We recieved this testimonial, and with this person's permisson, would love to share her story with you guys. It takes courage and heart to write something like this. We are very grateful and humbled by this beatuiful note.
As the celebration of your first year approaches, I thought it might be appropriate to share with you my yoga journey so that you may understand the life-changing effect your studio has had on my body, heart, and spirit. Though it begins grim, please trust that there is a happy ending.
As an impressionable youth, I’ve always had difficulty relating to my body in positive ways. It changed when I didn’t want it to, and resisted change when I made an effort to adapt to society’s expectations. I loathed it, and became consumed by an eating disorder by the time I was 17 years old. Being bulimic is not the glamourized experience that the media makes it out to be. It didn’t make me thin, it didn’t make me pretty, and above all, it didn’t make me happy. Instead, it tore away at the trust and love I once felt for myself, bit by bit, until I was a shell.
This went on well into my college and university years, become more vicious with every secret I held. I would lie to my friends and family, convincing them that everything was under control, but in every second I spent away from my loved ones I was committed to destroying the thing that made me miserable - my body. I tortured myself with food, exercise, and an obsession with perfection that extended beyond my body into my everyday life. I was irritable, irrational, volatile, and selfish. I will spare you the details of the pain I inflicted on myself, but just writing this I can’t help but shed a tear for that jaded young girl, so thick with emptiness and resentment.
Finally, my loved ones had had enough. I was given an ultimatum, and I entered hospitalization. I spent my time there healing my damaged metabolism, re-learning how to eat and exercise without anxiety, confronting my emotions, and removing dangerous behaviors from my everyday life. When I was discharged, I felt a mix of emotions. I felt that freedom was within my grasp for the first time since my teen years, but I had lost something very definitive of me. I needed a new way to express myself, positively.
This is where you come in. During my time at the hospital, part of my therapy involved a gentle yoga class. It encouraged the patients to feel through their body in a nurturing way, and I always left the sessions feeling a little more hopeful than before. I decided to seek out a yoga studio, and found you. Somewhere between the gentle kindness of your instructors, your soothing environment, and the vibrant energy of your classes, I found peace. Peace in my heart, calmness in my soul, and a love for my body. It was true! The thing that I went from loathing, to hating, to torturing, and finally to accepting - I now loved it! Every class in your studio is a celebration and expression of my spiritual journey, and I look forward to experiencing my body in new ways each time I step onto your floor. Somewhere on my mat, every class, I find that I am beautiful and worth the moments of strength, serenity, and redemption that I feel.
Today I had a very difficult practice, and that is why I was compelled to write to you now. Current stresses in my life had begun to creep into my bones, and it reflected in my class. My body was tight, my emotions were even tighter, and every pose was a struggle. I couldn’t perform the way I believed I ought to, but instead of despairing in this, I came back to my breathe, my body, and my intention. Instead of giving up or feeling like a failure, I pushed through as best as I could. The instructor supported my experience exactly as I needed her to, and I made it. It is during difficult times that one truly sees their potential, and it is sheer determination that saw me through today’s class. When I felt my tears welling up, I exhaled. When I felt my body begin to ache, I let go. I left class today feeling as though I had made great emotional strides, and had learned new coping strategies for when I feel a loss of control, or the pressure of perfection gnawing at my heart. These are lessons that I can apply to all areas of my life, and hopefully, share with the loved ones who so believed in me when I needed it.
So thank you for being a continuing source of inspiration for me, and for supporting me as I work to heal and excel in my new life. When I need to feel balance, strength, and love, I know I need only to step into your studio and abandon my doubts.
I am no longer trapped inside my body - I am awake in it, and I cherish every breathe. Thank you!