Chelsea is a 200 RYT Yoga Teacher, initially trained in Vinyasa Style Yoga through Reflexions Yoga Studio, in Penticton, BC in 2017. Chelsea practiced for years through this studio before making the jump to do their 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. During this time she also worked at the front desk of the studio, and volunteered as a student teacher with a focus on Restorative and Kids Yoga Classes. She found being able to train and mentor in these different dimensions at the studio really helped her to get the most out of the teacher training experience.
Another element that Chelsea found affected her training and deepened her understanding of yoga was shortly after she signed on for her training she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that caused her to lose a pregnancy. She dealt with this loss with the support of her fellow students and mentors at the studio, and found yoga to be a profound practice during the experience of grief, surgery and later 6 rounds of chemotherapy. Then, two weeks after her final treatment, she was on her way home from an Oncologist’s appointment when a pickup truck crossed the line and demolished her car. It was a miracle that she survived, even so her left side was crushed in the accident, and she had to undergo multiple surgeries to rebuild her left leg and arm with plates and screws, and she also experienced a traumatic brain injury.
One of Chelsea’s first concerns upon waking up in the hospital would be whether or not she could continue on her journey of becoming a yoga teacher. Her mentor came to visit her hospital bed one day, and Chelsea cried when she explained to her teacher that she was wheelchair-bound for several months and would have to relearn how to walk and perform other rehabilitative tasks, her surgical team did not think could not do even the most basic of yoga poses for a minimum of 6 months. She remembers her yoga teacher leaning in and telling her “you are so lucky, because now you are going to really understand the true work of yoga!”
Yoga in Sanskrit means to unite the body, mind and spirit. Chelsea found that while she couldn’t practice the physical postures of yoga, she was able to apply her focus onto the breathwork, emotional and spiritual aspects of yoga. She had many opportunities of feeling trapped in her body, with extreme physical pain, dizziness and nausea from her head injury. Being able to use the calming techniques she had learned in Yoga began to give her a sense of control over what was happening in her body. She reflects now that she is so grateful to have started her teacher journey prior to her health struggles, as it provided an alternative pathway forward where she could practice her new skills immediately in the face of pain, grief, mobility challenges and more.
Her recovery was fast, and she believes this was in part due to her understanding of physical anatomy, breathwork practice and she had begun a series of ‘bed yoga’ poses where she was able to exercise and stretch elements of her body even before she was given the go-ahead to be mobile. She had to take a break from the physical aspect of yoga teacher training, but also found a way to make this into an opportunity - she attended the following year’s teacher training and was able to participate in additional hours of training as a mentor to the other students in this way.
Since graduating the 200 hour program, Chelsea has attended additional training including Pain Care Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra through Semperviva Yoga in Vancouver. She has studied with Nicki Doane and Bernie Clark, doing intensives in Maya and Yin Yoga, respectively. She has also done Qi Gong Teacher Training through Michael Smith of Soma Dao Qi Gong. Chelsea has also completed several complimentary trainings, such as Somatic Movement, Neuro-Dynamics, and her background prior to Yoga is as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and Student Herbalist.
Chelsea worked for 10 years in Mental Health doing front line and outreach work in the community. Her client base had limited access to resources, and so her work in researching methods of community-based wellness kept leading her back to Yoga and other practices that could create a sense of control over the body and give coping tools to people struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction, insomnia and many other complaints. While she is no longer practicing as a nurse, she continues to look at life’s issues through a holistic lens, and sees Yoga - the effort to unite body with breath & mind with spirit - as being a very real, affordable and accessible tool for many people to add to their wellness practices.