Me then and now… before yoga and what I know now!
Billy, my life partner, told me I am crazy to post this because of the line of work I do! But I told him…
“It is BECAUSE of what I do, that I want to post this, I am ready!”
I am ready to share my story, who I am, really! Often I have people shocked to find out I come from a life of cigarettes and drugs. Dad, if you are reading this, I know you weren’t in the dark about your daughters habits, but I also know you haven’t heard the full story either! So read on carefully! Love you!!! Also to credit my HSBFF Amy, who I still talk to and love very much. To Curtis… so many fond memories and miss you so much, RIP, love ya!
I also have to explain that I listened to an interview with Seane Corn, she is a very famous and admired Yoga Master. She shared her story of drugs and alcohol and it inspired me to share mine. To know that a yoga instructor is NOT perfect from the beginning and to learn that it is actually IMPERFECTION that brings us ALL to the mat or a better way of life and a place of sharing is so ENLIGHTENING. To know your favorite yoga instructor is human, has made huge mistakes in their life and has invoked change in the form of NEW BEGINNINGS and better days.
— I have another inspiration and drive for this post… I will mention it later though, just keep reading!
So yes, there is a side of me that most people have never known or met! So here is my story!
At one time in my life I smoked 2 packs of cigarettes, worked graveyard shifts and used drugs to keep me going! At one of my graveyard jobs we actually had a pinball machine in the back warehouse where the lines of cocaine were already lined out on the glass for any of us to partake in a good high through the night. The dealer would purposely do this the night before pay-day and take our orders to sell us some once we got paid! Bam… our paychecks were often already spent before we even got them! Ha!
Back up a few years… As a teen I played basketball. I was never the best player on the team, but I gave it my best and had fun… until my sophomore year… lots of peer pressure kicks in. I dealt with the comments about how I wasn’t good enough and so on, I blew them off as best as I could. But eventually the peer pressure got to me and I said “Fuck it” and quit half-way through the season, for several reasons, but mostly because I didn’t feel accepted. As most teens go through.
This picture is just too fun to only post once… so here it is again!!!
Enter the cigarette and stoner zone… (in my day we actually had a designated area on my HS campus for this! Not the pot part, but the cigarette smoking section!) by quitting my efforts for fitting in with the jocks… these people accepted me with open arms… they showed me the way to having a community! They accepted me for who I was… Fuck yeah and I felt at home. And this is how it starts for many, I have talked to others over the years and learned my story isn’t that rare of a story.
I continued on this path into my early 20’s. Exploring Mushrooms, LSD and even tried some Meth… yes… I remember it, only a couple of times and thank goodness it didn’t stick with me! Cocaine and pot were my mainstay though.
Yoga came to me in my 20’s a bit, but I wasn’t sold on it, it was a little boring compared to tripping on LSD! But I did kind of like it and took some classes here and there. But in the early 90’s it wasn’t easy to find yoga everywhere and it wasn’t as progressive as it is today to take on my attention full fold.
My son is who saved me… the second I got pregnant (at age 23) I knew my life would change. Had no clue how much, but he was my savior! And he knows it, I tell him all the time. He is now 22 so he is no stranger to my stories and he knows I love him very much. Also the loss of my brother and mother to cancer really started to make me want to turn my life around. They didn’t want their cancer and here I was possibly inflicting cancer on myself with cigarettes and not treating my body so well. So I quit smoking and doing drugs! There is a longer story of off and on again, of course, but keeping this story short I will let you fill in those blanks! But I really had some dark times… even after his birth… I experienced divorce, becoming a single mother and dealing with my mom’s death all at age 27 and within about 1 years time was a very dark place for me to be.
We all seek that answer to the question we have all asked? Is there another way? Is this all live has in store for me? I need a change, but don’t know where to start? Who do I go to for help? I asked all these questions while going through a divorce and my mom dying at the same time. I have been there.
You do have a choice as to how you want to live your life!
When the student is ready, the master appears.
Eventually I really started to fall in love with yoga in my 30’s and when Broomfield opened up a Corepower Yoga I was completely sold on the progressive music, flowing and mediation in the form of movement to breath! Oh, man, I found my home! It was just like when I was a teenager again and I discovered open arms and acceptance! A new community that accepted me and nurtured me to be come the person you all know today! I practiced yoga consistently and to be honest I am not the ‘GYM’ type… but when I wanted to keep coming back to a ‘yoga studio’ as often as I could… I knew I found my ‘GIG’!
Of course you can read the “About” on my website to learn more! But this post is more about the Renee I used to be! My story on my About page is how I sell myself as a Yoga and Wellness guide! Not the true raw me! This post took guts, but hopefully opens some doors for others!
The OTHER inspiration for this post was I have a past yoga student/friend (most of my students become my friends too!) who signed up for my “Cultivate Your Inner Yogi” training with me. She asked if she can include her teenage daughter on the training, if they can do it together? And it dawned on me… first of all “YES!”.
Second… If I had known then, what I know now… would I have taken such a hard path? If I had, had yoga as a teen. Or even known Ayurveda, Positive Affirmations and how to deal with my emotions and need to ‘fit-in’ through a healthy place of community and acceptance… could I have become who I am now… but sooner?
Granted my path was my path to take… and the fact that I could pull out of my lowest low… create change in the form of new growth… when I did… is better than not finding this path at all.
Don’t let your past stories define you or who you want to become… the are you and it is how you got here… however, you don’t have to keep repeating that story and let it define who you are today.
You are never too old to change your ways and your bad habits, you just need to find your path, take it and stay the fuck on it!
So, if you have a child or teenager who could benefit from learning some yogic techniques to help them choose a better path or at least know their options… then bring them with you on this journey of ‘Cultivating Your Inner Yogi’ with you and me!
Or maybe it is you who wants to learn new healthy habits and let go of the destructive paths… or maybe a friend or family member… lets do this together!
Yoga in the physical practice isn’t what this is about… this is the part of the journey off the mat. It is about setting clear intentions, goals, learning to breath when things get tough, learning a healthier way to eat and unblocking channels of energy when you feel stuck. It is something we all go through and can learn to change. It is the INNER yogi in you, in all of us, wanting to change and break the old habits and create new.
For more information visit my website. The program is ready for you to watch the modules from the comfort of your home starting NOW… or from favorite Starbucks if you have to get away from the kids to find peace and quiet to join! The course is online and a self study to view at your convenience. If you do want to join for the online conference calls for a live Q&A and group discussion then those are scheduled for Monday nights at 7:00pm MST. You will have full support through email to ask me any questions at any time though if you can’t make the conference calls.
10 hours of yummy, yoga off the mat, mastering your mindset, online learning from the comfort of your own couch or bed!
The Modules are self study and can be watched anytime, on your own. You can even listen to the audio only version while you walk your dog, run or commute to work.
I’d love to have you all with me on this journey of self realization, change in the form of new growth and wellbeing.
And thank you for reading my story!