The World Peace Yoga studio is the first place where I felt back home in my body.
I spent years trying to cure my debilitating illness with traumatic, invasive procedures and medications that made my quality of life worse. It was through this repeated trial and error that I eventually sought out more sustainable integrative therapies and healing modalities. It wasn’t until after I acquired a disability that I discovered the amazing resiliency of my body and spirit.
At 16, my self-worth was dependent on how busy I could make my schedule. I thought I was eating “healthy” when I was barely feeding myself low-carb and low-fat diet foods. I didn’t realize how poorly I was taking care of myself until after I caught a virus and suddenly became very ill.
At my worst, my illness left me completely bed-ridden and only conscious for only several hours at a time. After the initial months without a diagnosis, I was desperate for relief. When my doctors stopped having any answers, I had to start looking elsewhere.
My healing first began with food. I have been privileged with the resources to be more deliberate in my food choices. I learned that I couldn’t separate the emotional response from what or how I was eating from my physical body. As I started to understand food as my medicine, I found significant improvements in my quality of life. It was only after I began to eat a more plant-based diet that I was eventually able to work my way into using a wheelchair for mobility so that I could attend the University of Cincinnati.
Unfortunately, my first year at UC was still detrimental to my health. My spirit felt crushed by my increased severe pain as I was pushing myself to meet the ableist institutional standards of success, and my depression and anxiety were at their worst with the additional stress of college.
The World Peace Studio was the first place I started to love my body and myself again. The first time I slowly made my way up the stairs to their peaceful sky-light lit studio, I was met with immediate community support and resources for better self-care. In the quiet moments practicing there, I rediscovered life-saving inner strength and hope.
5 years since the initial onset of my illness, I am now completely mobile with a greatly improved quality of life. While I am still living with my chronic illness, I am finally honoring and loving how I navigate the world around me and learn from my experiences as a disabled woman. I will graduate from UC next year, I continue to advocate for disability rights and social justice, and I am enjoying a more mindful lifestyle full of nourishing plant-based foods and creative community.
World Peace Yoga Cincinnati continues to be a powerful source of great healing and inspiration. Their intimate studio, supportive teachers, and dedication to achieve world peace have catalyzed profound physical, emotional, and spiritual transformation in my life. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to learn about yogic philosophy and an ahimsa, or non-violent, lifestyle during my 300-hr Foundational Spiritual Teacher Training + Yoga Teacher Training which I will complete at the end of the summer.
I am proud to learn from a community that is committed to intentional inclusivity. World Peace Yoga provides Silent Yoga in ASL and has trained interpreters for their many other classes and events. They host anti-racist and anti-violence workshops by local activists for the community and their yoga teachers in training. They continue to offer classes for all bodies and abilities and are working to increase access to the studio.
They continue to support me and others who are struggling financially with 30-day Freedom Months of unlimited yoga, “karma yoga” volunteers, and offering work-trade scholarships for their teacher training.
I feel good knowing that I can do my small part everyday to take better care of our earth and the animals and people who inhibit it –including myself.
Now, I am grateful for this opportunity to give back to this amazing community and share with others.
World Peace is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to raise money for more educational resources with two self-published books for delicious vegan recipes and living a non-violent lifestyle. We are also fundraising to update and improve the studio to make it wheelchair accessible.
I know that change is possible.
We are at a tipping point, and we are called to be more conscious of our choices. We can vibrate higher, live in community, and love and give more.