Kim's Inspiring Story - How PTSD Led Me To Yoga
My journey that eventually led to me becoming a Lushtums Yoga Instructor, began when I was just in my early 20’s. I was living in London and after a series of attacks in which a knife was held to my throat, I was punched in the face and almost forced into the trunk of a car, I developed terrible anxiety- possibly brought on by post traumatic stress (PTSD). I was afraid to leave the house I thought everyone was going to hurt me. Two things got me through it; cognitive behavioural therapy, and yoga. Doing yoga helped me with the stress I was carrying in my body and over time this helped me mentally and emotional recover. It was my only real escape, the only time apart from when I was sleeping that I felt calm and at ease. I remember thinking how extraordinary that anything that wasn't medication could be so effective. I have practiced yoga ever since and found I need to increase my practice in times of stress and when I felt unbalanced. Like many people, I've found that yoga sorts me out! And since training I now know that key practices such as Alternate Nostril Breathing and chanting really help calm the nervous system - this has a powerful effect on helping us feel more grounded, at ease and even helping long-term with PTSD and postnatal depression.
Of course, I loved practicing a lot during both of my pregnancies! And thank god for that. Not only did the yoga give me some time to myself, time to bond with my babies, it gave me time to stretch my tired, achy body and a sense of belonging. It provided a safe place where I could just be me and complain, weep (either with joy or frustration depending on the day!), laugh, and above all, relax. That was where I met Clare Maddalena, my pregnancy yoga teacher, who later became my Lushtums mentor and trained me as pregnancy yoga teacher too.
It was after the birth of my first daughter, that I developed a strong desire to support women during pregnancy, birth and beyond. Reflecting back on my first pregnancy I realised I never felt very safe or supported in a way that would have felt helpful to me at the time. My birth was complicated, mainly due to the fact that my daughter was in an awkward position when my labour began. What made it difficult to me however, was that I didn't feel I had the proper support myself and I felt unsafe. The reason for this is probably because I didn't have that continuity of care I yearned for. So I trained to become a doula to give women the emotional support, as well as that continuity of care, I felt I lacked in my pregnancy and birth.
I have since attended 12 incredible births as a doula and feel very honoured and privileged to have supported the parents through their birth preparation and been present when their baby entered the world. It is such a sacred moment, and I have learned that the moment is beautiful and sacred however the baby is born, naturally, in water, or via caesarean. I have witnessed such strength and beauty in all the labouring mothers, even if they are not aware of it themselves, which is pure and tremendous and inspires my work in this area even more!
For my second birth I had both a doula and my husband present and ended up giving birth on my yoga mat in my living room! The experience could not have been more different, I will never forget it. The support I had from both my doula and my husband was invaluable and healing.
Living in Kemptown, Brighton with my family, I was lucky enough to teach LushTums pregnancy yoga classes at the beautiful Yellowave clubhouse situated right on the beach. Sadly, I recently had to end my sessions at the clubhouse and focus on my family for a period of time but I will never forget my time there or the amazing women I had the pleasure of teaching as the waves washed in and out behind us.
Luckily my daughter Mischa often practices yoga with me in the mornings. She keeps me on my toes and enables me to practice my teaching skills. She is like my little guru. My youngest is still little, so she just climbs on my back and kisses me, which is sweet, but a little distracting endnote that conducive to a lovely relaxing practice!!
I am very happy and excited to announce that I am getting back on the mat and looking forward to starting some new classes! Me and my beautiful girls are moving towards Hove/Portslade within the next few months and so I have found a studio closer to our new home. The first class begins on the 11th of February, Thursday evenings, 7.30pm, at the Dance Station in Portslade. (http://thedancestation.co.uk).
The studio offers a beautiful space, large, airy and clean. Whenever I look at a studio as a potential to hire for pregnancy yoga, I imagine if I would have enjoyed practicing there when I was pregnant. This studio definitely ticks all the boxes. Please come down and have a look! It really is a beautiful space and I am so looking forward to getting back on the mat and doing what I love. Being pregnant and giving birth is a journey full of ups and downs. Women need to feel able to express their feelings, share their experience, and most importantly feel safe and supported. Through the classes I provide we create a nourishing, safe space to nurture women on their journey. If you are on that journey and live near Hove or Portslade, then get in touch or pop along and give it a try! I look forward to welcoming you to class.
If you would like more info about pregnancy yoga classes in Portslade or are interested in hiring a doula, please get in touch: 07861926441 / firstname.lastname@example.org /
Or please visit our website to reserve your space in class - click Sign Up via our timetable.
Hope to see you soon!