It’s probably been a little over 9 months since I started a conscious ‘healing’ process at Hot Yoga Wimbledon: a studio I have been practicing yoga at for coming onto 3 years and working as a receptionist for a year now. I’ve seen the studio diversify from being a Bikram only space to an accommodating centre for the healing of individuals and by extension our ever growing community south of the Thames.
A little about where I was when I started. At the ‘young’ age of 24 I’ve never felt older. Working two jobs and taking care of my slightly younger severely autistic brother had definitely given me a sense of responsibility I had not previously experienced. I come from a comfortable well to do middle class back ground, I’m constantly grateful for the provisions I’ve been given, the education I’ve received and the security in my life. But my story of healing is not your typical middle class yuppie got lucky tale.
Three years ago I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression which had crippled my social life and made me extremely bitter, resentful and above all negative. I walked around with a heavy emotional expression and no doubt I pushed many genuinely concerned and loving people away from my life. A long term relationship broke down, I polluted my body with mindless recreation and I didn’t complete my masters on time. Every day I woke up to a reflection that told me I was a worthless failure.
It was at this moment I was introduced to Michael Hartzel at the studio who began stripping away negative layers of my energy in what felt like a magical and almost holy experience. I went into this session a complete skeptic but now I am a true believer in the power of alternative healing and how it can help other. In my first session the moment Michael touched my head I felt as if I had an electric current surging through my body and as his hands moved over my heard it was as if a giant iron hook was wrenched out of it allowing me to release my pent up energy there. It was painful in the session, I winced as if a real hook had come loose. And I’ve felt far more open ever since. What that moment of blinding pain taught me was that in our most vulnerable states we are in some ways our most strong.
Michaels sessions continued to bring great comfort to me in a gentle way, as if by peeling layers of the onion the tears one sheds at the chopping board become breakthrough in the real world. I felt as if I was breathing in a wholly new and fresher air and I am most grateful to have met him and continue to work with him.
Earlier this year – just before I was about to go on holiday with my old school and university friends to Barcelona – I met Tanya. Tanya’s session was absolutely extraordinary. Michael was gentle and understood that perhaps someone of my disposition, prone to anxiety and low mood, could not tolerate such a forceful stripping down of Self and rebuilding exercise. But I went into Tanya’s session with an open heart (thanks to Michel) and an open mind (probably thanks to Yoga). I lay down and in a trance like state went through my childhood and adolescence to moments where I was frustrated and resentful towards myself and had the conversation I wish I had. I was, I remember, screaming at a version of my previous self in an empty room with a stranger. And I screamed and screamed and screamed until at a climax Tanya said there was another presence in the room. I had lost my Grandmother in 2013 after a long battle with heart disease. She lived with me and I alongside my family nursed her in her old age as she had nursed many of us through childhood, adolescence and for some adulthood. The loss was profound, deep, absolute agony. And I thought she would be disappointed in me as I was in myself. But somewhere I felt Tanya’s reassuring hand willing me to explore these complex emotions and in a teary revelation I began to let go, to complete my grief and to move forward in my heart.
People come into your life sometimes to teach you and other times to heal you. If you feel you need an extra hand to give you some guidance or some release of deep set emotion I strongly recommend booking an appointment with Michael and/or Tanya and beginning that journey. Mine is certainly only just coming to fruition but how sweet it has been thus far!