My name is Valerie Williams, I am 26 years old and a 200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher from Cleveland, Ohio.
Yoga has saved my life.
I met yoga as a college sophomore in 2014. I never would have thought I would be saying it saved my life in 2020, but there is no statement more truthful. I was a senior in college completing my Bachelor’s degree when I learned I was pregnant. While having my first child was a rush of excitement; it was a rush of stress, anxiety and insecurity as well. I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety, masking much of the pain I was going through. No one around me knew I was struggling because I had made a habit of numbing myself and pushing through. It was a lonely and confusing time for me. I lost so many friends and family to mental illness that I was fearful of losing myself too. So, I found yoga again.
Yoga was gentle. It was accepting and ready to meet me right where I was. There was no judgement, no prerequisite, no expectation. I knew I needed help and yoga showed me the light at the end of the tunnel. I found a yoga studio in my area and started taking classes with the owner. Unbeknownst to her, I cried after almost every session. I knew I was where I needed to be. In Fall of 2019, I saved every penny I had to put down a deposit on Yoga Teacher Training. For 6 month, I dedicated my life to the practice of yoga. The journey was hard. The self-awareness was crippling at times. I questioned myself so many times, I wondered if I even deserved to BE a yoga teacher. But I kept hearing my late father’s voice in my ear telling me DONT GIVE UP.
In March of 2020, I graduated from The Studio Cleveland with my certificate. And BOOM, COVID-19 happened. I could not believe it. I had did all of this work, paid all of this tuition just to not be able to teach. It crushed my spirits and I felt stuck. Little did I know, I was so lucky to have that time to apply everything I learned to my own life. I worked diligently on myself until the Cleveland weather started to transition, and I was able to begin teaching outdoors and virtually. Since the Summer of 2020, I have been blessed to teach over 250 hours of yoga; specifically to families of color and underserved communities in the Cleveland area. I have worked with all shades and backgrounds, all levels of income and physical abilities. I have introduced the practice of yoga to so many Black people in my community, which was my original goal. I have taught children of all ages and the elderly. I have made an impact in the lives of so many people that look like me. I have spent so much of my life searching for my purpose, but I know now that I have found it.
Which is why I want to further my education and travel to Peru in July of 2021 to become a 500-Hour Advanced Teacher. This course is a month long and it will be my first time out of the country. I want to start this journey now while my son is still small, so that I don’t have to leave him when he is older and can remember. This training is also through my yoga teacher/studio, so I will be surrounded by people I feel safe and comfortable with. I don’t know when I will have the opportunity to do this in the future (especially with the teacher who trained me), so I want to secure my future now. Traveling out of the country has always seemed out of reach for this Cleveland girl, so I am asking for your help. This world needs more yoga, more healing and more peace. I am asking you humbly to help me make that happen!
Any amount is greatly appreciated and know that the universe will repay you tenfold. ✨ (goal includes full program cost, airfare, registration renewal and childcare costs associated with my absence.)
- Leah Jones
- Ondrea Imbo
- Deiahna Garner
- David Dissell
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