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2. Healing through Yoga

A yoga studio opened in Umhlanga. A proper authentic, leave your shoes at the doors, we chant OM and burn incense and make jokes about siddhis, yoga studio.

For five years in this town I have had no spiritual home. I struggled to build a yoga community, had my own studio plans fall through two weeks before we were due to open, and finally gave up teaching altogether – a combination of chronic back pain and disillusionment.

Yoga has saved my life on more than one occasion. It is a holistic medicine, one that heals my body, mind and soul. It does not cure me, just as being a yoga teacher does not make me a perfect person. But it does make me better.

For the past year I have focused on my own physical rehabilitation and practice. Eighteen months ago I wasn’t strong enough to attend a rehab Pilates class and had to have one on one sessions with my biokineticist. I was advised not to practice yoga by several therapists. I most certainly shouldn’t forward bend, or backward bend if possible, or twist. Today I can whiz through an intermediate class with no pain. Last night I did the best Locust of my life even pre-injury.

I had to start again from the beginning. I had to learn to put my injured ego aside and listen to my body. In September last year this triple qualified, advanced yoga instructor signed up to a Beginners Astanga Yoga course in London with a group of people who had never practiced yoga in their lives and started over.

It has taken a long time to get to a place where I feel able to teach again but the signs were there, the time was right and I took the plunge two weeks ago.

When I teach I show my students how the challenges in their asana practice are merely a reflection of the challenges in their lives. When I teach I remind myself of the profundity of this ancient philosophy. When I teach, the scales fall from my own eyes. Yoga is the greatest gift I have ever been given and my gift to share it.

Out of the blue, just when I had decided that it was time to move on, that now that Dad was gone and I no longer needed to be here, I could move somewhere where yoga was neither seen as a cult or an exercise class, an oasis appeared in the desert.

And just like that, transformation: a place to practise, a place to teach, a place where like minded souls converge. A place I can be me.

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