Hello everyone and welcome to Om Shanti Life, a lifestyle blog focused on living a healthy, natural life.
My name is Kaitlyn, a twenty something Canadian who has always been toying with blogging, starting some but never following through, until now. I guess I’ve never had something that I’m as passionate about as yoga and living a natural, healthy and above all a HAPPY life.
I was born and raised in Canada. Where? One guess:
I grew up being a very active child. Like most Canadian kids, I was thrown into skating (figure skating in my case) at the tender age of 3. I moved quickly from group classes to begging my parents for my own coach, to finally spending every waking minute on the ice. I woke up at 6am every single morning to skate, went to school and then back to the ice rink at night. I spent my summers at skating camp and was competitive for almost ten years. Figure skating was my passion.
At 13, I started having extremely bad back pain. I never liked to show it, but eventually it read all over my face and my coach pulled my parents aside and told them to go have it checked out. I was told that I had a slipped vertebrae and a pinched nerve in my back. I was then told that if I didn’t stop figure skating then and there that I wouldn’t be walking by the time I was 30. Like the determined kiddo I was, I was told that I was allowed to keep figure skating if I “kept my feet on the ground”, something that seemed totally impossible because of my love of jumping, but I agreed. Two years later, at 16, I was bored and in pain so I finally hung up my boots.
The next three years, were probably the worst of my life. I ended up quitting figure skating while my Grandmother and Grandfather were, for a lack of a better word, dying. They had always been a strong and important presence in my life so seeing them struggling threw me for a loop. Without skating, the main outlet that I had, I feel into a deep depression and the anxiety that I’ve always suffered from became too much to bear. I spent most of my time working on my social life, and didn’t do anything for my own health, mental or otherwise until I was 19.
At 19, I finally decided to get my act together, I joined a gym and started working with a trainer who was familiar with my injuries. It was great, I was running, lifting weights and feeling pretty good. Until I wasn’t. The back pain that I had been continuing to ignore lead me from chiropractors, to physiotherapists, to orthopaedic surgeons, all who wouldn’t touch me. After a year long wait, I finally stumbled into a specialists office. The specialist took one look at my X-rays and MRIs and told me there was nothing he, or anyone could do, I had 6 slipped discs, degenerative disc disease and nerve damage in my legs. My Mom, partner and I all stared at him, begging him for a suggestion, any suggestion. He told me to join a gym. (Oh, the irony!)
While this was happening, I was also dealing with a general malaise. I woke up every single day with a headache, was taking heavy duty prescription painkillers for my back, I was so depressed that I was sleeping until 6pm and so anxious that I couldn’t leave the house. My skin was sallow, I was constantly tired, my stomach always hurt, my skin always rashy. I felt ugly, not myself. Who was “myself?” My doctor put me on anti anxiety medication after medication which not only didn’t help my emotional health but caused me to completely balloon and develop a whole slew of different insecurities. When people took photos of me, I had no idea who I was looking at. The girl in those photos couldn’t possibly have been me!
I realized that I needed to do something and soon! I started doing yoga almost as a mistake. I bought a yoga dvd because it was on sale for $5 and I thought it would be an easy and fun thing to do. At the beginning, I couldn’t even finish 10 minutes without huffing and puffing and feeling as though I was going to pass out. It was a big discouragement. Over time, I started looking on YouTube for beginner videos that I could do at home, no judgement. My partner bought me a cheapo mat and I would do 20 minutes of yoga once or twice a week. Looking back on it, I suppose that I started yoga strictly hoping that it would help me lose weight, I had developed seriously disturbing eating patterns because of the weight gain from my medication. I realize now, that I was quite literally on the mental path that would save me from my bad habits, and myself.
I continued doing yoga once or twice a week for about a year or so, until I started thinking, “Hey! This is really amazing, look at what I’m accomplishing, everything that was hard is easy now! Let me keep pushing myself and let me see where it can go!” I started doing intermediate videos, then advanced poses. I would take my mat up to the cottage every weekend and just do flows in the forest with all the animals running around, or I would take it to the lake and listen to the waves lap up against the shore.
The more I was doing yoga, the healthier I wanted to be in my life. I had toyed with raw veganism as a way to lose weight (it wasn’t for me), but enjoyed being able to eat a rainbow of food and wanted to avoid using chemical laden products that had been tested on animals, I wanted to live naturally. So I did.
As soon as I began to listen to my body (quite easy to do while practicing yoga) and eating what it needed, when it needed it, everything changed. I was eating fruits and veggies at every single meal and avoiding foods that caused my migraines and eczema to flare. I began eating foods as medicine and went off of all my painkillers and prescription anti-anxiety medication. I was feeling so good! Inside and out! My confidence started coming back. My self worth! Other people had to know about this! I started pouring over books written by nutritionists and felt that every single word was written for me. It wasn’t long until I decided that I would go back to school to become a holistic nutritionist and get my yoga teaching certification so that I could pursue both my passions and help others. Which brings me to this blog.
I write this story (or perhaps overshare) for you to understand that if you have found this blog because you are looking for a way to feel better, I’ve been there and the solution is so simple! I’m here to help you! And if you found this blog because you just crave living naturally, healthfully and true to you, then I’m here to give you a few ideas too!
My goal is for The Om Shanti Life to be a safe space because that is what my mat is to me. I don’t worry about how much I weigh or diets, because when I do yoga, those aren’t the things that I think about. I also will not ever tote a specific “diet” or way of eating. You are the person who knows your body the best. Different bodies need different things. Yoga, eating mindfully and living naturally have completely shifted my perspective! Hopefully they will do the same for you! Instead of looking in the mirror and seeing things I wish that I could change, I look at myself and think about all the amazing ways that my body serves me. I hope that you will feel the same!
The Om Shanti Life is many things. A place for me to post healthy and exciting recipes, share reviews of natural products, suggest practices to improve your life and to talk about all the exciting things in the world of yoga, nutrition and healthy lifestyle that you’re sure to enjoy!
I look forward to sharing this with you!
(Note: I am not currently a registered holistic nutritionist or certified yoga teacher. Those are my goals, however and will definitely keep you updated and discuss my journey to those goals in this blog!)