From left brain corporate worker to becoming a yoga therapist

I was in my second year of college when my migraines began. They hit and they hit hard! My racing mind finally was overcome by one main thought or better said feeling: PAIN! 

By the time I finished college and was in my 4th year of working on Wall St, my migraines were debilitating to such a degree that the doctors would put me on morphine. As for my anxieties, left unchecked and overlooked, they had a blast in my mind and body! 

I had no idea what anxiety was and most likely if I were raised in the US, I would have been diagnosed with it, but being from Romania, I was just an over-analitical mind that always lived in the worst case scenario preparedness mode. I always had to be in control and never show any weakness. Disease of any kind was considered a lethal vulnerability! 

So, I lived with my daily worries, overthinking and pushing to be super-woman!

Until it all collapsed … or better said, Wall St was collapsing and my co-workers became so stressed that they started smoking and freaking out about being next on the chopping board every minute of the day!

Stress galore! with apparently suicidal deviations on a mass scale happening all around me! My anxiety, insecurities, fears and worries were engulfing my world! I was drowning! But the money was so good I kept on trading water with my last breath!

And then … a miracle happened! The company that I was working for was erased from the face of the earth! …alongside so many!

Oh yeah, and on top of it I got divorced right in the middle of all that!

Life gave me a kick in the butt! … and I never went back to the financial world! I was done!

While I was trying my hand at online marketing, one of my best friends, who helped me so much while my family was continents away, was having problems with his daughter. She was using drugs, getting kicked out of school and he had no idea how to help the situation. Being a curious monkey, helpful friend and growing up in a drug free country and era, plus running into a craigslist post for a job at an adolescent treatment center, I thought “why not!” I can temporarily work there until I learn how I can help and then move on with my live.

I was so wrong! I fell in love with those kids and tried to help all of them, so I studied, read books over books, took college classes on psychology and such and got sucked into this vortex for couple of years! I loved every minute of it, though tough and challenging. Pay was ridiculous compared to what I was used to from Wall St., but it was soul rewarding. I learned I was codependent when it came to my family specifically and that I had different “strains” of anxiety! 

But I also learned, watching all these teenagers with anxieties, stress, worries and depression taking loads of medication and never seeming to get above anxiety/depression water. Always dependent on that pill to calm them down or boost them up or a combination of them.

There had to be a better way. So, I re-discovered yoga. It worked well enough but it never really left a deep impression on me.

Moving on couple of years forward, I was working in the healthcare business as a business developer. (No, I wasn’t a drug rep, but witnessed their misery first-hand.) I was schmoozing the doctors of the main hospitals in the area. My Wall St and diplomatic job before that (worked for a US congressman and a US ambassador during college - but that’s another story) schooled me in the fine arts of schmoozing! 

The thi_MJW5638ngs I learned doing that job … convinced me to go back to school and learn how to prevent disease of any kind, so I or anyone I know would never ever had to end up in a hospital! Ever!

I started getting certified as a holistic nutritionist. I didn’t stop there! I wanted more, more, more! I was looking for ways I could put people back in charge of their own health! Empower them, not make them dependent on pills or have to go to practitioners that had them do follow up, after follow up after follow up and get them dependent on them and their services. I wanted total health empowerment and freedom!

I went through different alternative medicine mentors, that totally believed in their craft, but people still needed to come back to them. So, after getting more certifications and hands-on-experience I was still thirsty … still looking for more… for IT!

Tired of everyone saying that their method is the one that will save the world, I decided to find a mentor who was skilled in all (lots) alternative medicine modalities and teach me the bad and the good of each … the limitations if you will. As I never believed that Jesus walked on water after an acupuncture session or a chiropractic adjustment!  … as those practitioners would have me believe. Plus, you couldn’t do it on your own!

Miracle number 2 (on this journey) : I randomly ran into my future mentor’s interview written in a south-east Asia backpacker magazine. I decided right there and right then that that was it. I was going to find a way to go to Thailand and study with this amazingly multi-talented MD at her own healing center that was a working mecca for a multitude of different alternative medicine practitioners.

I don’t remember ever being so annoyingly persistent. I emailed, called and emailed again for several months and still no reply. So, I took a decision and sent my last email saying “If you don’t reply, in couple of mouths I’ll be knocking at your door!” And I finally got my reply! After a few exchanges, I knew my hunch was right and that I was going to Thailand come hell or high water!

I got rid of most of my stuff and put the rest in the storage and I was on my way to change my life, to change the world!

yet …

After my first meeting with the MD, she told me I had lived for too long in the US and I was too “all over the place,” so she could’t work with me. I stopped breathing right then! But then she added, “unless you go through my yoga schools’ first month intensive yoga course. I need you and your mind to settle down or else I won’t let you anywhere near my patients."

There was no turning back for me! I was the grass-hopper and I was going to listen to my Sansei even if I had to wax on-wax off for an entire month! 

and ohhhh that month was brutal! I was’t doing normal american yoga, I was doing therapeutic yoga (using yoga as therapy) 5-6 hours a day, plus a 2-3 hour lecture and the biweekly documentary/movie. 

And I was getting 2-3 medical thai massages a week - very detoxifying (body and mind) … oh yeah, I got certified in medical thai massage as well —> curious monkey girl! My excuse was that I needed to know how to differentiate between a good and a bad massage for my clients. I never planned on massaging myself … nor do I still.

That first month was purging at the highest level!

I cried, I yelled, I faked smiled and I felt like I was crawling out of my skin so many times during that month. I’m known as an easy-going, nice kinda person. I had days in that month that I thought I was the devil incarnate. 

There were around 20 of us going through that intensive yoga course. Needless to say I made life-long friends!

Fast forward through the training, I saw so many miracles happen with the help of authentic therapeutic yoga (not the washy-wash people learn here). I saw it fail too, but it wasn’t the program failing the person as it was the person failing the program (and themselves).

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I’ve always been a left-brained curious George, so the MD who was mentoring me, by explaining to me anatomically and physiologically how poses, breathing techniques, purifications etc were working, I was able to digest and trust even more every “miracle” that I saw happen around me or within me. 

My anxiety, migraine, hip displacement, hormonal imbalance, fear of life itself were replaced with calmness and joy! Do I still have freak out moments? Duhh, I’m only human! But as long as I keep my practice, I know I have a sustainable solution that keeps me away from doctors offices, hospitals, other milking-me-for-money practitioners and no matter how deep I emerge myself in this “civilized” world again with its daily stress monsters, I will come out at the end just fine, with a smile on my face and a spring in my step!

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My biggest takeaway after seeing so many cases - from MS to "never able to walk” to anxiety and depression, to my screwed up hip and hormonal imbalance … you name it … was that if the person was not ready to commit to fight and let go of whatever ailment (or health hiccup as I dearly call them) they had, no miracle could heal them!

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That’s why I ask all my clients to commit! And I only work with people who are fed up, hit rock bottom and are READY for a change!

I’ve created a Yoga-Eat-Play program to package every aspect of the healing process into one! Authentic therapeutic yoga for the mind, body and soul, nutrition for the body to support the process and mindfulness play as the glue to the program to tie it all together with a pretty ribbon. 

A sustainable, fun, fairy dust solution!

TO your HEALTH!