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  • Writer's pictureShannon Lacey

MY JOURNEY TO YOGA



(Warning: Content includes references to anxiety and depression. Please do not read if you are trigged by these topics) 

Growing up In Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire UK, I was an outgoing child with a wild imagination, love for the outdoors, I loved being surrounded by my family and friends and I was always dancing! To be honest not much has changed! 

I started dancing at the age 3 and I spent my entire childhood dancing. Dance gave me a way of expressing myself and brought me so much joy it truly has shaped the person I am today for which I am so grateful for. 

It was always my dream to become a professional dancer. I left school at 16 to study a diploma in dance and at the age of 18 I was lucky enough to be offered a place at one of the top professional dance colleges in the country. 12 + hours a day of training in dance, musical theatre, acting, singing. My dream was coming true. 

I don’t want to say unfortunately because everything happens for a reason, but during this time my mental health started to deteriorate. However I forced myself to continue and not give up as I was convinced this was my path! 

But after a period of pushing through my body gave up and literally started shutting down. One day I ended up in hospital in excruciating physical pain. I couldn’t stand, I could hardly move, I could hardly breathe. I had no idea what was wrong with me. I had all the tests in the world yet no diagnosis ... Now looking back I fully believe this was my body/the universe showing me my path. Telling me enough is enough. I had ignored my mental health so much that this was the final resort to show me. ‘The body is a crystallised history of your entire emotional and mental experience of your life’ 

After being diagnosed with severe anxiety (I had never experienced any mental health issues previously) I went from being a bubbly charismatic young woman to feeling like an empty shell of a body filled with constant fear and anxiety even about leaving my home. This was a tough time in my life and I am so thankful for the support of my family and friends during this time. I spent months at home taking medication attending multiple counselling sessions a week where I vividly remembering trying to open my mouth to talk each session and just nothing coming out. I felt helpless, I wasn’t getting anywhere. I would wake up every morning with the same pain and anxiety I had when I closed my eyes the night before. 

I would spend these days searching for something to heal myself. It was here I found yoga. Previously I had classed yoga as just a form of exercise, but wow I quickly found it was so so much more! I quickly forced/threw myself into a new world of mindfulness. I starting meditating, journaling, practising yoga daily and Tai Chi. 

From here I finally started to heal, I had realised that nothing external of me was ever going to fully heal me, it had to come from within! I felt huge physical, mental and spiritual effects from these practices! My thought patterns shifted. I started to feel lighter and have short periods where my anxiety subsided. (My counsellor had described my condition as a constant panic attack) 

In 2017 not long after this time (everyone thought I was mad) I made the decision to pack my backpack and discover the world alone. Travelling quickly stole my heart, I felt so free, alive and open to all these new experiences. As I travelled my practice grew and grew. I met some incredible souls who have guided me on my path and showed me there’s more to the world than this physical realm we live in. That we are all connected to something much bigger. My mind expanded to all the possibilities and I came into a massive stage of reflection. It was during this year I created my yoga Instagram ‘Living in touch’ to document my journey to this new mindful way of living. 

Fast forwarding another 3 years of regular yoga practice and studying for my own growth. The more I started to practice the lighter I became physically and mentally not being weighed down by daily struggles and trauma from the past. In this time I remember just wanting to constantly be learning more, I read book and more books. But I was ready for my next step. I made the decision to embark on my teacher training in January 2020. To deepen my own spiritual practice and to learn how to teach this beautiful gift of yoga, which has completely changed my life, to everyone I can. 

And here I am now, I know now that yoga was always my path. I am grateful for the hard times I’ve been though as they showed me the light. I genuinely wake up every day now with the biggest smile on my face, knowing I have something so precious in my life.

Shannon Shanti Lacey (Shanti = peace. A name I was given by a spiritual teacher in Bali) 

A yoga student for this life time and many to come. I hold such a deep sacred dedication to my own personal practice, the more I practice the deeper I go and the happier I become. The more I let go of. Slowly coming closer to my truest divine self.  

And now a yoga teacher!

I hope by opening my heart (this was hard) and sharing a short piece of my journey I inspire some of you reading to make take the first steps on your yoga journey or a journey to a more mindful life, whatever that means for you. I also hope this serves to remind anyone who is going through a tough time that light will come again. 

“You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start now and change the ending” - C.S Lewis 

Namaste, 

Shannon x 





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