Yoga, physical exercise, and meditation, all these can be transformative healing outlets for dealing with difficult times. When life inevitably throws you a curveball, it’s important to have tools at your disposal to cope and navigate the turbulence to stability and positivity. TSE ambassador and yoga instructor Phoebe Georgiou shares the story of how she found yoga, and used the practice as a tool for good during dark personal times.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN YOGA?
I began my yoga journey 6 years ago. However I only started to tap into the real meaning of yoga 3 years ago. In 2017, I was involved in an acid attack incident, which put my life on hold for a good year. Unable to do any physical movement whilst in bandages, in between visits to the hospital, therapy sessions and court proceedings. These months were filled with healing from the physical aspect of the injury whilst getting justice. Once I was given the go ahead to start light physical exercise. I took myself straight back into the yoga studio. However this time rather than going full speed ahead into a hot dynamic vinyasa class (which I was not allowed to attend anyway as my skin was too sensitive for the heat), I attended a class called ‘Yoga Gently’. In this class you tapped into, I'd say the real meaning of yoga, which is being at peace with the mind & body.
HOW DID THE PRACTICE HELP YOU COPE WITH WHAT YOU WERE GOING THROUGH?
At the time I was dealing with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), attending my yoga practice helped my mind be at peace for that one hour of each day. I loved the feeling of serenity so much I practiced nearly every day. It was my escape to the trauma and anxiety the incident had put me through.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RITUALS YOU DO TO STAY POSITIVE WHEN YOU’RE DOWN?
Yes! One of my rituals is music. I really believe music is such a BIG healer. Playing your favourite music and dancing around your room like no one is watching, can enhance your mood by a mile. I also love working out and getting sweaty when I’m feeling down, releasing endorphins is also so important to boost your mood to create positive change. Somedays, your body and mind might not have the energy for either of the above, so reminding yourself that it is okay not to feel okay, giving yourself time, being kind to yourself and if eating your favourite treats and watching a comedy in bed feels good, then DO IT! :) (however not for days on end). Generally I am a very proactive person, and movement (yoga, working out, dancing) is what makes me feel most alive and powerful. Lastly, positive affirmations, removing any negative dialogue you have with yourself.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE IT’S WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO FULL TIME?
This realisation happened at the end of last year, I reached a stage in my life where I questioned what is my dharma (purpose in life)? Completely taking the money aspect out of this, as I believe money will come if you have found your dharma in life. I now truly believe my dharma is helping people heal their lives, gain confidence and create peace within themselves, through attending my class. I like to think of my classes, as an experience, a transformation not just a yoga class.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE YOGA POSE?
Chakrasana - wheel pose. This asana is a deep backbend, opening your anahata chakra (heart), I think it is important to activate this chakra. I believe having love and compassion with yourself and others is an amazing tool to practice, and if this seems difficult at times, then one should incorporate more heart opening sequences.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE GOING THROUGH A TOUGH TIME?
Be gentle, be kind and be patient with yourself. Do what feels good for you, not for anyone else. Practice self-love. Also to read into the philosophy of yoga, as the practice runs much deeper than a backbend (the asana limb out of the eight limbs of yoga), yoga is a way of life and studying into the philosophy can help you shift your ways of being to lead to a happier life.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR PAST SELF?
The advice I would have given myself is, to trust your journey, your twenties is all about discovering yourself, digging deep and growing with every experience. To accept what I cannot change and find the opportunity out of things life may throw at you.