Meet Erin! We had the pleasure of first getting to know Erin almost a year ago as a participant in one of our yoga outreach service programs. Erin is now on her way to sharing the power of the practice with others through the support of The PiEproject Foundation and one of our generous scholarship donors. Erin picked a year long teacher training program through NEXT yoga and is also working on her Recovery Coach Certification. We are excited about supporting Erin’s journey and can’t wait to see what’s next for her. Learn more about her personal story and her “Why Yoga”:
When asked the question, “why yoga?” the answer seemed so obvious, “nothing else had ever worked for me.” Reflecting back on how I ended up where I am in life, I now see that until recently I was oblivious to the fact that my misery and suffering had become my best friend. I made a conscious decision to suffer every time I held onto negativity, anxiety, jealousy and resentments. I was at a low point in my life; my soul was lost, and I was utterly alone. It seemed as if no one I cared about would even speak to me. I was unemployed and sleeping on a friend’s couch. My own skin felt foreign and uncomfortable.
I vividly recall the single moment when I realized that I had to make a change in my life. It was a dark, eerie night, no one was around and it was snowing heavily, piling atop the already thirty-six inches that had fallen days before. I had just awoken from another horrific blackout and had let my low self-worth, anxiety and depression hold me hostage for yet another day. Something finally awoke inside me and whispered to me that I had to make a change. It was in that moment that I realized with 100% certainty that this pain would kill me if I didn’t make that change.
I certainly didn’t jump onto a yoga mat and begin to heal in that very second; it took time, effort and commitment to change. However, it was then that it became clear that I was no longer a victim and that what came next was up to me. I started looking – seeking – searching for something. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but I was willing and determined to try anything. It was soon thereafter I came across a Yogafor Beginners video and never looked back. I committed at first to just a week, then 21 days and finally a month.
Something started happening to me in those moments when I showed up on my mat – I was getting stronger. Soon I saw progress in the moments off my mat. While I gained strength, I also gained softness. As my journey continued, I realized I love myself; I accepted my flaws and loved myself for who I was! I gradually came to a place of acceptance… Acceptance of my mistakes as a mother, my failures as a woman and my brokenness as a human.
My mat became the place where I learned to look inside myself and stop trying to avoid my past. I am no longer afraid. As I focus on my breath, I realize the noises have quieted and I am safe. I am here in this moment – with this breath – it is all I have and everything I have. Each time I roll out my mat I am unraveling an opportunity to be free and I choose that freedom.