On the 21st of February 2007, I was at the beginning of my PhD in Bioceramics at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) when I had a whiplash in a car accident. It was the trigger for more than 5 years of neck pain and rigidity, a movement disorder called Dystonia. I was in pain most days, taking painkillers and diazepam on a daily basis, not being able to move normally, and visiting the hospital every three months to get Botox injections in some of the hypertonic muscles in my neck. I felt trapped in my own body.
I was still suffering from this condition in 2011 when I finished my PhD and moved to London to join the Centre in Advanced Structural Ceramics at Imperial College with a postdoctoral Fellowship. At the time, I had good days and bad days. But I was not well; years of pain and rigidity were taking its toll in my mind too. In spring 2013 I got burnout, on top of my neck issues I started having insomnia. I had spent years looking for answers, for someone who could fix me, but that didn’t work. I realised then that I had to find another way to get out of the loop I was in.
I took up Tai Chi classes. I practiced the moves I learnt a few times every day, and soon I started to feel better, a few weeks later I started practicing easygoing yoga following videos in YouTube. Little by little, I built up my own practice, and the unexpected started to happen. I started to feel my body again, it felt good and I could move. The more I moved the better it got and the more I enjoyed it. Gradually my body got strong and healthy again. Movement healed me. I didn’t need to go to hospital or take drugs anymore.
A few months later I took up ballet classes for the first time in my life. I wanted to do all the things that I thought I would never be able to do when I was unwell. The positive effects in my mind and body had a ripple effect in everything else. I was more focused, creative and confident at work and in 2015 I became a mum – for years I had thought I would never be able to.
In February 2016, I became a Stråla yoga guide and associate to the Yoga Alliance UK. In July 2017 I spent three awesome weeks in New York, in Stråla HQ. Three weeks of previous learning and sharing my passion with the best community ever. I love Stråla, an easygoing approach to yoga that brings the movement and healing principles common to most East Asian systems, including Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Shiatsu. It’s a moving meditation that gets you in your natural flow, reconnecting mind and body.
In February 2017, I joined the University of Liverpool, where I am a lecturer in materials science and engineering. When I look back five years ago, if someone had told me then that I was going to be here now, it would have seem like the dream life of someone else, but not mine.
I want to share my experience with everyone, to help other people find their way to a happy and healthy life. We are our best caregivers. Commit to a sustainable regular practice, focus on the process of getting to know you, explore, play, enjoy, and let the magic happen.