I grew up in a nurturing home with parents who loved and supported me. My fondest childhood memories are of weekend adventures to Sidney Spit, building forts in the backyard, climbing trees, and spending time on Gabriola Island with family. As a young child, I was happy and carefree.
High-school however was tough for me. I developed an eating disorder in grade 11 after a breakup with a boyfriend. I was devastated and couldn’t cope. I refused to feel what I was feeing and instead looked towards something I could control: food. I struggled with anorexia for nearly 10 years and was a patient at the eating disorder clinic in Victoria, BC. I worked with a nutritionist, counsellor, and cognitive behaviour therapist for two of these years.
In 2006 I moved to Vancouver to study early childhood which is when my real healing journey began. I was still working with a counsellor but started practising yoga. I was resistant to it at first but after attending my first yoga class I could feel that something was different. I connected to myself and to my body for the first time in a long time. I saw beauty, I saw pain and suffering, and I saw humanness when I looked in the mirror. I didn’t know exactly what was different but I kept going back for more.
Slowly the layers started to peel back and underneath it all was someone who wanted to be loved and embraced. The more I practised, the more I started to apply a little more kindness, a little more gentleness, and allowed myself to feel. My yoga practise became my life line and the yoga studio my sanctuary. It was a sacred space and the more I went, the more I started to tend to myself, to re-love myself and to accept myself as being enough.
As I began to come through this journey and stand on solid ground, I yearned to not only love myself but to also nourish myself in ways I never had before. I took a newfound interest in fueling my body with whole foods and in nourishing my soul. This deep desire to nourish and be nourished is what planted the seed for my work with young children and for this I am grateful.
When I started Storyoga in 2009 I was committed to “embracing body, mind, and spirit, through children’s literature and yoga.” I poured a tremendous amount of love into my work and eight years later continue to. While the company itself has shifted and changed over the years, this deeply rooted desire to nourish children’s minds, bodies, and souls has not. If anything, the flame has grown brighter.
The more I take the time to reflect upon why I do the work I do, and why I pour so much love into the lives of young children, the more I realize it’s connection to that time in my life where I did the exact opposite to myself. Instead of loving and appreciating myself and nourishing myself, I abandoned myself.
The idea of nurturing and nourishing these little people at such a young age and offering them the tools that could potentially change the course of their lives is so crucial to me. These early years are so formative and have the potential to set a solid foundation for future years to come.
It’s not that they will be free from challenges or struggles in life but hopefully they will have the confidence and courage to move through such times with a little more grace and ease. Meditation, breathing, affimations are all just a start, but from what I now know to be true, can certainly have a profound affect.
Had I started practising yoga at a young age, would my struggle have been lessened? This I will never know. I can only attest to how yoga has affected my life now and to the feedback I have received from parents in terms of how it has made an impact on their children.
My kids have gained so much confidence and resilience from your yoga, meditation and all the approaches you take.
Ryo didn’t spend too much time with you, but he remembers everything you’ve taught him, and he knows how to use those skills in his life. He sometimes reminds me to deep breathe when I am overwhelmed or upset.
He sees me meditating in the morning and he says he does that before he goes to bed with his deep breathing and affirmations.
He also tells me that when something hard or pain occurs, he breathes deeply and it goes away.
He understands how lucky we are to have the food on the table, a roof to sleep under, or simply who we are.
Maya listens to our conversations and she seems to get them. My kids are very confident in their own skins. They know they are loved and safe on this planet.
May we all know our worth and remember our true nature as being divinely happy, playful and free.