Grace Bailey
Written by Grace Bailey

Yoga Teacher Training

I graduated from yoga teacher training at Sampoorna, Goa in May 2018. I had spent the month immersed in the daily practices of yoga and philosophy lessons. We were asked to set an intention at the opening and closing ceremonies with the tying of red cords to our wrist. I set both of my intentions to find the courage to teach. I believed that if I did not teach straight away I never would. It was a glorious month of beautifully shared experiences in the raging heat, learning about the wonders of eastern philosophy. We would sit in weekly Satsangs listening to the Rishi tell us about life, and how to manage our emotions and behaviours. It was bliss and this is how I wanted to live and transform my life.

Everything Changed

I returned to a new home that my wonderful husband had moved us into whilst I was away. We went out and celebrated with great food at our favourite local restaurant with friends and I had made an internal vow that I would ensure a daily Ashtanga practice and bring that “yoga bubble” into my everyday life. And then my husband fell. We were taken from the local hospital to a specialist trauma centre and after a few days, he was then transferred into the Neuro ICU where he had the front portion of his skull removed to allow for the swelling of his brain. We were told that he may never move, walk or talk again, and he certainly would never be the man I once knew.

My Yoga Practice

People said to me that my yoga practice must have been so helpful in coping with this horribly traumatic experience. The reality was that I had rejected everything I had been taught. I did not think I should try and see the light, find the peace or the joy. I wanted to feel everything- almost as respect for my husband. I would not do any physical practice of yoga, nor meditation or pranayama. And this new trauma dragged up the old traumas that I had never fully dealt with. I would spend the days in hospital feeling grief for my husband and the life we had planned, and the nights tearing through memories of things I had previously tried to forget.

yoga pose

My husband in fact made a good recovery, and whilst he was in our local Neuro-rehab unit, I started to return to my practice. Just small snippets here and there, searching for that connection I had once felt but lost. I started to explore different types of spiritual practices including Kirtan, creative writing, and women’s groups in Red Tents. I studied practices around the moon cycles and looked into the history of Druidism or “earth religions”. And after 4 months I started to teach. I started with a modified Ashtanga class and built myself up to create my own Vinyasa flows, working with the movement and energy blockages I felt in my body. My red bands naturally broke off showing to me that I had found that courage I once sought, I had fulfilled my intention.

My yoga is an ongoing journey. I had not expected the challenge I might face after qualifying but with it has come strength, perseverance and I allowed myself the time to heal. Yoga was no doubt a great part of that. The teachings I had rejected were still there, I just viewed them differently now. The trauma has released a creativity in me and helped me find softness in my practice, something I had not realised I was lacking until I was pushed to the extreme. Yoga is my happy place and now I can share it with anyone who wants to hear.