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FACTS ABOUT ME: 

 

Age: 34

Qualifications: YTT 200HR

Where? Chaitanya School of Yoga 

Professional Experiences: Former English Teacher. Currently eLearning educational Specialist

Personal Experiences: Poet and Creative 

Quote to live by: "Vulnerability is the true measure of courage" Brene Brown

Words to live by: "Be Authentic. Be Intentional" 

In 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis. It didn't come as much of a surprise to me. I spent my teenage years bawled up on my bed, drinking Jamaica Ginger and filling hot water bottles. This was what my mother referred to as 'ma-se-kind' ailments. In other words, I had similar issues like my mama so therefore all is normal.  I also suffered intense joint pains that doctors liked to call 'growing pains'. It is crazy how long it took me to grow. Sigh! I had many lumps in my breasts that were attested to hormonal imbalances and fibroids. So, when I was suffering intense spastic pain in my gut, into my ovary, and through my vagina, and doctors could not for years find the reason, and they finally named it, yep it began to make sense to me. 

Admittedly, it made sense but the sense came with difficulty because it answered why I was not falling pregnant. It answered the unbearable lifetime of pain. It awoke me to a potential future I may never experience i.e. motherhood. However, I educated myself. I, Ms-Teacher, went on an educational journey to learn everything I needed to know about endometriosis and prepare myself. I was adamant I would live a full life and no illness was going to conquer me. I learned about my nutrition and diet.  Quick breakdown: No gluten, No sugar, No wheat, No red meat, No caffeine, No eggs, No dairy, No soya... basically NO to all the 'norms' we grew up with, thinking it a bietjie (bit) harmless. Full disclaimer, I became the herbal doctor in the family. I immediately changed my diet. Now I did not go crazy, just gluten-free, caffeine-free, sugar-free (to an extent), meat-free. I could not give up chocolate though! I still cannot give up chocolate. It is soooo hard! I started herbal teas and herbal tonics to help with my pain. It was a grueling process. I did not have the support of my doctors. They were shoving medication down my throat as the only source of treatment. They were boldening the 'incurable' nature of the disease, inciting fear-induced behaviour. I went deeper into needing guidance and my anxiety grew.

 

I understood my body needed physical exercise to improve circulation. I was naturally a very active child in my teenage years but my condition, without my knowledge, made my teenage years of sport very challenging. The more the pain settled in, the more I settled into the pain. After my diagnosis and desperation for a cure, I began gym training. This did not serve me well. The friction from the intense activity caused regular flare-ups and more hospital visits. It was by chance I found a yoga DVD. This yoga DVD was a flat-belly yoga DVD that did not specifically focus on restoration, balance, or emotional, mental and spiritual connection, however, I found myself naturally inclining towards that. I inconsistently practiced due to the emotional battles with miscarriages, chronic pain, and infertility. I had also by then relapsed and started eating all the 'fun' stuff that was a NO-NO as a form of coping or distracting from my reality. It was only in 2016, something greater shifted within me. 

 

I started to recommit to myself in 2016. My narrative was a trailing tale with bad grammar, unacceptable pauses, and an inconsistent tone. My trauma brimmed to the surface. I was confronting myself daily beckoning lies and tall tales. I needed healing. I needed to re-evaluate. I needed a self-directed purpose as a woman. It was then when I sought to heal as a woman and learn about sexual awakening and vaginal trauma by participating in sacred healing circles of sisterhood and connection. I also sought active but holistic ways to help me. By this time, I have already had 2 surgeries and was scheduled for another.  I have had 3 miscarriages by then too so I knew I needed more drastic measures to improve my general wellbeing and help to improve my pelvic mobility. It was a wonderful yogini instructor that in one class taught me to see my body as a whole and understand how my energies impacted overall health. These lessons all aligned into my learning journey I was experiencing and I felt my story unfold differently, more fluidly, and more authentically. 

 

I recommitted to my practice and it was challenging at first as my body rejected any consistent activity but I kept my mind committed and took the necessary rest when my body required it. Restoration was as powerful to my learning as much as my flexibility and mobility. Restoration requires breathing, dancing to the music of my womb, the temperament of my gut, and the intuitive colours of my mind. Many people had asked me if yoga actually helped and my answer was always yes because I knew inconsistent practice will not provide results. I knew from my experience that it was far more than flexibility and getting into advanced poses. I knew that yoga brought me mental and emotional strength. It gave me peace. It gave me a reconnection with myself and my body. It gave me a space of safety to begin to love myself, a feeling I was learning. My heart struggled with the inconsistencies in my activities and I struggled with the anxiety and the chronic pain. I kept on. I kept believing that this will help me. And it did.

 

Yes, I still struggled with 24/7 chronic pain but my mind was stronger. I became more attuned to my body, understanding my movement, understanding the complicated nature of this chronic condition. Yoga helped me to centre myself and breathe through the pain, articulate the tension in my body, and improve in circulating my blood, and distributing my breath to healing.

 

In 2019 I had my fourth operation and I decided that I will not stop and show full commitment to my practice as I felt its benefits. I decided to become a yoga instructor to help other women, like me, regain strength and control and love for their bodies; sometimes or most-times or all-times ailing bodies. To be kind to their bodies during the immensity of pain and honour their sacred wombs that may be ailed but is still filled with wisdom and earth knowledge.

 

In 2020, Yoni Shakti Yoga was born. Yoni Shakti Yoga is pillared on 5 philosophies:Vulnerability, Healing, Authenticity, Connectedness and Wholeheartedness. The 5 principles by which I came into my being. I believe that through intentional heart work, holding these core philosophies at the foundation of our knowledge, experience and essentialism, women will allow their power and confidence to resonate, be unashamed of their respective sexual and explorative desire. Women will discern their wild and allow it to commune with their goddess within. They will offer their spirits the light to run the fields of exuberance and openness and feel rejuvenated as newly experienced and enlightened selves. They will speak and not murmur under patriarchy with taught perspectives of feminity but define and oblige to the inner voice who is intuitive and magical and a prophetess of her own wisdom. If we as women simply seek to move through our philosophies with an intentional decree with wisdom and inner guidance, drawing from the true place of authentic and sacral power, we can heal the world of its ailing ways, of its broken-heartedness, of its unkept promises and diligence to denying faith, honour and the privilege of being human. It is in our making to restore the global consciousness to heal humanity.

I am not a miracle story. I do not claim to have all the answers. I am a healing story. I have understood the power and beauty and nature of my womanhood through my internal mothering and my divinity and I was able to do this through my yoga practice and aligned learning experiences.

Currently, I am only using herbal remedies. I eat mostly vegetarian although I do not classify myself as one because I am not one, LOL. I am mostly gluten-free and dairy-free. Everything else in moderation. I have daily juices and smoothies and my own anti-inflammatory tonics. I use homeopathic balms, oils, and teas to help to regulate my body. I am also off western medication and it feels wonderful. I pray this to be my continued treatment. 

 

My journey continues and it is a learning journey. Join me on my learning journey. 

With love, honour and grace

Gafieza

 

'End-o-me-tri-osis'

 

A Spoken word poem by Gafieza