I started practicing yoga 15 years ago . When I started I was not fit. I was not flexible. I was not strong. I had only known I had HIV for a few years, and I felt confused and unsure about the future. HIV treatment had been around for a few years, but there still was a lot of uncertainty about how long I would have lived, or the nasty side effects of the medications I was taking.Iit was a very unsettling feeling to know that HIV,, ran through my body, invisible, but potentially fatal.
Somehow for me the yoga practice meant an opportunity to make friend with my body again, and through the body and the breath, I became more connected to an invisible part of me, my Self. Through Yoga I gained trust that my body was not just a mere source of disease. Yoga changed me: made me more compassionate, towards myself and others. I am more patient , and at peace. (most times!). I have discovered that I can do things I would have never expected to do, not even in my 20’s. Daily yoga practice and the unwavering support and love of my teachers made it possible. Also yoga inspired a determination to be on the mat almost everyday, before work. I never thought I could be so disciplined.
So I am truly excited, and maybe a bit nervous, that after completing a teacher training course I will be offering a series of classes to people living with HIV at the organisation where I work: Positively UK. I think for some people living with HIV going to a yoga class can be daunting,, so doing it in a space where they feel safe and that they know is supporting, makes it more accessible. Moreover Yoga is expensive and many people living with HIV live in poverty and cannot spend £10, or more, for a yoga class. .
To be sincere I feel a bit nervous.The old self-doubt comes back, How could I possibly be capable of teaching something to somebody? However, I believe that creating a safe space where people can slowly move and breath, and possibly find a little relaxation and peace is very valuable, and that, hopefully I can do that. My many years of dedicated daily practice will support me in doing it with honesty and integrity, so that people can develop their own learning.