I have been so blessed and grateful for the opportunity to be the lead instructor for a 200 hours yoga teacher training and to create Choose2be yoga school. It has been amazing to spend 7 weekends with these 8 beautiful women, like Kendra, and also incredible to have 11 different instructors to come lead part of the training. I am hoping that this will be the first of many yoga teacher training sessions and I am already starting to plan and dream of the next one ! It has been a really rich and amazing journey in so many different ways.
Part of the participants homework was to write an essay on the topic of their choice and they were aware that I would be posting it on my website. We also did an exercise in the first weekend to create a life affirmation and core desire feeling , I also invited them to share it with us. I am so humbled and touched that I got to support these amazing beings on part of their journey and I am looking forward to witness how life unfolds for them.
Kendra GRACE Minty
Life affirmation: “I am the universe, who’s kind nature inspires people to love one another.”
Core Desire Feeling: Empowering, Divine, and Majestic
A Spiritual Journey through Western and Eastern Medicine
Western medicine relies heavily on prescription drugs for providing preventives and cures for any health condition. As a society we have grown accustom to fully accepting and trusting this type of care. There is a lack of education, funding and options for alternatives. At twenty-eight years old I have experienced multiple adverse side effects from taking prescription drugs. With a near death experience, these drugs have tested my mind, body, and spirit. From a place of nightmares I have entered enlightening and awakening states. But before I get to that I will begin this recollection with my pre-prescription drug period, at the young age of sixteen.
On top of a large hill covered in blooming wildflowers overlooking an expansive range of forests, with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, I found my place of solitude for spiritual exploration. Located in front of my family home, I would run up the hiking trail to this scared spot and engage in my own free flow of yoga and meditation. I never received any training and this was a time before the explosion of social media so the asana and mediation techniques truly came from within. I remember entering into such deep meditation that I was able to float above my body and be able to observe this sacred location from a bird’s-eye view. I remember engaging in this intuitive yoga practice up until the age of seventeen, when I fell into a serious relationship. My focus for ten years was on this relationship and I lost my practice. My spiritual journey took a turn from this yoga practice to an unexpected form of enlightenment through a prescription drug reaction.
I was nineteen years old packing for a backpacking trip to Nicaragua. I was going to meet my cousin then spend the rest of the trip on my own, which was a big deal at the time because I had spent the last two years in a serious relationship. I visited a travel clinic to prepare for the trip, I received medication for any cases of diarrhea and the anti malaria drug, Novo-Chloroquine. I was required to take the anti malaria drug once a week, two weeks before the trip. I had left my packing to the last minute, so I quickly glanced over the prescription pill directions (which happened to be the ones for diarrhea) and ended up taking two pills for two weeks. I started to notice myself go crazy the night after New Years Eve, one day before my flight.
After staying up late at a New Years Eve party drinking wine with friends I found myself unable to sleep. I thought it could have just been from drinking and decided I could live with just one sleepless night. The next night when I closed my eyes to sleep I began noticing flashing lights. After an hour or two of trying to sleep through the lights flashing I started to hear voices… telling me, “you have been reborn.” This is when I felt a sense of panic and woke up parents. At first we wondered if someone could have slipped a drug in my drink at the New Years Party because there was some recreational drug use, but it was highly unlikely since they were all close friends. My mom then asked me what I was taking for my trip. I showed her my prescriptions and when she found out I mixed up my dose she called her sister who is a doctor. My aunt knew about the psychotic side effects from anti malaria pills and said I had overdosed and needed to go to the hospital.
I remember the sinking moment at the hospital when the doctor told me it would take a month for the drug to leave my system. Which meant instead of a trip I would be going through a month of flashing lights when I closed my eyes, hearing voices, and the possibility of things getting worst. I was given a strong sedative to help me sleep and sent home. At the time I was living with my boyfriend, but with the state I was in I moved back into my parents home. That night the sedative did not work. I went through multiple prescriptions for sleep that included anti psychotics. After days of no sleep and being on a variety of drugs I entered into a zombie state. I began hallucinating shadow figures and hearing loud crashing noises. My weight dropped to ninety pounds very rapidly and I lost the ability to drive or wright. I began noticing my senses heightening, my vision sharpened and I could hear sounds coming from the other side of the house.
With the inability to sleep and my brain function heightened I became a prisoner trapped in my own mind. This is where my spiritual journey truly began.
I spent a lot of my life being very critical of myself and developed a condition later diagnosed as body dysmorphia disorder. I had conditioned myself to hate everything about my body and mind. Trapped in my thoughts for days without sleep I began digging deep into my past. I began going back to my childhood to nurture the little girl I had grown to hate. I held her hand and went into every memory of doing harm to others and forgave myself. I then went to every memory of harming myself, even with a thought and forgave myself. I let go of a thick build up of layers that weighed me down mentally and began to feel free. I went through a total of eight days on sedatives with no sleep to enter into a state of enlightenment.
On the eighth day of no sleep and going through the process of letting go of a lifetime of negative thinking I entered a blissful state. In the middle of the night I went into the bathroom to sit in front of the mirror. When I looked into the mirror I saw a beautiful angelic figure, my whole body was glowing and I felt a burst of joy run through my body. Then I could hear a voice from above say, “you have done what you needed to do in this life and are ready to move on.” I had this overwhelming urge to completely let go and enter a new stage of life. Then the voice made it clear to me that if I agreed to pass on I would be leaving my parents with my body. It was incredibly hard not to fall into the state of pure bliss, but I could not leave my body behind in that state knowing the harm I would do to my loved ones. At that moment I woke up my parents and told them I needed to go to the hospital.
We quickly rushed to the hospital, I remember seeing myself turn blue as I glanced at my reflection in the side mirror, and I felt myself fading. When we arrived at the hospital, they assumed from my appearance and mental state that I was on Crystal Meth. My heart started shutting down and they needed to resuscitate me. I remember seeing my parents shocked faces and fought to stay alive. I had made the choice to stay and was able to stabilize and go home that day. I finally got some sleep and slowly began noticing the side effects beginning to subside. After a month I finally began to function normally again, however I experienced long-term effects of sleep anxiety.
This drug reaction had a profound effect on my life. As I returned to my normal state, I began to build those layers of insecurities up again. Over the next nine years I experienced many other adverse side effects to prescription drugs such as anti-anxiety medication, sleeping pills, and an antibiotic. This year my anti-anxiety pills sent me into another weeklong period of insomnia where I worked at letting go of all my negative thoughts. When I was able to fully quiet my monkey brain I felt myself be fully present in the seat of consciousness. I then experienced myself as pure light and was able to interact with someone close to me that had recently passed away. My body, mind, and spirit were in complete harmony and I could feel my chakras activating, starting from my sacral to my throat chakra. I went to a psychic who thought I might be experiencing a Kundalini Awakening, but without a strong yoga practice I was not mentally and physically prepared for it. Once I realized my anti-anxiety pills were putting me into this heightened state I went off them in order to get sleep. Slowly I returned to my normal state and felt my old negative thought patterns return. These drug reactions led to the understanding of my spiritual potential but I knew I needed to find a natural approach to get there.
I decided to take this yoga teacher training as a way to re-root the strong yoga practice I had nurtured as a teenager. The knowledge and practice I have gained from this course has helped me to reconnect my mind, body, and spirit. Unfortunately during the course I experienced another adverse reaction to antibiotics that caused sleep anxiety, however, I was able to seek a more Eastern approach to care that included acupuncture, herbal medicine, yoga, and meditation. I believe I started my spiritual journey at a young age, but allowed the ego to consume my spirituality. Adverse drug reactions have pushed me into deep spiritual states that haven’t been able to survive.
To truly be in an everlasting state of bliss one must live yoga by practicing asanas, meditation, and have unconditional love for oneself.
Make sure you check everyone YTT essay:
- Stress in our life and how Yoga can support us, by Georgina.
- The importance of daily practice for teachers, by Matthew.
- The healing power of sound, by Melissa.
- The third eye chakra, by Aria.
- Indigenize your practice, by Ivy.
- To mirror or not to mirror: evoking the mind/muscle connection in yoga by Hilary
- How I let yoga and spirituality into my life, by Jana.
- The ebb and flow of conscious breath in our daily life, especially with yoga practice, by Deborah.
- Savasana also called Corpse pose, by Deborah.
- Pause. Definition: a temporary stop, rest or hesitation, by Samantha.
- The imprint of this life and past life is finally free from pain, by Yi-Shan.
- Getting Grounded, by Robin.
- Take a Break…meditate, by Danica.
- A spiritual journey through Western and Easter Medicine, by Kendra.
- Yoga far Eastern connection, by Chitose.
- Grief to empowerment: a personal yogic journey, by Cate.
- Mind over matter for the modern yoga, by Genevieve.
- Doing a Yoga Teacher Training at 19 years old, by Courtney.