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Getting Personal

By Paige Bradley-Pecoul

THU OCT 24, 2019

In order for me to share with you how well these habits have served me, I’m going to need to give you a little backstory. If I turned the clock back one year, I would find myself preparing to go on an 8 day trip to DisneyWorld. I would tell you then that I was in pretty decent shape from practicing yoga for years, that I was still trying to be someone who meditated every day but fell short a lot of the time, that I was peri-menopausal and using that to explain away a lot of symptoms that I would rather not discuss, but that overall, I was doing a pretty decent job of aging and continuing to show up for myself.

The trip to Disney threw me into a bad habit loop that included staying up too late, and drinking too much coffee to get going in the morning. I brought these habits home with me, and layered in skipping my morning workout more often than not because I was waking up tired and reaching for coffee…....

Christmas rolled around and I found myself face to face with the reality that this would likely be the last Christmas my father would be with us. Each night during that trip home, my brothers and I would open a bottle of wine and sit around discussing the situation. I brought this habit home with me and let it carry me into the new year.

I began having trouble sleeping. I would fall asleep but could not stay asleep. I began waking up with anxiety in the mornings. The symptoms of peri-menopause were becoming more prevalent and intense. I gained weight. My face broke out and I had eczema in patches on my arms and legs. My digestion was unpredictable. I was grumpy, and sluggish, and overall, suffering from my habits. I recognized it but felt too emotionally volatile to really do anything about it except stay in the cycle.

On Valentine’s Day, another blow landed. My husband received a diagnosis that rocked our world. My 46 year old black belt husband was facing a serious health crisis, and was going to be down for awhile. We braced for the uncertainty of the tough time ahead.

I definitely felt overwhelmed. I was scared of what Todd would have to go through and how it would impact our lives and the lives of our daughters. I was torn between going home to spend time with my dad while I could, and being around to support Todd. I was feeling my daughters’ fear and anxiety. It was a lot of intense emotions at once. My temptation was to go under in fear and anxiety. Luckily, in the days that followed that shocking news, I had a moment of clarity. I realized that if I was going to be able to support Todd, show up for our girls, be strong for my mom, and not lose myself in these crises, I was going to need to change course. I pivoted to get back to what I knew. I committed to taking meticulous care of myself.

The next morning I went to the track by my house and walked off some of my anxiety. This became my new morning ritual. One morning not too long after I started turning myself around I came across a podcast on the habits of yogis with Cate Stillman. It was everything I needed to hear. I listened closely. Then, I got in my car, and drove to the bookstore to buy her book, “Body Thrive”. I sat down and nearly finished it that day. It took me back to many things I already knew, thanks to my yoga background, but in a way that felt like leveling up.

These habits were exactly what I needed to arrive at the level of self care I would require during this difficult time. I started getting up earlier to observe the practices. I started going to bed earlier to be rested enough to get up early to do the practices. These practices became a source of stability during the most difficult months of my life. Though my days were unpredictable, my mornings and evenings had a structure that made me feel as if everything was not out of control. I found that I was not only accessing enough energy to get through the demands of each day, but that I was becoming emotionally more resilient. Day by day, I got stronger mentally, emotionally, and physically. I was becoming the steadiness everyone around me needed.

Not only that, but I could feel my body detoxifying, and healing itself. I lost weight, my acne and eczema cleared up. My digestion regulated. I slept well. My anxiety leveled off. I had access to joy even during this difficult time. I was onto something and starting to think that if this worked so well for me, how it may help my family and community.

In July, two days before Todd’s final treatment, I went home to be with my father during his final hours. It was an experience I can’t say I would have been able to commit too before, but I was in such a place of grounded steadiness, I knew I could do it. In the days that followed his passing, while the family gathered to say goodbye, I continued to live the habits. Their impact and potency was clear. I knew I would live this way because I wanted to sustain the benefits I was receiving on a daily basis.

I now clearly understand the impact of my habits on my life and my health. Bad habits led me into health issues, weight gain, anxiety, and emotional turmoil. Good habits led me to smooth digestion, abundant energy, mental and emotional stability. I feel in integrity with my body, and more attuned to life as a yogi than ever.

Learning to align my daily routines with the rhythm of nature and the healing science of Ayurveda has improved my life on every level. I have no doubt that it will have the same impact on others who may be struggling with sleep issues, weight issues, immune issues, inflammatory issues, or a combination of the above. In that spirit, and because I felt compelled to learn more about why and how this works, I joined Cate Stillman’s community as a student of Ayurveda and Yoga Health Coaching. Yoga Health Coaching is my new career because I want everyone I meet to have access to the experience I have had since fully adopting this lifestyle. If I can guide one person through habit shifts that bring them out of health issues, anxiety, grief, or lack of integrity, I will be fulfilled.

What I have learned is that we are what we do, and if what we do aligns us to the rhythms of nature, we can be a better version of ourselves, one that is healthier and more vitally alive. I cannot wait to share the power of Ayurveda and the habits of yogis with you.

PS- Todd is on the other side of treatment and doing well. He is adopting the habits, healing, and moving in the direction of thrive. His health is a top priority for us now!