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" and then have to use all of your remaining energy to restrain yourself from swatting at them.
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, my illness wasn’t going away. But, I had dreams to travel the world and become a writer. A I moved into my 20's, fear welled up in me that I'd never be able to achieve those dreams. In fact, with the stress of trying to get through university with an illness, my symptoms were getting worse.
It's now been 10 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 10 years, I've done all of those things, and more.
I've travelled to over 50 countries, run 3 triathlons, and started 2 businesses. I've written four books, countless essays, articles, and short stories, and am always on the lookout for new projects that are exciting and fulfilling.
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 12 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 (well, aside from that time I got a bottle of Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac on sale). I found the sequences challenging, but it didn't set me back the way other forms of exercise did. That DVD kickstarted my yoga journey. I was able to study yoga and mindfulness at an environmental health clinic and visited pretty much every meditation centre and yoga studio in Halifax, where I was living at the time. Through trial and error, I began to notice which practices made me feel best, and which classes set me back (hint: it's the aerobic type classes you sometimes find in gyms or yoga studios), and developed a personal practice that worked for me.
I decided to study to be 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 (yes, even a juice cleanse), 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 to live the life you want.
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 travelled 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, 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 many of my 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.
My mission is to help people be kind to themselves and their bodies. Yoga is a safe way to move and energize the body for people living with a disability.
My commitment is to meet each student on the mat and in the world, wherever they are. My courses and writings are about being kind to your body, not trying to force you beyond your limits.
My goal is to create a community of health-conscious yogi's who are ready to build unconventional habits to live a better life.
A quick note about affiliate links on this site
I sometimes include affiliate links on this site which means that if I recommend a product to you and you choose to buy it, I'll get a small portion of the sales at no extra cost to you. I only ever recommend products that I have used and found useful, and using affiliate links helps cover some of the costs of running this website!