Natalie has been at the studio for a few years and offered to share her story with us all. She is a self-described "gym rat", but since joining the studio has found that yoga is the ideal activity for her, an active woman who loves exercise and uses it as a tool to manage her health.
Please enjoy Natalie's story in her own words below!
My journey: From gym-rat to yogi!
Having a strong consistent workout routine has been a big part of my life for the last twenty years. Working out to me is non-negotiable. Like daily oral hygiene, it's something that just gets done without hesitation. I workout not only for aesthetic reasons but also because I am a type 1 Insulin Dependent Diabetic. Being physically fit has many benefits to helping me stay healthy in the present and also to avoid complications from this disease.
I've done every form of exercise out there. Running, weight training, cycling, old fashioned aerobic group style classes, mind numbing cardio sessions on stair masters. You name it, I've done it! I've always had a gym membership and usually to facilities that include all of the above. Years and years of high impact aerobics, weight training and running have really taken a toll on my body. Having dealt with issues like tendinitis in my hands and having runners knees, I decided it was time time to start including consistent yoga in my life and for now leaving all other forms of exercise behind. Presently I do not belong to a gym! I have included yoga before but not as a consistent practice until I started a heated practice at Harvest Yoga Studio in Lethbridge.
Every time I do a hot yoga class I feel I leave with so many benefits. I feel so much stronger than I would have from doing bicep curls because I'm engaging multiple muscle groups at one time. The temperature of the room has made me mentally stronger and able to adapt easier to uncomfortable situations, and the mediative aspect has helped me to become less impatient and able to live in the moment. There are many other benefits but that's just to name a few.
Being diabetic and in the 21st century, I manage my life with all sorts of gadgets. I won't get into that to much because that would take a long time, but basically I'm half human, half robot. (cyborg). While in a yoga studio it's frowned upon to have anything in class other than your mat, towel and water, you will see me with my black gadgets that could be mistaken for a smartphone. Sometimes if I run out of my glucose tablets you may even see me with a box of sweet tarts. I also may beep from time to time (cyborg).
Being fully committed to my yoga practice and daily reaping the rewards, I believe there is something in yoga that can benefit anyone, even with extra challenges or insecurities. Harvest is welcoming, friendly, and offers a safe and rewarding practice space for everyone. I feel really fortunate to have this studio so close to me in my community. I love meeting new people and putting names to faces so if you see me in class feel free to say "hi" afterwards!
At Harvest, we offer a monthly Karma yoga class. The purpose of these classes is to raise money for causes close to the heart of our studio. Previous causes have include the DLA Program at Victoria Park High School, which supports students with mental health concerns, and the Feed the Need program, which provides food to those in need throughout the Lethbridge community.
Throughout the spring and summer of 2019, our Karma classes will be raising funds to support one of our practitioners, Jay, and her family in their goal of completing the Kidney March. Please read on to learn more about Jay and her family, and why this cause is close to their, and our, heart.
In 2008, my brother Jimmy was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Granulomatosis with polyangiitis. This autoimmune disease is an uncommon disorder that causes inflammation of the blood vessels in your nose, sinuses, throat, lungs and kidneys. It slows blood flow to some of your organs. The affected tissues can develop areas of inflammation called granulomas, which can affect how these organs work. My brother has been living with the disease since then. There is no cure.
Jimmy was doing well and managing the disease with medication until November 2017 when his kidneys suddenly failed. He was hospitalized and remained there throughout the Christmas season. His kidneys were functioning at less than 6% during this time. He struggled with a few types of dialysis and endured several surgeries. By the new year he was on hemodialysis 3 days a week.
In the new year my mom began getting tested for kidney donation. After several months, and rounds of testing, we found out she was a match! Jimmy had a date set for September 2018. The process came to a crashing halt in the summer when the doctors discovered that Jimmy’s heart was not strong enough to withstand surgery. At this time they were able to switch him to night dialysis and he began taking some new medication in hopes of strengthening his heart. At this time it was functioning at 27%.
In January 2019 our family was blessed when all the stars aligned and my mom successfully donated her kidney to my brother. The two are recovering very well and we are all incredibly thankful for the kidney foundation. The three of us, along with Jimmy’s girlfriend and her sister all decided to participate in the Kidney march this fall!
The Kidney March is a 100km trek in 3 days to raise money and awareness for the kidney foundation. We have started training and we are all incredibly excited for this journey!
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