I hadn’t felt at home in my body for most of my life. As someone who grew up with chronic pain, “My body hates me” was the narrative I carried to make sense of over a decade of discomfort.
I entered my first yoga studio, Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre (now Santosha’s Kensington location), back in 2015. My first impression of the studio and its teachers was safety, warmth, and solace. I remember jumping on the opportunity to get my Unlimited Intro pass by the end of my first class. While I didn’t recognize it then, my time developing my practice in the studio served as the roots for my future recovery.
I wish I could say I have stuck with my practice ever since. I’ve left and returned to yoga many times since 2015, often falling out of my routine and back into a pain cycle when I’ve deemed myself too busy to slow down.
My most recent return to yoga was in early 2021, after hitting my most challenging rock bottom. In the thick of the pandemic, my jaw was so tight I had cracked all my fillings and faced debilitating back and neck pain that would return by 3 pm every day. Despite managing and supporting two of Toronto’s manual therapy clinics, I was convinced I was predestined for pain.
Word got around that I was also a writer with a B.A. in Communication and Media and a passion for health and wellness advocacy. I was asked to interview body experts and write articles that would engage patients with their care. Through conversation and writing, I accessed the life-altering knowledge I needed to understand my role in my recovery.
My most prominent lesson was learning the difference between passive and active care. Passive Care is the treatments you receive passively from a therapist, such as a massage or an adjustment. Active Care is the activities you engage in outside of treatment, such as exercise and stress reduction, that promote sustainable recovery and optimal function.
The more I surrounded myself with anatomical education, the better I understood what my body needed to recover. I would have to commit to a practice that prioritizes movement and develop the self-compassion necessary to return to my breath, calm my nervous system and combat stress.
Eager to change the course of my life, I looked back on blips in time when I was nearly pain-free. When I would think about times when I felt most embodied with movement, I would think of yoga. When I would think of the times I felt most in tune with my heart and my breath, I thought of yoga. At that point, I unrolled a new mat and immersed myself back into my practice.
Now, my yoga practice stays constant no matter how tumultuous life gets. I’ve recognized how I embody myself more consciously, gently, and gratefully when I commit to my daily practice. In the past year, my self-narrative has shifted from “My body hates me” to “My body needs me” to “I am my body,” and finally,”I am my home.”
I feel my life’s purpose is to help my community realign their minds and reinhabit their bodies. As Santosha’s Studio Manager, I’m honoured to hold space for you to nourish your mind-body connection and access the abundant knowledge and support of our community’s teachers.
With love and health,