Updated: Jan 19
Sometimes Yoga seems like it's the answer to all of life’s problems.
Bad back? You should try yoga.
Lose Weight? You should try yoga.
Change the world? Do yoga!
To anyone that has never tried yoga before, you're not going to do one class and suddenly all of life’s problems are solved. Nor will you instantly become a hippy.
But you may find yourself hooked.
For anyone who has been doing yoga for a while, you should see some benefits and positive changes to your life. This can be in many forms and it's different for each person.
For me, I went to one class at University and was hooked. I then started going to yoga once a week, never knowing it would land me my dream job. Now, I truly believe I see the benefits of yoga every day.
My main goal is to provide people with the opportunity and the environment to find out these benefits for themselves. Providing a place they feel comfortable enough to open themselves up to yoga fully.
In this blog we will highlight some life changing stories we have seen in the past and how yoga has played a part in each.
1. Vernon Kenny, 50, gave up Alcohol and Smoking after 6 months of practising yoga.
He tells the Guardian "... I was drinking every day, and smoking a lot. I was living for the weekend and experiencing low-level depression that I managed through excessive shopping and substance abuse. This was 10 years ago – I was 40.
After my first class, which was just a regular one in a gym, everything changed. I was hooked straight away and six months in I’d stopped drinking and smoking, and my family and friends noticed the difference in me too. "
Vernon also goes on to say how practising yoga improve his mentality and outlook on life. Giving up material possessions and turning his focus inward.
Vernon now practices yoga twice daily, once before work for an hour and a half. He then meditates in the evenings. He even teaches a few classes a week!
"Yoga isn’t going to turn everyone’s life around, but it has the potential to do so. You just need to be open to it"
2. Emily, 17, Credits yoga in helping her have a better relationship with her body.
Emily tells the Guardian "I had attempted suicide multiple times and was ill with anorexia... I was in a terrible state, and had lost over half my body weight. My suicide attempts had been monthly, and I’d been on suicide watch for three years. "
Emily credits having her first yoga class in hospital as a turning point in her life. She was introduced to yoga as a way to calm down, but also notes how it has empowered her. " I found that it kind of empowered me to realise my body isn’t just what people can see but how I can use it. "
She finishes with
" I am not one of those constant, dedicated people, and I only do yoga for 10 minutes a day, but it helps to ground me. It has taught me how to calm down and not panic at everything. "
3. Che Marville, 45: Yoga saved me from nights of sleeplessness after an illness
Che was diagnosed with osteomyelitis whilst visiting friends in Guyana. She became very ill and lost the ability to walk.
She travelled to Trinidad and had an unsuccessful surgery. Then she was told her right leg needed to be amputated.
Her mother, a British-trained nurse, refused and went to the Canadian embassy to help them return to Canada.
The doctors in Trinidad said: “If you take her back, she will die,”
Her mother took this risk and flew her to Toronto.
She tells the Guardian " When I got to Toronto I had a series of seven operations and gradually improved. I went through rehabilitation and wore a brace and never lost my leg. "
As a result of her experiences she developed sleep issues, to try and to help with this she started yoga.
" Through yoga I’ve been able to help other people too and be of service in my community. I work with seniors, children and executives.
I have received feedback from people saying that learning yoga has helped them sleep better and reduce their anxiety. It’s also helped people cope with depression. It has not healed them but it has helped them cope "
You can read all 3 stories in full here
4. Mellisaa Ackman: Yoga gave her the confidence to quit her job and move across the country.
After having ups and down with fitness, Mellissa saw a dramatic change after completing her degree in Accounting.
She tells Shape " When I started working full-time in corporate accounting, I noticed a lot of changes in my body and in my life. I didn't have a lot of energy, I couldn't make time to work out, and I was just feeling really down about myself. "
After attending Pure Barre classes she saw an instant shift in her mood and soon began teaching classes in the mornings before work.
" I started teaching as often as I could—three days before work, both days on the weekend, and if I had any days off work I would cover all the classes. "
One of her friends from Pure Barre convinced her to go to a Yoga class. Although she was reluctant " I wasn't really interested. I had all the same notions that most people have before trying it: that it's super spiritual, that you need to be flexible, and that if I only have an hour in the day to work out, I don't want to spend it stretching."
However, after that first class she was hooked and was soon doing yoga every day.
" It helped me organize myself internally. I became more patient with myself and started to put my life into perspective.
Each day I did yoga I built up more confidence, happiness, and security within myself to take my life with the next level, take things into my own hands, and create a better life for myself."
Melissa had always wanted to live in L.A. Yoga helped her get the confidence to make the big move and go for it. Eventually, she quit her job, sold her house and her furniture, taking just taking her dog to L.A.
You can read the full story here
5. Katie Brown: How one yoga DVD changed everything & gave her the confidence to face her inner demons.
Katie Brown is a yoga teacher based in Morzine, France. Check her out at Katie’s Yoga Space.
After reading Katies story, it's safe to say she didn't have much luck with her body. Katie spent a lot of time in hospitals over the years with malaria, appendicitis, and various dislocations due to having hyper mobile shoulders, hips and knees.
She even broke her back in 2009, so any job with long periods of sitting meant she had to wear a malleable corset to hold her back in position.
She tells Cooler Lifestyle "Besides my physical problems, I also succumbed to depression and was on medication for three years to help me with the daily aspects of life."
After a friend lent her a yoga DVD, she was hooked. " I began practicing every day, taking on various Instagram challenges and following every YouTube video I could. "
"Yoga has changed everything for me. I wish I could articulate it better! The synchronicity of breath to movement doesn’t allow my brain to wander. it reminds me to live in the moment. To just focus on what I have, not what has been and not what’s to come.
It re-taught me to appreciate life, I’m such a happy person now!"
You can read the full story here
How will yoga change your life?
Whilst these stories may be at the greater end of the scale in terms of impact, they all show the true power of Yoga.
The important thing to take out of each is not the end result but the courage each one showed in trying something new.
I can't tell you how or if yoga will impact or change your life, I don't know if you will see the impact after 2 weeks or 6 months.
But I can tell you that you will never see what it can do for you if you don't at least try.
If your friend asks you to go, just say yes.
If you get motivation after reading these stories run with it and book into the next class you can.
If you have seen any positive changes in your life please leave a comment on this blog!