In 2005 at the age of 30, I heard there was a yoga studio near my home in Loveland, Colorado. I didn't know much about yoga. What I did know was that I was suffering terrible pain in my body that no doctor could figure out. I had seen several physicians, and none of them could find anything physically wrong with me. The one that got the closest to helping was the doctor that remarked, "You should be able to blow a better exhale on the spirometer. Go home and practice."
This only made me angry and frustrated, and the sharp pains in my chest became more frequent and intense. I saw that doctor after being taken to the ER by my boss, who thought I might have been having a heart attack due to the sharp, debilitating chest pain that came on suddenly. I also had suffered several emotional and physical traumas throughout my life, including a 15-foot fall to the hard desert ground, breaking my bones. I was also a diagnosed narcoleptic, receiving treatment for it since the age of 16, when I fell asleep driving and wrecked.
The studio in Loveland was a welcoming environment, but I was terribly shy and self-conscious. I recall walking home from that first class not sure what had just happened. I had never experienced a real sense of relaxation before. I had never really opened to experiencing my breath and the ability to be fully present in my body and at the same time relaxed. I had danced as a kid, but ballet for me was an emotionally charged nightmare in some ways, and in other ways the very thing that likely saved my life. I cried on that walk home from the yoga studio. It wasn't sadness; it was a distinct feeling of cracking open and an unfamiliar sense of surging energy.
In 2006 I moved to Roanoke, Virginia, and I fell in love with the Ashtanga yoga method. The active practice of meditation in motion was exactly what I needed. I still had mysterious pain. As I practiced, I learned how to negotiate with the pain—to learn from it—and to notice where I met it, and if it was physical or emotional. The concept of physical pain being from an emotional source was new to me. As I practiced I began to work with softening the edges and began to feel less pain and more of a sense of release and relief and more joy.
During one practice, I was working through a lot, after the class I spoke with the instructor; she suggested I see Kathleen Barratt for a breathwork session. After that experience, I knew there was so much more I needed to learn! Working with Kathleen and the Barratt Breathwork® model taught me more about breath, energy, and consciousness, and it introduced me to bioenergy. I later studied with master bioenergy healer Mietek Wirkus. In the first bioenergy class I took, I knew that I had tapped into a natural innate healing ability that had been dormant.
As I practiced yoga, breathwork, and bioenergy, it became clear to me that helping others through these modalities would be part of my path. With that awareness, I left the corporate world in 2014 after 14 years of working for global agriscience and biotechnology companies. I am grateful for my time in the corporate world. The last five years with my full-time job became much smoother as I integrated yoga, breathwork, and bioenergy practices into my life. All three practices have a deep focus on breath and meditation.
My meditation practice developed from this trinity of disciplines. Synthesizing them has connected me to a depth of my being I had no idea existed. They have allowed me to serve others, support my health and wellness, and heighten my intuitive sensitivity so I can continue the work. I no longer take medication for narcolepsy and have a more loving relationship with my body, mind, and spirit. I have opened to Joy—the real deal, not something that can be bought or conjured up.
I still encounter challenges, but my trove of practices supports me at all times. Maintaining a sense of curiosity is key; we are are all in this school of life together. Each moment is an opportunity, every breath a gift. I will always be a student walking along the path. Now that I've opened the door, see the path before me more clearly, and am ready to step out, I extend my hand in service to others to walk through their own personal door home to freedom.