Written by PYR Ambassador Sarah Humphries
Last week we came across this amazing testimonial from one of our wonderful Ambassadors since 2012, Sarah Humphries. Yoga has been an outlet for Sarah to overcome many of the challenges of Multiple Sclerosis. Her practice makes her stronger, and she shares her strength through teaching. Join Sarah at our Pay-What-You-Can-Studio on Saturdays at 10:30am for EnJOYoga!
How Yoga Impacted Sarah’s Life:
I received my Registered Yoga Teacher 200 (RYT200) certification after leaving my corporate job due to cognitive difficulties brought on by Multiple Sclerosis. I was diagnosed with M.S. More than 20 years ago. I began practicing yoga sometime after my diagnosis with CDs and DVDs. I don’t remember how long it has been since I began this home practice. Very quickly my balance, coordination, and strength began to improve. These changes brought on a confidence that I hadn’t seen since learning that I have M.S. Because I saw this improvement I was hooked!! With my renewed self-confidence I wanted to share what the practice of yoga had done for me with anyone who would listen.
The next phase of this journey began when the company that I had worked for 18 years went out of business. I had been working from home for 14 of the 18 years that I was with them. When that job ended and I had to get a more conventional job, it quickly became evident that I wasn’t performing as I had been in the quiet of my own home. The outside noise and various other distractions made it hard to concentrate. My bosses began having talks with me about ending my employment. I spoke to my neurologist and after some testing and it was determined that I did, in fact, have some cognitive loss and would need to apply for disability.
When it came time for me to leave my job I knew that I wanted to take my newly found “free” time to speak to M.S. Support groups about the benefits of yoga. I also knew I wanted to have my RYT certification before I started to do that. At this time I had only taken a few yoga classes in a studio. I was too concerned about what people would think when I would begin to wobble and not look like what I thought a real yogi looked like. Now I help people understand that yoga is for everyone.
I was also intimidated by going back into a school environment and was afraid of not being able to retain the information. I found a studio that had a summer long intensive course and enrolled right away. I am proud to say I was to first one to complete the course which included many hours of different styles of yoga classes. Upon graduation I had one person ask me to help her with yoga. She lives with M.S. like I do and wanted to enjoy the benefits. I began teaching her weekly.
How Sarah and PYR Connected:
Shortly after that, I learned about Project Yoga Richmond and they asked if I would be interested in teaching chair yoga to a group of seniors. I have been with that group for four years now and so enjoy watching their practice grow. This fall I will have 15 classes a week on my calendar. I teach a group of mentally and physically challenged adults twice a week, additional classes for seniors, those who live with chronic disease and even yoga in the pool! I also teach a gentle beginner level class once a week at Project Yoga Richmond. As the community began to hear about the chair yoga classes that I was offering more requests for classes came in. I have private clients where we can personally adapt yoga to their individual needs.