The Yoga Loft Storybook: Wendy Robbins
Why/When/Where did you start practicing yoga?
I first tried yoga in my 20's when a therapist suggested it for my anxiety. At the time, I was completely unable to be in a yoga class without having a debilitating panic attack and the idea of being alone with my thoughts for any amount of time was terrifying. I tried it alone in my bedroom a few times and never got past the first sun salutation. So I quit yoga and found a new therapist. I came back to the mat occasionally in my 30's, maybe once a year. My self-critic loved it! I would have at least one judgemental thought for each minute I survived a class. I stayed in the back and often left early, feeling ashamed and frustrated. It would take me about a year to forget how bad it was, at which time I would try again. It was during these years that I found the Yoga Loft. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-40's and my mother was diagnosed with cancer that I came back to my mat and decided to stay, whatever the results. I was spinning regularly just prior and realized that you can’t just start crying in the middle of a challenging hill and think you are not going to hyperventilate. But I could cry on my mat. So that’s when I really started and that’s exactly what I did. I came to my mat everyday to see what I would find, both mentally and physically.
How has yoga changed/influenced your life?
Many ways. It has given me a place to grieve, a place to celebrate, a place to center myself, and at the same time completely let go. It’s given me a place to find space in my body and mind. I went on my first diet at age 12 and started working out daily. I was a four sport athlete in high school and went to college on an athletic scholarship. And since then I’ve tried it all - every diet, every exercise. But it always felt like a battle. Even if I enjoyed the physical workout, it felt like my mind was at war with my body. It wasn’t until I spent real time on my mat that I found a new awareness and appreciation for my body. And mentally, I found a deep peace and connection to my own authenticity that stays with me beyond the mat. Having lived with an anxiety disorder since I was 7 years old, that is a gift beyond measure. When you have anxiety, your thoughts betray you. So the journey inward is terrifying. Through yoga and meditation, I have found a life-changing and sacred balance.
What has been your experience practicing at The Yoga Loft?
It is one of my happy places now. The instructors are outstanding and always make me feel as if just finding my way back to my mat, really back to myself, is an accomplishment worth celebrating. They give you permission to just bring whatever you’ve got that day and know that it’s enough and at the same time gently invite you to play with your edge and see where it takes you. And the diversity of classes and instructors is a perfect way to hit different parts of my body and mind throughout the week. Throughout my yoga journey over the past 18 months, the Loft has provided a very supportive atmosphere where I’ve been able to grow (and stretch and take flight!) in ways I never thought possible.
Were you as inspired by Wendy's story as we were? Read more about Wendy's journey through life with anxiety (the good, the bad, and the beautifully honest truths) on her blog.
Would you like to share your yoga journey for The Yoga Loft Storybook? Please send us an email!