Sea Change Yoga teacher Anna Lee sat down to interview her former student Emily. Emily is a Sea Change Yoga student who has just recently been released from the Southern Maine Women’s Re-entry Center, where she took yoga classes twice each week with Sea Change. Emily is also the second recipient of Sea Change Yoga’s Teacher Training Scholarship and recently became certified for Yin Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation with Sagel Urlacher. Emily hopes to complete her Level One Reiki as well as her Yoga Alliance Two Hundred Hour yoga teacher training in the near future, with plans to teach yoga and meditation to others who are incarcerated.
Here are some things Emily shared in her conversation with Anna.
“Yoga played a big role in my recovery, it gave me space to separate from all the craziness in my head. Addiction is a very mental disease. Practicing yoga during my recovery was the first time I was able to breathe. I was able to be quiet and still in myself. Most importantly it enabled me to get to know myself and love myself again. That took time and I still work on it, but during my recovery from addiction that’s what yoga was all about: being compassionate with myself.
I had a strong practice before I was jailed and it was a big part of how I managed my stress and recovery. I thought I would continue when I got into jail, but I was too depressed to do much yoga. Sea Change was the first yoga class offered since being incarcerated. The acceptance and encouragement I received during those classes made a huge difference in my life at the Re-entry Center. That last six months in jail was so hard for me, and the opportunity to share yoga practice twice a week made a huge difference in my life and in my spirit. I took that practice back to my room and shared it with other inmates. I got other people to join the group classes. The experience of those classes was powerful and it was exactly what I needed. I decided that I wanted to train and become a yoga teacher too. Keeping up with my practice really helped me to transition when I left incarceration.”
Emily, we are so grateful to have you as part of the Sea Change family. Your experience is inspirational for all of us and we can't wait to see all of the good work and compassion that you spread! Thanks for the great interview!