Sunday, July 14, 2024

Yoga: a catalyst for healing

Emily Reid was never interested in spirituality or religion growing up. She rarely thought about the philosophical side of the everyday things she did, or of the things she saw around her. She battled several medical issues and other stressful situations, which had a negative impact on her well-being. And she thought gardening was a bore.
Now, she has transformed into a completely different person. After going down a path of self-healing, she’s a certified yoga teacher with her own business, a diploma in horticulture, a 4,000 sq. foot organic garden and a deep connection to the world around her.

Some vegetables that Reid and her partner grow in their 4,000 sq. foot garden. Reid realized that farming for markets did not align with her lifestyle, and they now grow produce for themselves and to share with the community.

Reid has been living on a 100-acre property in Bristol that has been in her family for many years. Her great-uncle was the first of her family to inhabit it, then her parents purchased the property, and then Reid and her partner did the same five years ago, after moving from the city. Though her expansive property lies within a heavy farming community, you would find a wild landscape before any cultivated farmland.
“Before we moved here, when my great-uncle was running the place, he had ‘cash crop ...’ and that’s not something that we wanted to do. We wanted to do something a little more unconventional,” Reid said. “We only grew for the first four years that we were here. And then this year, I actually decided to close the farm business because after getting back into yoga and meditation, I was realizing that wasn’t working with my energy.”
With this revelation, she started down a path of change to better herself and the people around her, and yoga was the catalyst. But her healing journey started far before this. As a child, she was faced with multiple mental and physical conditions that required surgeries and took a toll on her childhood. 
“I had already been diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic condition at birth, BPES,” Reid said, adding that her specific case was so rare, it did not fit within the two established types of the disease. She had also never seen anyone else with the condition, making it hard to find someone to relate to. “I had three or four surgeries on my eyes and nose for it as a child and the future pertaining to that is 100 per cent uncertain and unknown.”
In addition, she suffered from learning disabilities, severe depression and anxiety and ADHD. 
“Everything together, having multiple surgeries and hospital visits was a lot to handle as a child,” she said. “ I was on and off medications, in and out of therapy, but I never felt ‘good’. I felt like I was drowning, barely treading water, and never really fitting in or relating to others.”
But the final straw came when she was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 15. Reid knew it was time to change her lifestyle so that even if she would have these conditions for the rest of her life, she could be happy and healthy regardless. She began viewing food as medicine, and took up yoga to lose weight and be active. 
At the time, Reid couldn’t see why people fell in love with yoga. It was just an exercise to be more physical, and she dropped it soon after and did not revisit it for a decade. When she finally restarted the practice, she did it with a fresh perspective.
“As I practiced more, I sort of tuned into myself more and started looking at yoga from more of a philosophical viewpoint, instead of just the poses, instead of just the physical aspects,” she said. “Yeah, honestly I started having revelations or like epiphanies about myself. It’s like I accidentally fell into a really amazing self-discovery tool.” 

Diving deeper into yoga, she and a friend attended yoga teacher training at Teach your Truth yoga studio with instructor Nigel Walker. The training was six months long, ending in January, and Reid was now certified to teach yoga herself. But before she was able to plan and lead classes, the COVID-19 pandemic set in.
Not letting the situation get her down, Reid took it day by day and continued to do yoga in preparation for future classes. A breakthrough finally presented itself in May when the Pontiac Family Centre and Gym reached out to her to teach yoga through them, namely videos that people who were interested could do from home. This was a path that she never thought she’d be taking, but she was up for the challenge.
“I’ve never never done video at all. I’m kind of a hobbyist photographer, I own two cameras… But I actually chose those ones because they had other features besides video. I was like, ‘I don’t care about video at all, I will never do video.’ Well, that’s changed,” Reid said. 
Now, Reid is the owner of her own yoga business, Homestead Yoga, and is putting her newfound video production skills to good use. She offers access to her video programs and is planning to create more.
She was able to teach some outdoor in-person classes at the Norway Bay beach this year, but since that is no longer possible she has recently begun offering personalized one-on-one programs via video conference, and hopes that she’ll be able to guide anyone who is interested in healing and self-improvement.
“I only very, very recently started off, within the last couple weeks. I don’t have any clients for that yet. I would tailor the classes to that person. So be very personalized. But yeah, I’ve just kind of threw that out there.”
Her partner of nine years, Gabriel, is fully supportive of her progress and vision. Though he is not much into doing yoga himself, he and Reid can share in their spirituality and world views.

Emily Reid has gone through many tough times in her past. When she rediscovered yoga and the unique ways of thinking that came along with it, she embarked on a healing journey that turned her life around.

Eventually, Reid hopes to be able to help people have a different perspective on the world, just as she experienced. She wants to guide people to see how the world is connected through everything, and she hopes to do that not just through yoga but through plants and her horticulture training.
“Acknowledging and observing just the duality that exists in everything, and that ability to step back from all of that, and, and to just sort of just just sort of observe at all, is really amazing. And it’s, I have, in a way, have fewer questions. And in a way, I have more questions about myself and the universe.
“Yoga just really was like a rocket ship or something. You know, it’s like I was already on this path. But then, once I found a daily practice of yoga and meditation and started turning inwards, that really took me to the next level.”


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