A journey to Moksha Yoga
When is the last time you sat in silence?
Not in the car with the radio on low, or eating your lunch while scrolling through your phone – not zoned out on the couch after a long day at work – When is the last time you sat down with intention to be still, in silence, and just be with yourself?
What would your mind tell you? Would you have trouble quieting the lists of chores to be done, or social events to attend? Would it tell you that you could have done better at your work presentation today? Maybe it would tell you that you aren’t good enough, pretty enough, or aren’t deserving of happiness.
Mine told me that it didn’t want to live anymore. After years of trying to hush the dark thoughts, my mind told me to stop. Stop trying to be happy, stop faking relationships, stop breathing. And so I listened. And I tried to take my life.
After a move across the country, a divorce, and a short stay in the hospital, I found myself back in Galt, Ontario, the place where I grew up.
My journey left me battered and bruised – self conscious, tired, and lonely. My body and soul were craving nourishment, craving a fulfillment of positive energy and kindness.
I found yoga.
I was welcomed with open arms into the Moksha Yoga Cambridge Ambassador program, and immediately felt a sense of community, family, and love. (Perhaps I have met you on a Saturday afternoon – My name is Shannon!)
I felt changes in my body within days. My energy got a little higher, my poses a little deeper, my mind a little quieter. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t magically cured over night; in that first month, I spent many classes just laying in Savasana, tears streaming down my face. But eventually the tears came less and less as I started to build a sense of self, and cultivate a non-judgemental relationship with myself.
I started to notice a strength not only in my body, but my mind, that hadn’t been there before. I began learning about where and how we hold emotions in our bodies and how that affects our behaviours, and also how I can open my heart to all those who surround me. Moksha Yoga helped me to become more confident, and the best of all, provided me with emotional healing.
Now I wanted more – why didn’t everyone know how amazing this practice is? Why do people go around being grouchy, or sad, or stressed, when they can just go to a yoga class? I began to research the effects of yoga specifically in relation to mental health.
What I found was incredible – yoga has literally been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, help those who suffer with depression and mood disorders, improves general mental health and brain function, helps to manage pain and chronic illness, reduces anger and elevates the mood, and there are even studies showing the positive effects on people with psychiatric disorders as well as veterans with PTSD.
Which all brings me to the present. I would like to become a teacher for Moksha Yoga. I would also like to specifically acquire designations to teach yoga for mental health. I want to do all of this so I can help others, the way I have been helped by the yoga community. I want others to know that they are not alone, and their sadness doesn’t have to be the end.
This is where I need your help. On my journey through mental health, I have not been working. I am currently fundraising to attend the Moksha Yoga Teacher Training this July. The raised funds would help pay for the program, travel, books, food, and shelter. ANY money left over after the training will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
If you have never tried a yoga class, I urge you to go right now! You will feel nurtured, and rested, and energized. But give it time. It’s not easy to sit in silence at first. But don’t judge yourself. Believe in yourself, the way I believed in myself. For those of you practicing – keep at it, even on the cold rainy days when you don’t want to leave the house (I find those end up being my best practices). Challenge yourself to lay in Savasana for an extra few breaths, being with your body and mind, and sitting in silence.
If you do decide to donate to my campaign, thank you a thousand times over. I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of those around me.
And, hopefully I will see you at the studio!
Shannon // You’re Only Dreaming Blogger