The first few Yoga Buzz scholarship recipients have completed their year of yoga, and we couldn’t be more proud! One of those recipients, Melissa, shares a reflection of her past year of yoga.
A year ago I started my journey as a Yoga Buzz scholarship recipient. When I received the scholarship my zest for life was fleeting, my self confidence was failing, and the smile on my face was most often forced. At times I looked to my partner for help but in return received hatred and anger, was called a monster, or told I was being selfish. I bottled up my emotions and told myself to “suck it up.” I was on a dark path of unhappiness and was searching for a light to guide me. Over the past year I hit rock bottom.
Before receiving the scholarship I had been practicing yoga for a few years but was never very consistent or took classes at a studio. I started my journey at Southtown Yoga. I quickly fell in love with the beautiful space and wonderful teachers. I saw myself becoming physically stronger but my mind was still weak. I was using yoga as a way to escape my issues instead of helping me work through them.
One cold night in December I decided it was time for a change. I packed my bags and moved back to Illinois. I said good bye to the place I called home for years, the relationship I had given my heart to, and the people I knew I would never hear from again. I was confused and scared but I was free. I wasn’t able to attend yoga for a few weeks due to location of my work and new home. I contacted the women of Yoga Buzz hoping there was something we could do so that I could finish out my scholarship. I knew yoga was something my body and soul needed. I couldn’t lose that too.
My scholarship was transferred to Namaste in Kirkwood, just a few blocks from my work. New studio, new teachers, new beginnings, I was ready. Everyone at Namaste was very welcoming. One teacher, Brandi, stuck out to me. Her kindness, compassion, and love for yoga filled the entire room. She was always excited to see each and every student that came to class. I started with a few Restorative classes, just to ease myself back in. I was nervous when I decided to attend my first level II-III Vinyasa class because I wasn’t sure if my body was ready due to taking some time off. I voiced my concern to Brandi before class and her response, whether she knew it or not, was exactly what I needed to hear. She looked at me, put her hand on my shoulder, and told me that she believed in me. She told me that I was strong and I would do great. Someone who had just met me believed in me more than I had in long time. What did she see that I didn’t? How could she be so confident? At that class I set an intention, to ALWAYS believe in myself. That became my intention every class. Whether I could do certain poses or not, I was there, I was practicing, and I believed in myself. After that I found myself not only growing physically, but my spirit started to rise. I found the light I needed to start leading myself away from that dark path. I used what I was learning in yoga to find the focus and confidence to pass my state board test and become a licensed massage therapist in Missouri. I was seeing life in a whole new way.
Although my scholarship with Yoga Buzz is finished, I am not done growing. I am discovering new things about my body and my mind each time step onto the mat and that journey will never end.
Not only am I stronger and healthier than I was a year ago but now I am smiling from the inside out. That is something you wouldn’t have seen me do a year ago.
I can’t thank Yoga Buzz, Southtown, and Namaste enough for gift they have given me.