• Grace Elliott

How Yoga and Therapy Reintroduced Me to Myself

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

Hi there! My name is Grace Elliott, and I’m CMC Therapy’s Yoga Instructor! Here’s the scoop on how I became a Wellness Professional...

To put it simply, I lost myself.

When people ask me how I came to Yoga, I often don’t even know where to start. Is it back in 2013 when I found it to be the only solace for my harsh transition from college into adulthood? Or do I tell them how in 2019 I made a promise to myself to live more fully, and the practice of yoga stood there with open arms for me? Does the beginning of this journey start in 2016, when I found an amazing teacher that showed me how to further appreciate this practice and what it can do for my mental health?

To be honest, it seems like Yoga has been there time and time again to welcome me in different stages of life. All of them grounded in states of transition and growth.

I don’t want to set a false pretense of how when I found Yoga, I was saved. Reading about this from several Instagram yogis is great and all, but it sets a harsh standard for the relationship we build with the practice. After all, most yogis I know have ebbed and flowed with their practice as we all do with life.

The reason I became a Yoga teacher is not a linear story. It’s been a journey of self love, self discovery, and important changes.

At the beginning of this year, as I was once again struggling with depression, I was given the opportunity to partake in an immersive yoga teacher training at Yogi Hari’s Ashram.

Truth be told, I did it for myself.

I did it to realign with a productive routine, to sync body and mind, to quiet the river of thoughts and emotions I had drowned in for quite a couple of months.

I had spent the last few years looking to reconnect with a side of myself I had neglected for a while- the dancer, the artist, the creator, the mover, the doer. I had once filled my time with my passion for movement and choreography, which I expressed through dancing. When I got to college, however, the only outlet for dance and movement was often correlated with Miami’s notorious dance floors and paired with copious amounts of alcohol and at the worst times- even drugs. Day after day, I numbed the pain of mental illness with menial distractions. Avoiding the stark reality of sitting with my thoughts and getting to the bottom of what was really going on.

Luckily, I found therapy- and slowly, with every year, I could begin seeing positive changes unfold.

A major shift in my life occurred when I began a more involved yoga practice in 2016. It was the expressive outlet I had been searching for- a new way to move, breathe and flow. It was then when I truly took the time to explore and question the emptiness I felt inside, and became proactive about making positive changes in my life and habits. I turned away from the ruthless party scene, and turned inward-seeking answers in the stillness.

After completing my 200-hour certification, I realized how impactful this information was, and decided to pursue further training with a 500-hour certification.

It became clear to me that sharing this knowledge was part of my life purpose. I want to help others dive a little deeper, and become more mindful and connected.

When I think of what yoga has done for my life, I can’t help but be humbled by the knowledge it has offered me. We spend most of our lives suppressing the dreadful side of life as much as we suppress our breath.

Barely inhaling, barely feeling, barely living.

The practice of yoga has allowed me to reconnect with my body. It has helped me to recreate the relationship with movement I once nurtured. Most of all, yoga has helped me redefine the relationship I have with my mind.

I understand that life can sometimes feel like you’re a passenger on an emotional rollercoaster you have minimum control over. That’s where yoga can be so instrumental. Integrating sustainable mindful techniques can help you foster a better relationship with yourself, your emotions, and your surroundings.

I teach yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques to clients here at CMC Therapy. After a brief assessment, I work to create a plan based on your particular needs and state of mind. Our minds can affect the way our bodies feel and operate, therefore fostering the connection of mind and body is crucial for achieving overall wellness.

What I recommend the most is for our clients to book back-to-back sessions with myself and one of our therapists. We’ve been fortunate to see positive effects unfold during talk therapy sessions after clients spend some time reconnecting with themselves through our mindfulness sessions.

Meditation is a tool often overlooked and mostly under explained. “Meditation changed my life” is a phrase we have possibly read over a thousand times as we scroll through social media feeds, but what does that even mean?

At first, the process of meditation is simply to mindfully and actively refocus our brain to the present moment. Taking deep breaths. Feeling as the air courses in and out of the lungs, bringing fresh oxygen into the brain and body.

Creating a discipline of meditation practice along with other self-care and wellness methods such as therapy, can help make tangible improvements to your well-being. It can help improve your quality of life, quality of thoughts, and overall life perception. With dedication, time, and practice, you can begin and further your own progress.

When people ask me why I teach yoga, it’s a pretty simple answer. I have personally found so many healing benefits with my own practice, I feel it would be a disservice to those whom I come across not to share all the ways it has helped my life. I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed with the reality of life, and luckily, now I also know what it feels like to actually have a positive relationship with it all.

Truth is, you can’t change what life throws at you, but you can change how you react to it.

Grace Elliott

Breathe deeply, move deliberately.

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