The tools and techniques that I teach within my work comes from my heart and from the journey that I have been on.
● Physical education degree( BA Hons ) with Qualified teacher status (Performing Arts- Dance
Fully qualified Mindfulness now Teacher - Accredited by the British Psychological Society- The
Network for Mindfulness Teachers
● Fully qualified Personal Trainer Level 3
Tcurrently undertaking my 200 hour teacher training yoga course with yoga alliance.
I feel deeply that the experiences I have gained, learnt and developed both in my teaching career and challenges I have made to my personal health, has shaped the authentic work that I share today.
This is my Journey explained below to finding the true power of Mindfulness practices and Yoga and how they have transformed my life...
In August 2017 I went from Working full time as a Dance and PE teacher, running the London Marathon, swimming competitively and dancing everyday to suddenly being bed bound.My life was turned upside down and after many Medical tests and hospital appointments I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, reactive Glandular Fever and co-infections of Lyme Disease. The only advice and care the doctors could give me was to go home rest and wait it out. They said ‘it may never
go away but the condition may get better over time through management tools as the recovery varies from person to person and you have to learn how to live with it’.
There I I was; scared, lonely and shocked that my health had declined so dramatically, so quickly, that I was left bed bound and unable to do anything for myself for months.I spent days , weeks and months in my bed dreaming about having my old life back. Questioning how I had got to this point in my life? My boyfriend would wash my hair for me as I was unable to lift my arms up above my head. I Could not see anyone for days. When I was at my worst I was sleeping 20 hours each
day. Even with only 4 hours each day its amazing how much your mind can race around, while your body remains completely still. This was the first time in my life that I realised how busy our minds can be. It made me stop, think and question; What did I do to deserve this ? Why has this happened to me ? Will I
be this ill forever ?
This is then when I had an epiphany as to how powerful our minds are and how busy they can be with thoughts, feelings and emotions, especially when we are faced with such a crisis or in general day to day life. After the initial phase of just having to sleep for hours and hours, with every day that went past, I was slowly able to start thinking about how I was going to get through this. On a physical level I knew I had to focus on my sleep, nutrition and restorative movements to help my body in the best way I could in order to restore health again and recover. But on a mental level, I knew I had to discover a tool or technique that could help me to accept what had happened and become aware of the thoughts I was having instead of attaching to them and letting them ‘run the show’.
I did some research into how powerful our minds are and, if we can learn to stop the story that we run in our minds and establish a positive environment in the mind, it can really help with healing and recovery from chronic illnesses. It then awakened me to how beneficial learning Mindfulness practices and tools
could help us in our lives, no matter how big,or small, the challenge is we are facing. Mindfulness practices and changing our thought processes, does not lead to recovery alone, but it helps with starting the journey to accepting what has happened and therefore moving forward with it in a more
positive way. We all have thoughts, feelings and emotions but do we ever take the time to stop and witness them as Thoughts, Feelings or Emotions ? More often than not we get wrapped up in them and they become who we are.
Someone special to me told me one day, ‘try not to fight the thoughts , the pain you are in or the suffering you are in . Learn to accept it , embrace it’When I first heard this piece of advice I thought ‘you have no idea what I am going through ! How can I just accept what has happened to me?’ I had spent my whole life working towards goals and achieving them then suddenly I was told to stop , to stop working on my health , to stop fighting the thoughts of guilt, shame, disapointment and suddenly I had to sit and accept them. I had been conditioned in life that if you want something you have to strive strive strive for it. Suddenly I was being told to just accept it ?
This is when the true inwards journey started.
I started with small steps . I started learning how to meditate and breathe properly from my bed. I started reading, when I could, all the mindfulness and meditation books out there because I needed to know how it was going to help me before practicing something that was so alien to me at the time. The more I read, and started practicing mindfulness breathing and meditations , the more I stared to feel the benefits, and it all made sense.
When I first started to include mindfulness practices into my day, I thought to myself ‘Right all I need to do now is to sit acknowlegde my thoughts, accept them and focus back on my breath easy right ?’ No ! This was by far harder than all the other things I had to do for my recovery. The nutrition, the journalling , the reading and research this came easy to me because I was still doing . I had never ever just focused on being. I had to be doing, which so many of us today, feel we have to do. Day by day I kept my mindfulness practices going.I learnt to be kind and gentle with myself.
After months of practicing I learnt to have a new relationship with my body and the trauma of what had happened to my health. I still had the thoughts of ‘Why me ? What did I do to deserve this ? When will I get better ? I’m trying everything and nothing’s working!’ But, with mindfulness practices, I was able to dettach from these thoughts; they were just a thought and I had the power to let them run into my story or become just a thought in my mind. This helped me establish an acceptance of what had happened and as a result I became more accepting and kind to myself, which was so important when I was in such a vulnerable place and my body needed all the love and care it could to heal and recover.
After months and months I started to get a little bit of energy back slowly. In combination with the mindfulness practices, I started with just some gentle restorative yoga poses.This really helped as our bodies are designed to move they are not desgined to be lying down 20 hours a day and I knew this from my experience and knowledge in movement. Our bodies can hold a lot of tension in the muscles, but by stretching everyday, it allowed my aches and pains to improve and, slowly, I started to build a connection back up with my body again which I had lost for so long. I learnt slowly, and it still is a process today, just to trust my body to move again in a gentle way, not pushing the body; just softly strengthening it.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Glandular Fever lays dormant in your body and can be reactivated at any time. By having tools and techniques that could help me to slow down physically and take time to be calm, is very key for me in making sure I am able to manage this chronic illness day by day along with other practices such as nutritional factors, getting enough sleep and lifestyle. I found through this journey the importance of Mindfulness Practices and Restorative Yoga and how, not only people who are suffering from chronic pain or health issues, but everyone should learn these practices. We all have difficult times in life, whether it is financially, in our relationships or stresses at work or school that create thoughts , feelings and emotions that we need to work through and these practices are so important for maintaining good Mental and Physical Health.
I wished I had learnt and really taken on board these practices before being forced to. I think it really would have helped me through this challenge at the start, but it also would have taught me the importance of slowing down in life. When we slow down each day, and get out of the fight or flight response or autopilot, it can feel as though we have new eyes that become awakened to the beauty of life no matter what we are facing. We can change our perspectives of the beauty that life really is rather than getting caught up in unhealthy and stressful thought patterns that no longer serve us or help us achieve or feel how we want to feel insidWhen I was lying in bed dreaming about living my life again and when that would be like. Something kept me dreaming even in the dark days .It was the idea that I would have have a second chance in life, to live life having learnt a lot of hard lessons.I made a decision to myself and a promise that I would live a balanced life, with self love and self care. I wanted to share everything to the world that I had learnt.
We have the power inside of us ...
Sometimes we just need some guidance, tools and techniques to help us tune into our own power. When we learn to accept the challenges we may be facing , embrace the idea of letting go, and trust ourselves that through darkness comes a whole new strength, we can start to show ourselves compassion, self love, non judgement , patience and then, day by day, we can show this love , kindness and gentle attitude to others.
Remember life is short. Be gentle with yourself, be present in every moment and remember to smile every day.
Love Kelly x