I discovered yoga after I injured my back (and other parts too - like dominoes, my body sort of fell to pieces bit by bit after having two kids so close together). In the 18 months after Indigo's birth, I saw 6 different practitioners from the most traditional western doctors to the most alternative Chinese healers. None could help me and some judged me and made me feel so depressed in my hopeless situation. I could not lift my children, let alone work or be a proper wife and mother. Poor Ben and my family took the brunt of my injuries, especially Ben and my mum, and I am so thankful for all they did for me during that painful time.
I finally found a wonderful chiropractor who helped me recover to the next level of health. Once I had hit a plateau, she insisted I must do yoga if I was ever going to take my health into my own hands and get myself better entirely.
I was relatively against the idea, having my own distorted image of what yoga entailed. I had taken a few classes 15 or so years ago where I was criticized and even reprimanded in front of 100s of students for being too bendy. I simply didn't know that I was overly flexible, and that it was not what I was supposed to be doing so I was a bit put off by the experience.
Nevertheless, I trusted my Chiropractor who had healed me this far, and so I started yoga classes in November of 2008. I am ashamed to admit it, but I really didn't get what all the fuss was about for a while. I think I may still have had blocks and like not picking up a book until you are in the right mind space to read it and take it all on board, I was not quite where I was meant to be yet to allow yoga work its magic. Nevertheless, I kept going to classes because I had promised I would as part of my healing programme, not to mention I had really hit rock bottom, so I was willing to try anything.
But somewhere along the way, the penny dropped and not only did I start feeling the physical effects of my yoga practice, but shortly after that, I started to experience the spiritual and personal side that I had not anticipated or believed in when I began.
And then I discovered Yoga For Life. I had actually met Michelle when a mutual friend invited her to join a baby group I used to host at my house. Since I wasn't able to work due to my back pain, I became a full on mumsy (and loved it!) so baby groups became my life. Michelle had just had a baby boy of her own and she had such a lovely way about her that I was sure if I could read auras, hers would be blue. She told me she was a yoga instructor though at that point, I had not even tried the practice again so I just thought how cool and that was the end of it.
A few years later, I was in the right mind space to want to take my yoga practice further by trying new instructors. I was lucky enough to get a place in the first class Michelle offered when she started teaching again since the birth of her son. And these classes have changed my life.
Michelle took my practice to yet another level, and to this day, she still challenges me and helps me grow, and for this I am constantly surprised and thankful. She is now pregnant with her second child (another boy - squeal!), but is still teaching one class a week which I attend without fail.
Since getting to know Michelle better, I have learned that this amazing woman, with such a gentle energy and zen way about her, is a certified Hatha yoga teacher. She studied under Lillah Schwartz, an experienced Iyengar teacher from Asheville, North Carolina. Since her teacher training, Michelle has been greatly influenced by the teachings of Aadil Palkhivala's Purna Yoga style and the more I hear about this type of yoga, the more it all makes sense to me.
Michelle expertly balances teaching alignment-focused yoga with the art of loving oneself by living from the heart. I know it all must sound so hippie dippy if you are not into yoga, but don't knock it until you try it. Her classes are intimate, deeply relaxing and restorative. She is amazing at encouraging her students to implement their yoga both on and off the mat. I adore how she incorporates short readings and wise teachings into her classes to help us question ourselves and take our practice and lives to a deeper level of meaning and happiness.
Michelle has been practicing yoga for 10 years and teaching for four. She shares her own personal yoga journey and is heart breakingly honest about how she needed to immerse herself in the practice in order to heal from a major illness. This was a transformational time that helped her slow down from her previous unsustainable pace. In class, she is open and frank about her own hurdles that she works on along the way to find more balance in her own life. This raw and sensitive approach is so inspiring to me and all who take her classes.
Although Michelle only offers the one Friday class at the moment, she is excited to be expanding in the future to incorporate more one on one sessions and small private classes. I can't wait to meet the little bundle in her belly, and for her to be ready to take on more sharing of her innate wisdom and yogi love.
Thanks for all the love and wisdom you share Michelle - Namaste.