I grew up in a caring family but, nonetheless, exposed to excess from a young age. Over consumption of food and alcohol were part of my daily life; exercise and healthy habits were as foreign as discussing spirituality over the dinner table. Mental health was not even in our family’s radar. So, I grew up convinced that I was destined to suffer the same maladies as almost the rest of my family: addiction, obesity, pain, heart disease, diabetes and of course… died young as all my siblings proofed later in life!
I married my husband Luis Victoria at age 20, my boyfriend of five years and an exceptional human being with a sense of curiosity parallel to mine. At age 35, I followed his steps into mysticism and spirituality and with that came the realization that maybe I should take a shot at becoming “victorious” over my pre-arranged destiny of poor health and pain. I started diving deeper into mysticism and philosophy, I tried all available diets, I was exercising, and even got into Crossfit.
Upon returning from Europe, a trip celebrating my 50th birthday, my Crossfit trainer closed his business, and I was compelled to stepped into a yoga studio that “just opened” at walking distance from my house. It was “love at first sight”, yoga was what I was looking for: “the promised of union”.
After practicing yoga for two years, with zero body awareness I should add, only imitating shapes and forcing my body, I decided to take a 200-hour yoga teacher certification to “deepen my practice” as the flyer promised. Nothing happened. It was at the end of my 300-hour yoga training, a year later, when my Anusara teacher awarded me with a one-on-one session that I learned for the first time in my life, that as a walked my legs were disconnected from my body; probably a by-product of the shame I felt around my body and my legs, as I later learned. That’s how “unaware of the needs of my body” I was. That day my journey into anatomy and self-awareness began and that event also brought a memory from my first time leading a community yoga class after the 200-hour training. A student that came to the studio that day, walking with a cane and a recent breast cancer surgery, was refused entry into class by a season teacher. The front desk sent her to my community class, adding more stress on top of the natural stress of leading your first yoga class because… I had no idea how to support and cared for that body in need!
In those days, my yoga practice of choice was Ashtanga, a very physically demanding style while at the same time leading yoga group-classes at two studios in Miami. For unknown reasons to me, I always ended up with all the “broken bodies” in my classes, the students that were in pain, with compromised mobility, with anxiety, and the ones other teachers deemed unfit for their classes. Now in hindsight, I think it was my calling to care for others that was yelling at me…
One day during my final resting pose after 2 hours of Ashtanga practice, a question came to my mind… If yoga is supposed to be healing, why am I feeling depleted and in pain all the time? Something was not fitting in with my enquiring engineering mind. I was starting to feel disingenuous; I was not restoring wellness neither to myself nor to my students. Yoga was making me “feel” better, but my body, my mind and my emotions were still three separate entities. My emotions were telling me “yoga makes me feel good”, my mind was telling me “and the more you practice, the better you will be”; all the while my body was “screaming at me in pain”. Something was missing. The promise of “yoga as union” was becoming more of an illusion than a reality. I am practicing yoga to heal, but yoga is wrecking my body. Why? That day I googled a few concepts and Yoga Therapy came across!
My 20+ years studying mysticism under the Rosicrucian Order was the platform for diving deeper into yoga philosophy and psychology. My training as an Electronic Engineer has facilitated my passion for learning and facilitaring movement and the human body; and my 40+ years in video production have come in handy making my yoga workshops and trainings an engaging practical experience for my mentees. My 1000+ hours of Yoga Therapy certification were achieved with specialized training in a wide range of conditions, with emphasis in mental health because, let’s be honest! We all have some level of anxiety, depression, and trauma, impactful conditions in our lives, let alone in the face of a chronic condition.