My Yoga Journey

 by Susan Branch

For me, Yoga has been a helpful tool in my journey in life and has helped me navigate some of the challenges I have faced in my life. I believe my regular practice of Yoga has helped me with the management of my weight, living with cancer and transitioning from long term employment to retirement/working from home in a wellness role with Healing Health and Happiness.

My weightLearning to “eat to live” rather than “live to eat” has been a challenge.  Yoga has taught me to be in tune with my body and know the foods it needs.  Generally, I listen, but of course, chocolate is a definite necessity in any diet – (just not every day).

Cancer – The C word! Scary! Confronting! I was fortunate to meet inspiring patients, nurses and doctors. Shellharbour City Yoga  introduced me to visual meditation and yogic breathing during my radiotherapy treatment. I used the visualizations to keep still under therapy.  It worked!  I kept calm. I had 12 days of treatment 12 days before Christmas some 8 years ago and now all clear. (There are a few stories here). 

Employment Transition – My journey through Yoga has led me to transition from long term employment to being at home and exploring my role in Healing Health and Happiness (HHH). This has been an amazing experience for me and I highly recommend the HHH online course – Healing through Energy.  Reetu (founder of HHH) inspires you to rise to meet your individual challenges, teaches you tools to increase your energy and find your happiness.

The types of Yoga I practice are Hatha Yoga and Dru Yoga.  Dru is new to me whereas Hatha has been my practice for 12 years, which I started after my third son started school. I have attended several yoga retreats in Bali and Australia – an awesome way to extend yoga practice and embrace a day or two away with like-minded people in a different setting – learning from yogis is inspiring.

International Yoga Day (IYD) this weekend reminds me of some special ways I have celebrated this day in the past. I was lucky enough to attend IYD in Dublin, last year, while visiting relatives. The President’s wife (Sabina Higgins) introduced the event and described herself as a ‘humanist’ which I found very grounding. The year before, I visited India whilst attending a friend’s wedding and just happened to arrive the day before IYD and attended an event with my son, Justin. I have also attended IYD at Bondi in Sydney with yoga friends where we attended a laughing yoga class which was infectious. 

To celebrate this year’s IYD, I am currently attending an online Yoga Day Festival with a 7-day yoga challenge https://www.yogadayfestival.com.au/ which I am loving and learning about Kirtan Meditation.

Before I started a regular practice of Yoga, my moods were inconsistent, I was overweight, had back and feet pain and looked for external validation. 

With yoga in my life, I am calmer, less reactive, my weight is controlled, I enjoy eating healthy foods and am relatively pain-free.  I have so much energy and feel 10 years younger at least than I actually am.  

I am more aware of my stresses and am able to restore my focus to the present moment through breathing exercises, yoga classes and meditation.  Being connected to like-minded people has given me a support and social group which I truly value. I seem to attract more positive people into my life and feel that I positively affect the ones close to me as well as those I meet along life’s journey.

Managing myself through meditation, yoga and exploring creative ways of learning have helped to keep me focused and centered.

Healing has happened, health is improved and I am definitely a HAPPIER person with more confidence and energy.  I highly recommend integrating the practice of Yoga into your lifestyle. The benefits are immense.