A Bit of Background …
I was born in a super small town. I was raised in a Catholic family. I met a guy and fell in love with him at the age of 16. I married him when I was 18 so I could enjoy all the pleasures of adulthood without judging myself. He joined the Air Force. We moved to Florida and eventually Italy by the time I was 20. I was in college for Elementary Education and changed my major to Exercise Science so I could finish a Bachelor’s degree while living in another country. He was gone often and I needed a hobby. I was sad, overweight and missing my family terribly. I needed a hobby and started taking exercise classes and then my whole life changed!
Getting Certified to Teach!
After losing some weight by walking on the treadmill and counting calories alone, I got enough courage to take a group exercise class. (I used to be super-duper-shy.) I felt so weird in the body blast (think similar to Body Pump or any total body strength class) class I was taking. I felt like the instructor was always walking over to just me, pointing out things just I did wrong. Of course now I know that’s silly. She wasn’t only focused on me, I just needed a lot of help! After taking her classes for only a month, she moved and a new instructor took her place. This new woman, Deb, rocked my world! She had an approach which was so unique and made me feel safe and welcomed. Instead of feeling weird and out of place I felt like a rockstar! It didn’t take long before I started setting up my workout station toward the front of the classroom. Before I knew it, my friends and I were taking not only body blast, but spin and yoga, too! I quickly developed a relationship with all of our instructors who encouraged me to get certified so I could teach. The thought of standing in front of a class made me sick to my stomach, but I went for it anyway!
Conquering a Fear of Public Speaking
In 2009 I became a certified group fitness instructor. By the end of the year I was teaching body blast and spin classes! In 2010 I started teaching yoga, Strollercise, circuit training and more. I was hooked. My life was focused on working out and eating clean. I was in the best physical shape of my life in 2010, but probably one of the worst mental states, ever. (Note, this is before I viewed yoga at a mind-body connection … at the time, the Ashtanga yoga I practiced was purely for the workout I received.)
I wasn’t emotionally balanced or healthy.
My (at the time and now ex) husband had recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan and we weren’t the same individual people or couple we once knew. I tried to look past it and focused my attention on our upcoming move. After living overseas for three years, I was ready to be stateside again! We moved to Las Vegas in the summer of 2011 and while I was still in good shape, my mental and physical health started to deteriorate. In the fall of 2011 my ex and I talked about divorce seriously for the first time and I left Vegas for a couple weeks. At the time, I think we both knew it was the best choice, but we were both too scared to move forward, so I came back home and continued living the life I didn’t love. I kept teaching fitness and personal training, but mentally, socially, and intimately I wasn’t healthy.
My body was speaking my mind!
In 2012 I went to the doctor many times over the course of several months trying to figure out all of these symptoms that suddenly started to occur: weight gain, nausea, lightheadedness, cold sweats, increased heart rate, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing, etc … Looking back it’s all plainly obvious; I was suffering from anxiety, but at the time I had no idea what anxiety even was. Sure, I knew people would say that they’re anxious for something, but I had no idea that could morph into physical symptoms.
Fast forward to spring of 2013. I sent him off on yet another trip (this time another long one to Afghanistan). The same day I dropped him off at the airport was the same day I took my Level 1 Yoga Teacher Training with YogaFit. Sure, I had yoga trainings through AFAA and was cleared to teach, but I wanted to know more about yoga! The timing couldn’t have been better! I instantly fell in love with YogaFit and continued taking more trainings working toward the 200 hour registered yoga teacher certification requirements.
Yoga and Essential Oils to Heal
I soon realized that yoga was much more than the workout I used it for in the past. Yoga meant that I had control of my mind! I started to self heal from the anxiety by using essential oils and deep breathing techniques. Yoga helped me deal later that July when I received an email talking about divorce again. I was able to handle it and say that I thought it was a good and healthy idea for both of us! I packed up and moved to Utah within a month (where I had many military friends) only to move back to Las Vegas the following February.
Life Lessons Learned!
In 2014 many things happened. It was the best year of my life in so many ways! For the first time in years I felt free of the future, meaning I was living in the present! I felt excited for new beginnings. I felt love. I felt safe. I felt calm. I felt beautiful and balanced.
The Struggle is Real!
All those delicious feelings I had didn’t seem to last. My life quickly took a turn during the summer of 2015. So many things happened, and I didn’t maintain that balance that I’d strived for so long to create. These things
- A and I decide to start seriously looking for a place to buy in CA
- we find the place and put an offer in
- mom tells me she’s leaving dad after 35 years and to please keep it a secret until she tells him
- family stays with us for a couple weeks in our small apt while I try to deal with all the above things + pack up our house and garage while still working 5am-12pm Monday-Friday
- leaving a job I loved
- moving to a new town where I only knew a couple people
- trying to work from home (and not teach)
- Anthony commuting to Vegas (where is law practice still is)
- A’s mom having major heart surgery + a stroke & his dad having surgery
which can’t be judged good or bad, affected me on a level so deep I went spiraling into a depression. I recognized exactly what was going on with me, and reached out to my family and a couple friends, and of course A. It didn’t seem like enough people got me though, ya know? I was feeling all these feels and I wanted somebody to validate them and let me know it was okay to be feeling depressed and second guessing every major life decision that had just been made, and then I realized, it is okay to feel!
Accepting the Lesson
Once I accepted that it was okay for me to feel sad, angry, depressed, upset and lonely, and even to embrace those feelings when they reared their heads, I began to heal. You see, we live in a world where people want us to be “okay” or “good” all the time, and the fact is, we’re humans! Most of us experience an array of emotions and it is absolutely alright for us to not be “good” every now and again. The not-so-good feelings allow us to learn and even more, to find new appreciation for the times when we do honestly feel good!
So here we are, presently at the end of 2015, and I’m finally starting to find some of that balance again. I’m teaching after taking a four-month break and am feeling happier than I have in awhile! Life’s a journey, my friends! Know that with time, this too will pass.
Note: If you’re struggling with feelings of hopelessness or depression, please seek care of your medical provider! I am not a doctor nor am I claiming that you should struggle or stay in a depression. Please seek professional care, should you need it!