Guest blog by Yogasteya community member April Eckwielen
Growing up, I always felt like I had to make everyone happy, even if that meant sacrificing what I really wanted. I didn’t want anyone to get mad at me and I definitely did not want to create any conflict. If someone thought my ideas were crazy or I would never succeed, I would quit and move on to something else. Always bouncing from this and that, not really finding my true calling or purpose. All of that changed the day yoga found me.
I started yoga classes at my daughter’s former dance studio, not knowing at all what to expect. Once that first class was completed, I was hooked. Friends and family would question me about why I liked it and thought it was just another phase I was going through. Some said I wasn’t the right type of person to do yoga as they only thought vegan, tree hugging, and patchouli wearing hippies practiced yoga. Once I started getting more into the yoga culture, I was told yoga doesn’t do anything good for you and that laying on the floor was not beneficial. When I started accumulating yoga books, props, magazines and videos I was told I was jumping on the band wagon and this too would be soon forgotten. Normally, I would have second guessed myself with all of these remarks I was getting from people who I thought would be happy I found something I truly enjoyed. Something changed in me and I didn’t know what until my practice was at risk of being taken from me.
In the summer of 2011, I found out that I had a centrally bulging disc in my lower back. I was in excruciating pain and no amount of medication, physical therapy or treatments could help. My last resort was surgery. While sitting in the surgeon’s office with my husband finding out about the procedure and everything involved, the doctor asked if I had any questions. I looked at him and said “Will I be free from pain and will I be able to do yoga once I am healed”? He said like all surgeries, there is a possibility of them not being successful and he would do his best to make sure it was. He also told me that I could most definitely return to yoga once I was properly healed. I realized then that I had grown roots in yoga and this was my calling. August 4, 2011 I underwent minimally invasive spinal fusion of my L5 and S1 vertebrae and also gained some fancy hardware consisting of 4 screws and rods in my back. In January of 2012, I was cleared to resume my yoga practice.
Since 2012, I have changed. I began to stand in my power of what I knew my purpose was. I no longer allow people to belittle me over the decision I have made with yoga. It was difficult but I have removed people and ways of thinking from my life that were not beneficial to my journey. I began to grow roots and was not going to budge. I craved finding out more about yoga. I went to class as much as my schedule would allow. I read articles, took part in online challenges and soaked up all of the yoga information that I could. I believed in myself and made those around me who thought I was just doing what was popular at the time, realize I wasn’t backing down.
I became a certified prenatal yoga teacher a day before my birthday in November 2013. In February 2014 I started my 200 hour yoga teacher training. It’s been a long and emotional process. Many times, I wanted to stop because I felt I couldn’t do it or that I really wasn’t meant for this. I stopped listening to that voice and once again stood in my power. I am now a 200 hour certified yoga teacher, who is teaching 4 classes a week and in November of 2014, became a yoga business owner. I may not have the support of everyone and that is ok with me. I know who honors the journey I am on and who will be on that path to catch me if I stumble. I know that they will not try to take any of my power away. They will only help me raise my vibration and help me succeed. Standing in your own power can be a very scary and sometimes lonely place. We must remember that once we make roots, we can stand strong and nothing will be able to knock us down.
No matter what your past life experiences have been, never allow anyone to diminish you, to make you feel small and wrong. Always stand in your power and truth, even if your truth does not comply with others. Listen to the inner whispers of your heart and it will lead you back home ~ Sasha Samy ( Author of Shadow to Light)
April is a unique gal whose passions include yoga, writing, energy work and the occasional pin up convention. On this fantastic life journey, she has her husband and two children cheering her on. She is a 200 hr. certified yoga teacher, certified prenatal yoga teacher and Curvy Yoga certified. She focuses on balancing the chakras through yoga and meditation. She has recently opened her own yoga business, Red Lotus Yoga in Winter Garden, FL. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on her website at www.redlotusyogafl.com.