The Be Free Yoga Project was born from my passion of wanting to help people.
I spent most of my teenage years dealing with what I now know is depression, though thinking at the time that everyone must feel this way and this is totally normal. This year my depression resurfaced, again thinking that everyone must feel this way in times of stress, this must be normal.
After realizing I was in over my head and I was past the point of helping myself I sought out help. I landed in the living room of one of the most inspiring and influential people I have met to date, my life coach Maren. After a few sessions, and a particularly rough couple months I opened up about how I was feeling, expecting Maren to tell me thats normal, everyone feels that way. But she didn't, she confirmed what I had been fearing, and suspecting for some time, that I am going through depression.
The few weeks after that was a roller coaster ride of ok I got this, and shame, fear, embarrassment, and feeling sorry for myself. With encouragement from Brene Brown's book Rising Strong, I decided reluctantly to gather up my courage and do something positive with this, I have a passion for helping people and this was another way I could do that.
100% of Canadians will either directly or indirectly experience mental illness. 1/5 Canadians will personally experience mental illness at some point in their life, and 1/10 will specifically experience depression. That is a lot of people, and yet I know I was embarrassed to tell my loved ones, I felt shame, and was worried I would be thought of as a fraud. How can I be a yoga teacher if I have depression? If I feel this way, I am certainly not the only one who does.
Be Free Yoga Project is my way to help stop the stigma around mental illness, by creating a platform to talk about it, to own your story, and write your own ending. To help loved ones of someone dealing with mental illness know there is support for them too. My goal is to work closely with existing groups and charities in the area that support Mental Health, and I will provide yoga and meditation teachers to these groups. To give them another amazing tool to live a healthy and joy filled life.
Yoga and meditation aren't an over night cure, but they are a great practice to assist in the treatment of mental illness. I know for me my mediation and yoga practice is one of the main things that helps to keep me going. It helps me to connect to myself, and gives me relief on the really bad days, it gives me hope and helps me trust.
I want to help others know they are not alone on this journey and it doesn't need to be a shameful path to walk, that getting help takes courage, it is not a sign of weakness, and that we can all own our story and we get to write our own brave endings.
You can follow the journey of the Be Free Yoga project on Instagram @befreeyogaproject #befreeyogaproject and if you want to know more or be involved you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Manifesto of the Brave and Broken Hearted - by Brene Brown
There is no greater threat to the critics, and cynic and fearmongers. Then those of us who are willing to fall, because we have learned how to rise.
With skinned knees and bruised hearts; We choose owning our stories of struggle, over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.
When we deny our stories they define us. When we run from struggle we are never free. So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.
We will not be characters in our stories. Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.
We are the authors of our lives. We write our own daring endings.
We craft love from heartbreak, compassion from shame, grace from disappointment, courage from failure.
Showing up is our power. Story is our way home. Truth is our song. We are the brave and broken hearted. We are rising strong.