I am guided by the belief that incredible shifts lie on the other side of stillness and surrender.
When we can shift from the overwhelm of everyday into the deeply feminine energy of yin, begin to learn how to allow and receive, drop the armour of resistance, and reclaim the power of passive, then we can become the best versions of ourselves.
But it wasn't always this way.
I spent a lot of my teens and early twenties feeling overwhelmed and defeated by the pressure I put on myself to meet the ambitions that I had, and small and hopeless from never feeling enough to reach them. This manifested into an eating disorder, as well as high levels of anxiety and depression - a period of time which I definitely hold as my darkest days.
It wasn’t until I discovered Meditation and Yoga that I began to realize that there was so much more to life and that it was possible for me to experience it too. I learned how to truly connect with myself; quieting down the constant inner critic and connecting to more calm state of mind. In particular, I found that it was the slower and softer practices of seated Meditation, Yin Yoga and Sound that allowed me to find comfort and harmony within my own body and mind.
But it truly has been a journey…
Having gone through several months of inpatient treatment, followed by years and years of therapy to fight my eating disorder, depression, and the hateful and destructive feelings I held toward myself, I felt tired and heavy. All I wanted was for life to feel lighter and more joyful again, and to find the inner strength to look forward and move ahead. I knew that it had to be somewhere.
I got my first glimpse of this strength when I had a coaching session for the first time. The coach had asked me to pick a single card which showed an animal, a simple exercise which left me feeling very skeptical at first, but brought forth a major internal shift. For the first time in so long, I was given something to move toward. Something that sparked my inner desire to express what and how I wanted to feel - and a single card that acted as a reminder of exactly that.
After this experience, I had my mind set to a more joyful and effortless life and felt motivated and empowered that I was going to get there. Over time though, I noticed that while my mindset had shifted and I could connect to a much more hopeful and optimistic view, I was still lacking the tools to make this vision my reality.
Instead I kept searching outside of myself for a sense of fulfilment and confidence...
I moved countries and continents, graduated from one of Europe’s top Business Schools, worked in a number of start-ups as well as global organizations, but still I felt out of place. Like I didn’t belong.
Living, studying and working in NYC, Dubai, Copenhagen, and Berlin, with a great education and good jobs, yet something was missing...
Wasn’t this all I had ever wanted?
What else did I even need?
I remember it clearly, the day I read the book 'The Untethered Soul' written by Michael A. Singer and felt an incredible weight lift off my shoulders. I was not alone. Whatever I was feeling, I was not alone. What a relief!
On that very Sunday evening, I sat down to meditate. And while the first days (weeks really) were painful and a true struggle, I never looked back and committed to integrate the practice wholeheartedly into my everyday life. Finally, there it was - the tool to reshape my life. Transformation through stillness.
Without giving fear the chance to take over, I signed up for a Vipassana retreat - 10 days in complete silence. Even now, these 10 days remain the biggest challenge I ever faced. Despite having no pictures, voice notes, text messages or journal entries to prompt my memory, I still remember it so vividly. I experienced what true equanimity meant. A feeling that in its very essence was what I was longing for. Equanimity to me resembles strength, ease, presence, lightness, acceptance and inner balance - all in one. Something that I hope to continue cultivate more throughout my life. In this journey, I’ve learnt that this sense of calm does not come for free and certainly not easy, but that silence and meditation is the gateway to it’s door.
Naturally, I found my way to a local yoga studio and remember the owner of the studio remarking on my devotion as I attended every class of my 30 day trial period. Sometimes even two classes per day. Finding yoga marked the discovery of another one of these
beautiful tools. One that allowed me to deeply connect to my body through movement and through breath.
What struck me most was the moment at the end a practice when the teacher invited us to take a moment in gratitude - gratitude to ourselves, our body allowing us to practice.
For me, coming from a place of self-destruct, where feelings of self-hatred and my eating disorder had ruled the roost, the idea of gratitude had never even occurred to me but left me with a warm shiver all over my body. The attitude of gratitude is still not something that comes easy to me, yet I am training that muscle on a daily basis and I see its magic unfold. Not an external kind of magic, but the innate quality of tranquility and calm it brings.
I gave my all on the yoga mat, showed up for all of the sweaty Jivamukti practices and got ambitious about turning the world upside down - literally.
On another one of those special Sundays, after a particularly sweaty practice, I decided to stay for another class - for deeper stretches of course. It was my first ever Yin Yoga experience and believe me, it wasn’t a pleasant one. The teacher kept us in those deep hip openers for what felt like forever and my mind nagged at me to quit, however, afterwards I felt peaceful and in touch with myself like never before. I kept coming back for Yin Yoga and the practice soon became my safe space. The only place where I felt safe feeling and experiencing all parts of me. As much as Yin Yoga gave me the experience of peace, balance and connection, it also invited me to look at the frustration, anger and disappointment that I had tried to push away for years and years. The practice not only helped me to look at those feelings, but it empowered me to hold space for myself when in distress and discomfort - on and off the mat.
How could a practice that seemed so simple, and ask nothing of me other than to slow down and relax, be so transformational?
Another tool that I felt truly lucky to come across is the power of Sound. The Gongs were my first experience with it and I have never felt anything as remarkable as that. I was immediately hooked and dove deep into more sound experiences very quickly as it guided me into deeper and deeper layers of self-discovery. I find sound is able to open up so many states of being for me, gifting me whatever I need in the moment. Sometimes leaving me fully relaxed and rested, other times energized and invigorated, but always more connected to my intuition. It encourages me to a place where I can give away all sense of control and surrender to the frequencies and energy washing over me, in return for the gift of trust, clarity, and determination.
Looking back, I wish these dark times upon nobody. But I am grateful because I can now see them for what they truly were: a major catalyst for change and growth. A number of experiences that brought me to my knees only to guide me towards my strength again. A fresh start to build my sense of Self again. And so I did.
In the end, I trust that I went through exactly what I needed to experience to bring me to this moment right here. Because being here feels right. Sharing this feels right. And being able to support you feels right.
200hr Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher Training at Sampoorna Yoga, India
50hr Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Nik Robson, Indonesia
50hr Traditional Tantric Hatha Yoga Teacher Training with The Practice Bali, Indonesia
Gong Master Training with Don Concreaux and Kay Karl, Germany
30hr Sound Meditation Training with Soneiro Collective, Germany
Transformational Coaching with the Animas Centre for Coaching
Bhagavad Gita Master Training with The Practice Bali, Indonesia