Name: Tina Lever
Hometown: Originally Comox,
Currently living in Coquitlam
Tina Lever is a sweet and fearless woman. With a big heart and a sensitive soul, Tina shares candidly about insecurity, depression, her resistance to starting a yoga practice and the love & joy she's developed as a direct result of sticking with it. Tina's bravery continually inspires me & I'm grateful to call her a friend.
Share a bit about yourself:
What brought me to yoga was my doctor. After years of failed attempts at multiple forms of treatment for motor-vehicle accident related injuries, he urged me to try yoga. He had recommended it repeatedly, but I was so overwhelmed with fear, feelings of self doubt and embarrassment. What if I wasn't good enough? Or what if people watched how bad I was? Or what if I couldn't touch the floor? Or even worse, what if it hurt? Even when my doctor really pushed me to start, it still took me several months to build up the courage to go.
My love of yoga was not immediate either, if it weren't for the instructor I had, I probably wouldn't have gone back after the first month (I'm not sure I ever told her that). However, fast forward to today, and it's a whole different story. I continue to practice yoga not only for the physical benefits, but the mental and emotional benefits as well. I believe I was depressed for quite some time, but I had never gone to see anyone about it. I had thoughts of self harm and felt unworthy to be on this earth. I was too ashamed to admit this to myself, let alone someone else, so I never did anything about it. One of the unexpected and truly gratifying experience from yoga has been the mental shift that came with my practice. While I still do have feelings of sadness and self-doubt, I know I deserve to be on this planet. I am able to self-regulate, calming myself and reminding myself that I have purpose and I find enjoyment in life! I have learned to embrace my body and how it feels each individual day. One day my head may touch the floor in a wide legged forward fold, but the next day it may not, and that's ok! And what I love most about yoga is that it is a never ending journey. There is always room for improvement and growth and something new.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am working myself. This is a continual journey with some trivial things like a building a stronger core and saving money, and I would also love to do more travelling to see the world. But two of my biggest goals right now are not to let other peoples actions affect my mood, and to spread kindness. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I think of myself as a naturally kind person and the world surprises me some days. Today, for example, I was in the pet store buying cat food. There was an older lady in front of me who couldn't carry everything she bought. She wasn't struggling with the weight of it, she just simply couldn't carry it all. So she left a bag at the counter and said she would be back. After I purchased my item and was on my way out, I grabbed her bag and met her at her car with it. She was so appreciative and surprised by the gesture. It's a natural action for me, but what surprises me is how surprised others are when receiving kindness or help. The world would be a much better place if we could all just learn to get along. In regards to not letting other people's actions affect my mood, the breathing techniques and mediation methods I have learnt and practice through yoga are helping me to be more in control of my own emotions.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your yoga journey?
One thing I also want to touch on is all the fantastic people I have met through yoga, and all the support I have been given. Yes, there are the stereotypical "perfect yogis" out there, but even they are willing to help. And even if their not, I have grown enough not to care if they are watching or judging. I feel the connections I have made through yoga are genuine and I am truly thankful of this journey for all it has brought me.
The photos I chose to represent the Real me:
One was on top of a mountain in Jamaica. I enclose this picture because it really embodies my yoga journey. This was a time where I literally and figuratively felt on top of the world. I have yoga to thank for this, so it only seems appropriate.
The second photo is one my sister captured of me and my new baby niece. I chose this one to reflect the love I feel. Before yoga, I was not able to love myself. The love I now feel for others would not have been possible without first learning to love myself.
A Real Yogi, Tina like all of us is still a work in progress. Here's something she shared shortly after writing this:
I thought of something silly that you might get a kick out of. I normally go to Monday night yoga class at the gym. But this Monday I had a massage and missed class. So I figured I would give Thursday a try and see what that class is like. But as I'm about to go in, I experience a nervous feeling. Even though I have done yoga for a while now, I still get nervous when I don't know who the instructor is going to be. Silly me!