Wow! What a ride! It’s taken me awhile to digest all that went on at the conference. I still feel like I’m floating on a cloud of excitement.
While many people were blissed out I had a bit of a different experience. I feel like screaming out “Score 1 for mental health!” Friday night Andrea Paquette, the Bipolar Babe, was one of the speakers who shared her story about living with bipolar disorder. Nicky Jones taught Yoga for Grief. Taryn Strong taught Yoga for Recovery both the philosophy and the asana practive. I taught Yoga for Mental Health covering mental wellness, axiety, depression, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. Nicole Marcia taught Trauma Sensitive Yoga. People want to talk about mental health. People are interested in using yoga to be mentally well.
What many people don’t know, ok, pretty much everybody, is that two weeks prior to conference, due to a set back in my treatment, my psychiatrist told me that I needed to take a year off of teaching. She was concerned that the pressures of running my business were taking it’s toll on my mental health; I was under a lot of pressure and pretty fragile. Due to the setback she estimated that it would take a year to get back to where I was before my “episode”. Awesome. Not really.
Everything within me said this could not happen. There was simply no way I could give up teaching. Bewildered I went to my regular Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) support group and was asked a very good question – What do you get out of teaching yoga? My answer – I like helping people heal and live fuller, richer lives. I figured out I needed to teach one person one class per week to cover all my operating costs for the year. Suddenly my stress was gone. And then I got three new clients. Hmmm…
My next appointment with my psychiatrist the topic came up again and I explained what happened at the BPD group and getting the new clients. I also explained my decision to just teach privately. She seemed ok with it but still questioned whether I should teach at the conference. I felt obligated. Yes it was stressful. Yes it was taking a toll on my mental health. It was my first workshop. I didn’t know what to expect. I felt inadequate. I’m just some yoga teacher that looked things up online, paid attention during various support groups, did yoga while hospitalized and studied a couple behavioural therapies and noticed how everything matches up. Well, apparently, that makes me perfectly qualified.
Now part of the reason why I’m still floating on a cloud is because of the amazing people I met that want to keep in touch and try to work together in the future. But one reason is because the same psychiatrist that prescribed yoga to me, that set me on the path to teach at the yoga conference, now wants to promote the teachers that specialize in yoga for grief, additions and mental health issues. Why? Because THAT’s how much she believes in yoga. It’s a powerful tool. One that is sadly under utilized.
So next time you’re having a bad day, or you’re anxious about that big meeting or maybe you have mental illness and are feeling unstable, go to your mat. Even if it’s five minutes. The more you make it a habit of hitting your mat when you’re mental health is taking a hit, the more it will become natural. But also don’t wait until these times, do this in addition to your regular practice. Think of your regular practice as preventative measures. In times of stress that’s the “as needed” yoga.
Take care of yourself. Namaste