and started my daily mantra and affirmation practice. I kept studying A Course in Miracles. I began reading everything I could from Louise Hay, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and Marianne Williamson.
My life began to shift. I could go to social functions again. I started teaching yoga regularly at the type of studios I only dreamt of teaching at. I began to get busy on the weekends holding regular Sound Baths with the Cosmic Currents. My work and home life became natura; and not such a struggle. Most of all I was genuinely happy and felt like myself again.
This doesn’t mean I live in this blissful state all the time. I am always working on speaking up for myself and setting healthy boundaries. And let's be real, life still happens, but I am able to realize all of it is temporary and the constant is change and Love.
I have suffered from PTSD, depression, and anxiety for several years, but I have healed myself and no longer suffer on a daily basis like I used to. This is my own experience. I am not a therapist. I don’t know if this will work for everyone and every type of trauma, but I thought I would share just in case it could help one other person on their healing journey.
Remember, it may get worse before it gets better, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can feel like YOU again! But, only YOU can do your healing and work--not your parents, not your children, not your partner--take responsibility, heal yourself, and SHINE!!!
How I healed myself and reprogrammed my brain:
How does chanting mantras help your brain?
-This practice reduces the limbic activity (fight or flight) and stress response of the brain while increasing the higher executive functioning parts of the brain responsible for traits such as empathy and patience, through the rhythmic repetition of words and phrases along with the vibration of sound.
-Mantras enhance positive alpha, gamma, delta, and the brainwaves—the brainwaves that kick in during relaxation.
-The sound of the mantra literally drowns out the negative voices in our heads. When the negative thoughts are suppressed, the mind has room for positive thoughts.
Method 2: I have positive affirmations around my mirror at home and even on my desk at school. I recite them to myself everyday. I believe these words. We often disregard our ability to train our mind for positive thinking. Through trauma and life experiences we may unconsciously fall and wire ourselves into a negative mindset, but we can change this. It takes practice, but it works if you want it to! I’ll post some of my affirmations in my story.
Lastly, I have the most incredible support. My husband, Chandler, and I have grown so much in this journey together. He has held me in those moments of utter darkness and believed in me when there was no hope left in my world. He has also had the guts to tell me when I am living in the past and trying to bring the past into the present moment instead of letting it stay back where it belongs. He has taught me what it is to be in a healthy, safe, and loving relationship--for that I am eternally grateful.
Let’s talk about 3 of my long time buddies—PTSD, Depression, & Anxiety .
For years these were my constant companions. I would wake up, go to work, come home (sleep/cry), drag myself to yoga, sleep. At the height of this I was having 2-4 panic attacks a day. Not to mention the night terrors, flashbacks, & inability to sleep most nights. It was emotionally and physically exhausting.
Through my experience I have found there are, on a broad & generalized sense, 4 types of people in regards to these issues:
1. people who have suffer from a myriad of these issues themselves. we can generally spot each other in a crowded room with little interaction. all of the sudden my have a new bosom friend who “gets it”. 2. people who love & support someone suffering from these issues & understand the daily battle of simply living.
3. people who intellectually can conceptualize these issues, but lack actual empathy. they may say things like, “you’re just anxious” or “i get sad sometimes too” (FYI these statements do not help)
4. people who don’t believe in mental health issues.
Now before I get a bunch of comments by well-intentioned individuals saying meditation will make you less anxious and yoga nidra can fix PTSD. I have to respectfully disagree. Typically, most Yoga for Trauma classes are NOT taught by mental health professionals. <Frighteningly, some Yoga for Trauma classes aren’t even taught by individuals with this certification and/or training, aka: do your research, pick well trained teachers.> Also, there are certain traumas & abuse that no yoga, meditation, relaxation class will ever heal.
With all that being said,
I HAVE HEALED MYSELF.
The short answer: I reprogrammed my brain.
The long answer: Coming in a post tomorrow.
In Yoga philosophy, there are the 5 Yamas or the 5 moral disciplines to live by. The last of these 5 yamas is Aparigraha or Non possessiveness / Non Attachment. .
This precept can be subtle and difficult to live by. I’m going to explain what it means to me personally as far as the teacher/student relationship in Yoga goes. .
When I first started practicing yoga I also first started unconsciously attaching myself to different yoga teachers—some had great playlists, others were so charismatic, some explained postures in a simple, digestible way—this is a very natural thing as a human to form attachments. It struck me when a mentor said, “I can go to any yoga class and have a good class because it’s me and my breath.” Whoa! This was eye opening for me. My yoga practice had everything to do with ME, not the teacher, I had to become responsible for my practice. .
Then I began teaching yoga. I grew accustomed to seeing the same faces every week. It was fun to guide and watch students grow in their yoga practice. Before I knew it I had unconsciously grown attachment to my students. I know I’m not the only yoga teacher who has unconsciously (or consciously) done this. I have heard teachers (and in my early teaching days probably done this myself) boast about class numbers or advanced students.
This is quite problematic because a good yoga teacher wants you to come to class and grow, but a GREAT yoga teacher wants you to grow to the point that You-Don’t-Need-Them-Anymore. You become just as Empowered in your Practice and start listening to your Intuition in regards to your yoga practice and hopefully life. .
I did some personal work to cut this need for self validation from others. Now I just teach. To teach. Because I love teaching. Because I love Yoga. Because I can’t imagine not sharing something that Empowered me to be my best self with others.
Teaching 1 student or 50–it’s all the same.
Teaching Beginners Class or Advanced—it’s all the same.
Yoga is Yoga.
Know what I love about teaching 8th grade? #schoolteacher
I learn so much from my 8th grade students. So much.
This year I have a student who is so passionate about the environment and our Earth that she created a school wide recycling program with her friend and together they have educated the entire school about the damage styrofoam and plastic cause. I always thought I was an okay recycling person, but the passion these young people have has inspired me to step it up a notch.
I’m not worried about the future generation because I know these young people are passionate, conscious, and intelligent. Talk to the teenagers and kids in your life. They are really neat.
Universal love means to see the same Self in everything. Unlimited, unconditional love is universal. If you have universal love, there is not even a single thing you dislike. You love everything, even the mosquitoes that bite you. You don’t dislike them; you simply say, “Well, mosquito, that is the purpose for which you were created. You are doing your job in biting me. I am doing my job and saying, ‘Please get out.’” You don’t stop loving the mosquito. But loving the mosquito doesn’t mean allowing it to bite you. Often people think, “Because I love that mosquito, I cannot chase it away.” That’s not so.
You can love the poison, but you don’t have to swallow it. -Swami Satchidananda