While right now, I am living my best life. It wasn’t always this way…
Back in 2006 I was so stressed out my hair was coming out in clumps, I was working night shifts on rotation never seeing my partner and making silly mistakes at work, which as veterinary nurse could have resulted in some terrible accidents.
Like you, I wanted the ‘Disney princess life where I was supported by Prince charming’, but conflicted as deep down, I wanted to have a career and provide for myself and my family… To the outside world I had all these things. On the inside though… something wasn’t quite right…
At that time, even though I’d spent years and thousands of pounds working up the ladder in my field to become the Head Nurse, it was a double-edged sword. Every day I’d return home stressed out, resenting the job and then feeling guilty because of everything I’d put myself through and my partner through to get there…
I remember this one Vet, who always the last say in everything, even if what he was saying would cause friction, put extra pressure on the team and even go against things which worked he seemed to truly enjoy the power he held. I got to the point where I genuinely just couldn’t take it. For months I’d come home in tears because of frustration, feeling helpless and realising I had the rest of my life with this to look forward too. I decided to make it stop.
Then one day, I came home and told my partner that we needed a long holiday. After a little persuasion, we booked a 7-month backpacking trip and left our lives behind to find some semblance of happiness.
Those months were truly amazing. The first three months we visited; South Africa and China which gave me the opportunity to go on safari, camp out under the stars and I remember in just the first couple of days looking up at the sky in the middle of the night during a storm and a sense of peace washing over me.
As though all the stress had completely lifted from my shoulders. The best thing, my partner felt it too. For the first time in nearly a year I felt close to him, even though I hadn’t realised I was falling apart.
Then we ended up in Thailand. To this day, it is by far the most chilled out place that I have ever visited. Everyone is friendly, they’re all happy and the thing that struck me was they have in Western terms quite a poor lifestyle. Here I was with the job, the money, a fabulous home and I was resenting my life. They didn’t have any of these things and they were truly happy.
Midway through our stint in Thailand I was relaxing on Ko Phangan beach in a hammock. The sun was shining, I was reading Fast Food nation, which let me tell you, has stopped me going anywhere near any fast-food restaurants even all these years later… Then as I took a little break from the horrors of the book something caught my eye to left of me. There was this group of 5 Thai people, doing really weird things on the sand all in unison. I woke up my partner and said, look at them, and intrigued, we both just lay there watching what they were doing.
Completely mesmerised. The thing that struck me the most was just how happy, relaxed and calm they all were after this hour. I’d seen things about yoga before, my nan used to do it and loved it but I’d always dismissed it instead opting for running, swimming and cycling to get exercise. This hour of watching those five people on the beach made me realise that yoga isn’t about exercise, it’s about finding inner peace through movement.
As soon as I got back to the UK I made a plan.
That moment on the beach and the realisation seemed to stay in my mind, like a bad smell, it just wouldn’t go away. Then roughly two weeks later, when I landed in Malaysia I had enough of being hounded by the beach image and purposely hunted down a bookshop and purchased ‘An Idiot’s Guide To Yoga’.
After reading the book, even with no equipment, I was determined to get the same feeling as those 5 on the beach. I remember doing all kinds of crazy moves, which had me falling over more times than not, my partner thinking I’d lost the plot and having bruises over my arms and legs from smacking into the bunk beds in the hostel.
After just a few weeks I was starting to feel lighter, more uplifted and a lot less stressed. I knew that it was because of the yoga and to make myself keep it up, when we ended up in New Zealand, I bought my first yoga mat, which over 13 years later I still have.
Through the trip I continued to invest my time in yoga and made a plan for getting back to the UK and keeping it up.
First I’d go to the local sports shop and get all the gear; yoga pants, tops, water bottles, yoga blocks, resistance bands – I have everything I needed.
Next I’d go round local gyms to see what they had on offer and try a few of the classes.
Finally I’d have a word with work to make sure that I could commit week-in week-out regardless of my shift patterns because I didn’t want to go back to being stressed out and not having the closeness with my partner again.
The problem was that even though I had this rock-solid plan in my mind it didn’t pan out as I wanted.
As with all high-intensity jobs, there were medical emergencies which would completely run through my lunch break and I’d miss that week’s session. Then I’d go through this weird anti-habit forming emotional trip of feeling guilty, feeling there’s no point next week and being frustrated that I couldn’t even commit to this one thing that actually made me feel really good.
If you’ve ever been to a class or gym before, you’ll know that not everyone is actually ‘good people’. Some of the instructors, even though they preach love, self-care and relaxation were seriously stressed out, there just for the money and didn’t seem that interested in helping me even though I was a beginner. After searching and going through 5 different gyms, 10 different classes at studios I finally found one person who cared and was truly invested in my experience and happiness.
Also along my journey I was unlucky and experienced a miscarriage which for many people ends up being the end of their relationship but when all was said and done this made us closer.
Also, unbeknown to me, yoga wasn’t the only thing that was making those 5 Thai people happy. They also have completely different diets, they enjoy what they have, other people are invested in their happiness, they don’t use toxic chemicals in their skincare, home care or anything like that… there was so much that went on behind the scenes and when I discovered all these things as well – that’s when my whole life shifted.
Almost 13 years later not only am I still doing yoga, I’ve left the veterinary practice I was at after 19 years and now teach others to have the same level of self-confidence, self-worth and self-respect through EasYoga.
Because of my journey, I now have a truly solid relationship, which I genuinely believe would have not have been the case had I not started putting my health first. I’ve also since been blessed to welcome two wonderful children into the world and spend every single day feeling genuinely happy about everything I have.