Hi There, I'm Kayla
I work with people who are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
I know what it's like to spend all day in bed, barely able to get up to go to the bathroom.
I know what it's like to have your friends, family, and even doctors have no idea what you're going through.
I know what it's like to have people say, 'but you don't look sick' when, just hours before, you were sitting on the shower floor crying from pain.
I know what it's like to be together with your illness for the long haul. But that doesn't mean you can't live a full and meaningful life.
I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) when I was 12 years old. Nobody knew how to help me.
I was too embarrassed to tell many friends (I was supposed to be young and healthy), but those I did tell either didn’t understand what it meant to be this sick or thought it was ‘all in my head’. I used to swim competitively and play a lot of sports and was devasted when I had to give these things up due to my illness.
As I got older, and my illness wasn’t going away, I had dreams to travel the world and start my own business. But as I got into my 20's a fear welled up in me that I'd never be able to even try to achieve those dreams.
It's now been 7 years since that lowest moment. The moment when I didn't think I'd be able to graduate university, hold a normal job, and definitely didn't think I'd be able to travel. But in the past 7 years, I've done all of those things, and more.
I've traveled to over 40 countries, run 3 triathlons, and started 2 businesses.
Now I'm on a mission to help other people living with chronic illnesses get the most out of life. And the two most important things that helped me get to this point, were yoga and meditation.
I found Yoga 10 years ago when I was running short on options. I had been passed around from doctor to doctor, and nobody knew how to help me. One day I was browsing through a bookshop and saw a yoga DVD. Curious to try the new 'fad' and eager to get back to my athletic self I picked it up. It was the best $15.99 I have ever spent. I found the sequences challenging, but it didn't set me back the way other forms of exercise did. I began searching out Yoga and Mindfulness courses specifically geared to those living with illness, and found that there were not very many.
I decided to study as a yoga teacher, and I now run yoga courses and workshops for people living with chronic illnesses.
Yoga and meditation completely changed my mindset and the relationship I had with my body. This was the single most important factor in my recovery (though I also made diet, lifestyle, and other changes which you can read more about on my blog). Learning to show kindness to my illness and my body allowed me to work with myself, rather than against myself. This major shift allowed me to make the right decisions to move forward with my life and my health. I no longer see illness as something that needs to be fought- but rather as something that can be learned from and lived well with.
I was sick for almost 10 years. I tried pretty much everything to get better, and eventually found my way to health through mindful movement. The more I've been able to explore the world, the more I've realized how important it is to help others living with chronic illness. I believe if you have your health it opens up so many opportunities- you don’t need much else.
What are my yoga classes like?
My courses will help you to be kind to your body and love and accept yourself for where you are now. They'll help you to reduce stress and learn to fully relax so you can get some much-needed rest for your mind and body. My courses are all about understanding your body and your illness, and I’m here to help wherever I can. All of my classes are backed by research and self-experimentation about which poses, sequences, and breathing exercises are the most effective for people living with CFS, Fibromyalgia, and Lyme Disease.
When I committed to yoga, meditation, and treating myself right, I had the tools I needed to improve my health, and eventually, recover.
What’s my life like now?
In the last 7 years I have traveled to over 40 countries, worked several of my dream jobs, run triathlons in a love/hate sort of way, completed an undergraduate degree, gone camping in the Scottish wilderness, gone swimming in the Mediterranean in November (as a Canadian this seems crazy to me), watched a lot of 30 Rock (laughter is medicine), read classical books without brain fog kicking in, and been able to hang out with friends and family without having to always cancel at the last minute. My life has not gone completely back to normal. I’m more health conscious than my other friends. I know I need to really think about what I’m putting in my body and where I’m putting my energy. My priorities in life changed, and I now feel like I’m happier, healthier, and more self-aware than I would have been if I had never been sick.
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Yoga and meditation have been helping people manage illnesses for thousands of years. Modern Yoga is based on an ancient system of spiritual beliefs, and religious, moral and ethical codes. Today, the benefits of Yoga as a health management system has spread yoga all over the world. Yoga is a series of poses, linked together by breath and flowing movements. The aim of yoga is to stretch and strengthen the body while bringing peace to the mind. In my yoga courses, I personally adapt each pose and sequence to target the needs of students suffering from chronic illnesses.
What are the Benefits of Yoga:
People who practice Yoga may experience:
- Increased energy
- Improved sleep (both falling asleep and staying asleep)
- Increased strength, flexibility, and balance
- A decrease in daily stress
- Regulation of your immune system
- Building psychological resiliency
Students of yoga (myself included!) have reported help in managing chronic illnesses such as CFS/M.E, Fibromyalgia, Insomnia and more.