After having leafed through so many Yoga teachers bio’s, it dawned on me that where they’ve been and who they’ve trained with served  little purpose. Those teachers who actually got down to the nitty gritty about how Yoga stepped into their lives and what lead them there is what really resonated with me.

Sharing the battle from escapism to truth. Here I bare all…

My parents both passed away when I was 7.

It was traumatic.

Lucky for me I had a brother who raised me and a sister who has always supported me.

So from a young age I learnt that everything can be gone in just a ‘snap!’ I learnt the importance of   ‘live everyday as if it were your last.’ My tendency with people I felt good around was to be around them as much as possible, just in case it would all be over tomorrow.  I learnt to forgive fast.  I wanted to gobble up everything I could. Some antics were healthy ones and others, not so healthy.

I delved into the world of drugs and alcohol and everything came up. It was like a volcano spewing out all that lava. A new  found freedom!! It felt great! I indulged more to let out more. I danced, I wrote, I painted…it was endless

(N.B.In my familia we were raised to keep our ‘voice’ hush. Bury everything. The good ol’ Catholic way *CRINGE*)

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting taking drugs. There are healthier ways to ‘open up’.              This was just the path that I chose to take.

Every Up has it’s Down.

I lived on my own from a young age. I was in University but also worked in the downtown bar scene in Toronto and got introduced to a lot of the ‘underground’ parties. Initially I felt free from years of buried questions and emotions.  Then later on it became a form of escapism,  I felt like a victim.

An attitude which gets you nowhere .

Be it right or wrong, good or bad I can see the benefit of all of it, as well as the downslide.  It is certain that this lifestyle isn’t one you can live for long without some repercussions.

Wham bham!

It was my 30th birthday and I decided it was time for a lifestyle change. I found myself wondering where I was going in life. I had no direction, no answers. It terrified me.  I stopped everything in one go. Bye bye drugs, alcohol, nightclubs and parties.

My body went into shock. All of a sudden I wasn’t ‘feeding’ it what it was used to getting. I fell into a depression for  6 months. I signed up for natural therapies. But chocolate made me feel the best;)  It became my new addiction, hence gaining 10kilos and feeling even more crap about myself….

But it was all part of the ride.

So a friend suggested trying Yoga. I was always into Fitness ,but Yoga?


I thought it was a lame excuse for doing exercise.

I was thee BIGGEST Yoga sceptic .

All the same I decided to give it a go, and once I found my teacher there was no turning back. It really did help me let go of everything that was wrong for me. It taught me a gradual process to healing. I learnt to let go of things one at a time instead of kicking it all out in one go.

Yoga became my new ‘ thing’.  I hit as many classes as I could. My diet started getting healthier and I was more gentile with my body/mind.  I started loosing weight and feeling grrrreat!

I learnt that part of this ‘ride’ is falling off the tracks again and getting back on…. I had stopped smoking cigarettes and marijuana. Then I travelled and bumped into old friends with old habits.

I caved.

Yoga was still in my life but I got back into smoking marijuana and hashish on a daily basis. I was chronic. I’d wake to a joint for breakfast and smoke them like cigarettes throughout the day. I always believed I would never quit. I didn’t want to.  I couldn’t imagine hanging out with people who didn’t smoke. Now that I’ve let it all gothe complete opposite is true. It still shocks me. Sometimes it feels hypocritical, but I view it as part of my past.

Yoga was still in my life.  Gradually over the years, it came to a point where the more Yoga I did the less I smoked. I met different people who didn’t smoke and that made it an easier transition.  It all happened so naturally, where at one stage I was smoking chronically, then once per week, then once per month, then perhaps once every 6 months. Then  none.  This was a 4 year transition.

Yoga taught me that it is completely natural to have your ‘setbacks’ and to not get hung up on them.  Yoga taught me that I felt better without it than with it. Then I got back on the right tracks. There have been times when I wondered if it was still something I ‘missed’ doing. I found out, I didn’t miss it at all. The time had finally come where I had let go completely. Not feeling the ‘need’ for anything was one of the most freeing feelings EVER!

So this is how Yoga came into my life and what it has done for me.

It taught me to find the teacher in me.

I hope that perhaps this will aid any of you with similar issues. Research proves that the easiest thing to do is give up, it’s what adults do best. I’m thinkin that we should work on changing that ‘fact’ .

‘ The only sure thing in life is change’


Anytime I feel myself move into that frame of mind of ‘do this and you can then get ‘that’, whatever ‘that’ may be’… I take myself back to this memory…

A few years ago I was hired as a stewardess to work on a private charter yacht, named ‘Ophelia'(the hopless romantic in me was smitten by the name). We were to sail the med for the summer, on all her beauty.
Yoga is/was my thing, and I thought this opportunity was a  puurfect way of gathering the funds I needed  to get my yoga arse over to India to certify, but it all went pear shaped…(not my arse, but the opportunity 😉
My freedom was lost and I religously hit the front deck of the boat everyday to do my yoga practice, waiting  for an answer to find a way out of this situation I no longer wanted to be in.

 Half way through my practice I arched up into fish pose.. long and behold! One of the crew members came running up towards me shouting ‘Michelle Michelle! FISH! FISH! I ducked out of my pose and alongside the boat was freedom found! A batch of beautiful dolphins were riding off the waves of Ophelia, with smiles of maximus length running across their faces. The joyous sounds of freedom in their voices was so boundless.

 They made me realise that feeling free is where I always need to be , they gave me the answer I’d been searching for.
Some say the dolphins coinciding with me striking fish pose was purely coincidental. I believe everything happens for a reason, COINCIDE being the word of choice. They heard my voice.

 Deepest gratitude to you great sea creatures, live Long, Strong & Free

Genuine Compassion

There is this notion that as humans, we have come into thinking more than feeling. We’ve let our minds take over completely, many have opted for fulfilment of self as opposed to thinking of how one’s actions can or will affect the world(nature and humans) around them.  By seperating ourselves completely we have voluntarily isolated ourselves and rarely stop to think, ‘ how would I feel in their shoes?’ How are my actions affecting this person or my environment? Empathy. Not pity.

‘Pity is a form of judging that suffering is bad. Please keep in mind that this form of compassion being taught to us is all part of the game and we designed it to be disempowering so that we, as souls, could move into a disempowered state, figure out that we are disempowered and then take the steps to regain our power. In other words, it is part of the game of soul evolution, therefore it is neither right or wrong’

We should learn to relate to the persons situation without looking for a way to ‘fix’ it for them, this in turn would actually disable the person from learning to wish to relieve it; to grow, and strengthen.  We often learn the most from our painful experiences. Hence the famous expression, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’

 Webster’s dictionary defines compassion as:  ‘Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with that we have been taught.  As you can see, compassion is an emotion: a feeling in motion.  It is an active feeling. When a feeling is active, it can be used as a tool.  As a tool, it can be used in a positive or negative manner.’

 If through every action you first contemplate, how would I feel with such action being taken towards me? Is it justly so? Am I harming the world in any way by taking such action? The beauty of genuine compassion is daring to care and realising how beautiful and safe it makes one feel to be around that kind of attitude.  Through caring I feel very little else has to be done. Having the courage to dare to care for someone travelling through a rough patch is enough for them.  Once we learn to help ourselves, and take the steps to do so, proper support magically shows up to support us from all angles.  All emotions are justified, compassion being one of them and being aware that any single emotion doesn’t  override is key.

As we’ve continued to move  towards this attitude of ‘non caring’ we can see the effects it is having on us as a whole. The environment is suffering incredibly and individuals are becoming a lot more isolated and suffering more loneliness.

 I have always been noted as the‘ sensitive’ one in the family. I’ve always felt a lot, sometimes too much that I have to put up a wall at some stage or I would spend a lot of my time in tears. I’ve always wanted to ‘help’ and ‘fix’, but doing this in turn was also helping me, selfishly. The best way to help yourself through a problem is to help someone else with the same one, so without even realising it you are also helping yourself.  I always wonder, ‘how can they not care?’ and at times I’ve tried that side of non caring and I just felt myself grow very cold, very selfish, very hard. It really wasn’t a nice place to be, but finding a safe medium is necessary. Sometimes I would take a big step back from someone’s suffering and they think you don’t care, but it’s quite the opposite, by stepping back you’re allowing them the space to try and help themselves which is true caring in my eyes.

We’ve all started in the same place and will all end up in the same place, what you do with your life in between matters!  To dive into the heart and recognise how it feels in every situation is spreading love into the world, ye it sounds hippie-esk I know, but at the end of the day ‘love makes you stronger’, ‘love gives you freedom’ , compassionate attitudes make us who we’re meant to be. The heart is there to feel, the brain is there to think, have them meet halfway.