How Did I Get Started With Yoga?
How Did I Get Started With Yoga?
Sjana Elise Earp
I'm frequently asked about my yoga journey. It seems to be something everyone wants to know.
So, I decided to give you a little insight into my story and how I became the yoga-obsessed person I am today :)
From 15 years old until about age 18 or 19, I suffered from very intense depression and anxiety and allowed it to rule my life. I ended up needing a couple of hospital admissions and ultimately, disordered moods ruled my life for those years.
I became an entirely different person. Someone who was once very happy, bubbly, energetic and lively, became entirely isolated, withdrawn, cold and quiet. I was unrecognisable to my friends and even to my family. I used to be incredibly active – I thrived on sport and the ability to move my body and on being outside. But depression made me shy away from these things I once loved. I slowly began quitting the sports I had done and transformed into a human hermit.
Everything became challenging. Getting to school, exercising, socialising, even little things like showering, brushing my teeth or the simple act of waking up in the morning made me feel like I had run a marathon.
I barely survived like this for a few years.
Depression had become a very crippling aspect of my life. I had to drop out of mainstream school early because I was too unwell to attend. My social life was almost non-existent and to be honest, I have no idea what happened most days. It was as if I were living in a trance-like state most of the time. Breathing was a burden.
At 16 I did a STAT test (a really difficult problem-solving measure of your intelligence and potential for academic achievement in tertiary education), which gave me an ATAR equivalent. (An ATAR is the number they give you in Australia at the end of your Higher School Certificate, and universities use it for enrolment and acceptances).
I performed well enough on the STAT to be offered early acceptance into university and began a Bachelor of Creative Arts at Newcastle University. I was doing random subjects like German, Psychology, Marine Biology and Photography. After 1.5 years at Newcastle University, and still no idea what I wanted to do with my life (or even if I wanted my life), I moved to Queensland to explore photojournalism further as a potential career option.
I enrolled at Griffith University, specialising in e-photojournalism and for a further two years studied this as my major. I was living out of home and waitressing on the side for income. Yoga found me at this point in my life — through Instagram of all places!
Initially it was the aesthetic that intrigued me. The poses seemed beautiful. Having had a history of movement and sports (everything from competitive swimming, netball, surf life-saving, elite gymnastics and American-style cheerleading to tennis, soccer, athletics, aerobics and cross country running) the physical practice enticed me. It made me miss having the ability to bend and move my body with awareness and control. So I started trying poses I saw on Instagram, and when I could successfully do them, I would use my passion for photography to take an image of myself doing the pose somewhere wonderful, like a beach, in front of a sunrise or on the edge of a cliff somewhere beautiful.
I was self-taught for a while. And then at the end of 2015, I decided to do a yoga teacher training course. I did it in Byron Bay, and instantly fell in love with the philosophy of yoga. The training opened up an entirely new side of the practice to me, and showed me how yoga is so much more than just the poses — it can be a way of life and love.
Somewhere throughout this yoga journey, I found self-confidence again. Self-confidence helped me gain self-contentment. And this contentment helped me to regain my happiness, therefore my life.
Yoga helped me to find beauty in even the simple things in life. It allowed me to find gratitude for my life and also enabled me to see life through entirely new eyes; eyes of appreciation, love, kindness, happiness and grace. Yoga was what taught me how to love myself again, and loving myself allowed me to wholeheartedly love others too.
Nowadays, the more I learn about yoga – the more I realise I am yet to learn, and the more I fall in love with the practice. It seeped its way into my life when I needed it most. And although yoga was not the only thing that aided me in my recovery from depression, it was certainly a big contributor and a huge blessing for me.
Yoga will now always be a part of my life.
Love and light,
* Results from BAM may vary. Strict adherence to the program is required for best results.