From Victim to Survivor

❌TRIGGER WARNING ❌

I’ll start my story at 8 years old. I was living in Albuquerque, NM. My recollection is that we moved there somewhat suddenly from my hometown of Milwaukee, WI. I don’t remember much about New Mexico. I know it was warm, dry, everything moved a little slower. The dirt was red & you could make clay out of it. I remember loving the art & being interested in the culture. I have fond memories of Santa Fe & often think about going back for a visit, when I feel emotionally ready that is…

My memory gets foggy as I try to recall the incident…

I was at school. I was 8. There was a boy that was my age, maybe younger, that would flirt with me. I was totally grossed out, because I was 8 & boys have cooties. He did not take it lightly, there were obviously some issues there. He told his older brothers, at which point I’m assuming they planned their revenge. The rest is a bit of a blur. I remember waking up, somewhere outside on the ground near my school, alone, confused & scared. I felt pain but at the moment I didn’t know why or where it was coming from. I didn’t say a word to my mom when she picked me up. To this day it’s hard for her to talk about so I’m lacking details that only she would remember. We went from school to my grandma’s house, it became impossible to hide any longer as the pain was unbearable. I screamed while using the bathroom & my mom took me to see a doctor. This is the hardest part to talk about. I remember the doctors examining me & asking me questions. When they asked if anyone had touched me I turned & looked at my mom. The look on her face, I’ll never forget it. My mom describes me as catatonic at that moment, but it’s actually my clearest memory of the entire experience. I had been sexually assaulted. At 8 years old, by this boy & all of his brothers.

It would change my life forever. All of my relationships, innocence & stability. The way I trusted, or let’s be honest, my lack of trust in everyone from this day forward. I stopped eating, had horrible nightmares & had a total breakdown. The scar remains but today I am STRONGER because of it. I am STRONGER than my abusers. There was a time when they were winning, when they had full control over my life, but not anymore. Here’s the problem & why I’m now doing what I do for a living, it took from age 8 to my mid-twenties to seek & get the help I needed.

There were very few options presented to me outside of therapy when I was 8 & none of them were tools I could use to become stronger, to get my power back. It wasn’t until I was much older that I not only utilized therapy but also mindfulness techniques. Instead of pushing my feelings down & numbing them, I was recalling everything, every painful detail. I was talking to my mom, doing what I could to get details I so desperately needed to move on. Then I meditated like crazy, journaled about things I wasn’t ready to talk about but was definitely ready to process privately. I learned about how emotions, pain & trauma get stuck in our bodies & cause illness. Then I moved my body, A LOT! Sometimes I’d do yoga & cry harder than I’ve ever cried. It was working its way out of my body. I joined groups so I could talk to other women who had been through what I had. I bought workbooks & did the homework, it was hard but necessary. I listened to podcasts, read books about other people’s stories & just continued to process.

The thing, however, that helped the most, was talking about it with other survivors. There’s something about this process that makes you feel less alone, less foreign, less alien. You start to realize you have a place in the world, a voice, even though you’re “different.” In the last year or so I decided that my story can change other people’s lives. I’ve gotten so many messages from other women who have been through what I have, thanking me for sharing my story. Stories are the fabric of being human. They teach us valuable lessons. They need to be heard, they need to be shared & we need tools to process painful situations vs. stuffing them down or numbing them. We need to open the floor, as a people, a safe space to talk about our traumas & mental illness. No more stigma, no more victim blaming. Every story matters, it’s time to step up & hold space for one another. Over the next few weeks I’m going to share some tools that I’ve found to be incredibly helpful with processing this kind of trauma. 

Last but not least, talk to someone about your story. Someone you trust. A therapist, psychologist, help line, whatever feels safe for you. Message me, that’s why I’m here! Journal about it, get it out on paper, then rip it up or burn it. It feels good, trust me! Join a support group of women who have been through what you have & feel held. Buy workbooks, or just books about this particular trauma & learn how to process your pain in a healthy way. Just know you’re not alone, there are lots of people that care. You can get through this, you can come out the other side stronger, you can get your power back. Be gentle with yourself, it takes time, trust the process. Never hesitate to reach out when things get dark, you are not alone & it does it get better. It will heal, even if you can still see the scar ❤️Stay tuned for tips & stay strong, you are not alone!

Book a session today! You may fill out our contact form, call us at 323-849-0039 or shoot us an email jenna@yoginest.com

Photo by: @heidizumbrun  

Benefits of Breathing Techniques

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing my top 3 breathing techniques. I teach all 3 of these to my new clients. They are easy, accessible & actionable. I think they’re great for beginners & advanced students alike. You don’t have to have any special skills to do these techniques, you just need to know how to breath & I think you’ve probably got that one figured out since you’re reading this. You can do them anywhere & anytime, just like how you’re breathing wherever you are right now. That’s how simple this is. I love doing these breathing techniques lying down but I find they’re very helpful in a pinch; during stressful situations, heavy traffic, when I can’t sleep & when I’m feeling anxious. Breathwork is MAGIC! Keep an eye out for these techniques, they’ll be posted one-by-one over the next few weeks. I’ve added some benefits below.  

→ Improve mental & physical well-being

→ Promotes deep relaxation 

→ Improves emotional state

→ Reduce stress & anxiety levels

→ Can boost immunity

→ Can help you process emotions & heal emotional pain, grief & trauma

→ Can reduce the symptoms of chronic pain, depression & PTSD

→ Help you work through anger issues

→ Can reduce the symptoms of the emotional effects of illness

→ Improves energy levels

Book a session today! You may fill out our contact form, call us at 323-849-0039 or shoot us an email jenna@yoginest.com

Photo by: @jessicaczarneckiphoto

YogiNest’s Mission

YogiNest’s voice is changing! As I grow and change, YogiNest too will grow and change, and that’s exactly what’s happening.

I’ve been working with clients for almost 5 years now & I’ve noticed that the stigma surrounding mental health is VERY REAL & VERY SERIOUS! 

I’ve actually been part of the problem, as my fear and vulnerability has kept me from talking about my own mental health. I’ve talked about why YogiNest exists, or at least why it was created in 2015, but that why is changing. Yes my struggle with Lupus still fuels my desire to help those who might also be struggling with an illness, but the thing that’s calling, screaming rather, for my attention over and over is a lot of unchecked trauma and hidden mental health concerns. Over 90% of my clients are practicing mindfulness with me and most of them have 1 thing in common, they’ve been struggle with unresolved traumatic issues a majority of their life and little has eased their affliction…but guess what…MINDFULNESS IS WORKING!!!

And so this is my mission:

-> To share my story! To be more vulnerable and raw! All of us have a story, all of us struggle from time to time. This is normal and my goal is to normalize the crap out of mental health concerns because enough is enough! You are not broken! And you are not alone!!! 

-> I’ll still be teaching yoga full time BUT mindfulness will be my main focus. My goal is to teach you as many actionable tools as I can. I want mindfulness to be accessible to all. It works!!! I’ve seen it over and over again. 

-> To teach “The YogiNest Method,” 1 part movement, 1 part mindfulness. You need to move your body, it’s important for your mental health. You can physically work out whatever issues are keeping you from your full potential + it feels damn good. You also need to check in with your mental self, this is imperative! Where are you today? Ask yourself without judgment and then use mindfulness tools to work through those feelings. Nothing is more freeing!

-> To be honest, to be organic, to build a strong community that feels safe talking about mental health <—- this is the big one! 

I want to build a community that feels safe, a space that allows you to openly talk about mental health. We’ve all been touched by it, whether from our own internal struggles or watching someone we love struggle. Let this be your safe space to talk about whatever feels necessary to you.

This is a judgment free zone & you are not alone xoxo

Book a session today! You may fill out our contact form, call us at 323-849-0039 or shoot us an email jenna@yoginest.com

Photo by: @heidizumbrun