My Yoga Journey began………………….
Over 20 years ago in my mid-thirties! I was a busy mum, I had an 8-year-old son and a part time job in Melbourne. My day began by dropping my son off at a friends house at around 7:30 am, (she very kindly took him to school with her children at 8:30), then I would catch the train and tube to the city to start work at 8:30. I would finish at 1:30 pm, walk back to the station, get the train home, pick up my son from school, take him to various after school activities, then home to do dinner, bed and then do it all again the next day. Nothing out of the ordinary though, it was (and is) the same for most working mums.
One day I called into my local branch of the bank and they offered me a position, saying if I could get a transfer from (the head office) where I worked in Melbourne, the job was mine. I was ecstatic, no more trains, just five a minute drive from home, I couldn’t wait to speak to my boss, I often won monthly awards for various performance/sales etc, he would be sure to let me move, wouldn’t he?….how wrong I was!…he flatly refused, he said, ‘you are one of my top performing staff members and I need you to stay here!…….I was gutted!. I couldn’t believe I was being penalized for being good at my job (and I did actually say this to him, but he wouldn’t budge).
Anyway, I worked the morning like always, feeling very cheesed off, but accepting the situation, as that’s all I could do. The next morning, I dropped my son off as usual and waited at the station chatting to a friend (I was probably moaning about my boss to her!). The train pulled in and I got on like I had done hundreds of times before, the doors closed….but today was different! as suddenly…..my heart started racing and thumping so hard in my chest, I could hardly breathe, it was so scary, I didn’t know what was happening to me. I was sweating profusely and desperate to get off the train….I had never felt anything like it…..it was so horrible….I later discovered it was a PANIC ATTACK. With my friend talking to me and trying to calm me down, I managed to get through the journey and into work, although all the time I was terrified of the fact that I knew I had to get back on the train to get home!………
When I arrived at the office I felt so unwell; I couldn’t stay and left almost immediately and somehow, incredibly, I managed the journey home. I just kept pacing up and down the train and drinking water, I couldn’t sit still. I literally went straight to my doctor who took one look at me and did an ECG there and then, he said my heart was racing like I had just been out running, he also did various other tests and it turned out the I was extremely anaemic!…with all my rushing around as a busy mum, the one thing I hadn’t been aware of was that my iron levels were extremely low (the normal haemoglobin range is generally defined as 13.5 to 17.5 grams) mine was less than 5. The panic attack was brought on by the hyperventilation which was due to my underlying deficiency…….
Well, I have never been a fan of taking medication, but the doctor prescribed Xanax, which I have since discovered is a sedative with hypnotic, skeletal muscle relaxant and anticonvulsant properties!…….when I got home, I took one (and only one!) as they made me feel awful, drowsy, I had slurred speech……it was horrible, I didn’t feel like me and I hated the feeling that I wasn’t in control. I went back to the doctor and he said ‘that’s really all there is that will help’…so I said ‘I will try alternative therapies, aromatherapy, yoga, relaxation etc!’….he was quite dismissive and said ‘well if you believe in all that!’…hence I changed my doctor.
By this time I had quit my job…I had to concentrate on getting myself well, I couldn’t function properly as I was. I had a wonderful friend who used to walk (and talk with me every day) which was so helpful…but the thing that helped me most was the Yoga.
I went along to a class at my local community centre and enrolled for a term, and I just loved it. I remember actually almost nodding off to sleep during the relaxation, it was wonderful, I used to drive home as though I was floating on air (who needs drugs) when you can get a natural high like that!…and the rest, as they say, is history.
Funnily enough, I did actually get that job in my home town, they called me up 3 months later and asked if I was still interested (and by which time I was well on the road to recovery) without the assistance of any medication (apart from liquid iron of course) to get my levels back to where they should be.
When we returned to England in 2002, I carried on my practice and then did my Yoga teacher training. Yoga has been a massive part of my life ever since I cannot start my day without doing my practice and even take my mat on holiday with me. I am living proof of the amazing effect Yoga has on the mind and body, and I would love to share my Yoga with you so that you too can experience the endless benefits it gives.
Forgive me for rambling, but my story is so relevant to why Yoga came into my life, and I will be forever grateful for the horrible experience of the panic attacks, as if I hadn’t had them, I may never have discovered one of the most important things in my life.……after reading my (very long!!!) story, there may be something in it that strikes a chord with you, something similar that you may have experienced, I know for sure that my story is far from unique, but what is unique is the way I climbed out of it without using medication, which would only have treated the symptoms and not the cause.
It’s never too late to take care of your body, mind, and spirit. One of the things I love most about Yoga is that YOU are in control the whole time, only doing what feels good and right for your body and mind.
It really is My Yoga is for me, and your Yoga is for you and I truly hope that my story has inspired you to give it a try; I promise you won’t regret it!
I am now 59 and Yoga is a very important part of my life, I practice every day, and I look and feel so much better for it. My passion for Yoga continued to increase so I went on to qualify as a Hatha Yoga Teacher with BSY and started Yoga-etc. I want to share with you what I have learned to help you feel the many wonderful physical, mental and spiritual benefits of Yoga. I am fully insured and a member of the Independent Yoga Network (IYN).
-Tina Olliver BSYA
Yoga-etc classes offer Gentle Yoga for all abilities, emphasis on Relaxation & Stress relief. Energize, Tone & Calm. Yoga can alleviate many health problems including Anxiety, Insomnia, Back pain, Fatigue, Headaches & Indigestion.