YOGA SAVED MY LIFE. TWICE.
I came to Yoga injured.
In 1992, I injured my back during crew practice and my coach suggested that I take the on campus yoga classes to heal and stay fit so that I could return next season. I was so inspired and transformed by this physical practice that I never went back to rowing. It wasn't until much later that I learned the deeper practices of Yoga and how it would transform my whole way of navigating this crazy experience we call, Life.
In 2005, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. During that year while on a myriad of medications, I spent a total of one month of my life in the hospital away from my newborn daughter. When the more conventional route for Crohn's management failed to bring me relief, I decided to make some changes. I met with my gastroenterologist and arranged to wean myself off of the medications. We agreed to a one-year trial. I changed my diet and dedicated myself to my mat. At the end of my year, my colonoscopy showed no signs of inflammation, scarring, or any other indications that I had Crohn's disease. My doctors were amazed. I was not.
Yoga is food for my mind, body, and soul.
In July of 2010, I was rushed to the ER unable to speak, shivering, and with a raging-I-think-my-head-is-going-to-explode headache. Once there, we learned that I had spiked a sudden fever of 103. This was the cause of my headache. The physicians spent the next 7 hours working to bring my temperature back down. Based on my initial test results, they determined that I was fine. I was sent home with instruction to return if symptoms worsened.
Two days later, I received a phone call from the ER. They casually explained that I needed to return to the hospital and that I had about 48 hours to live without treatment. I was septic. So it was back to the hospital. After several intrusive exams, it was discovered that I had two bacteria in my bloodstream; my liver and pancreas were failing, and my bile duct was inflamed. I spent a week in the hospital, was released for one week of recovery at home before going back for gall bladder removal surgery.
It wasn't until 2 weeks later during my post-op visit that I learned that what I suffered was a rare combination of ailments; cholangitis and sepsis. When it does occur, 63% of the people afflicted, die from it. My surgeon explained that I had gone in so completely healthy and strong that I was able to be counted among the lucky 37%.
During this ordeal, while still in the hospital, I continued my yoga practice. It felt like the right thing to do. Apparently it was. I believe in the restorative power of yoga and I place that at the forefront of my journey, my practice and my teaching.
MY HEALER'S JOURNEY
I have been studying 'mindful ways of being' for over 25 years. But I have been practicing since I was a child. Coincidently, the story of how I connected with my inner Healer is woven through the lives of my own children.
Step One: Learning to Listen In. When I was struggling with Crohn's and conventional medications, my oldest child was my muse...I wanted her to have a broader perspective of what it meant to be healthy, to be well. So stepping away from conventional methods that weren't supporting my wellness became a no-brainer. Off of medications, I had to learn to 'listen in' and trust myself, trust my inner wisdom.
Step Two: Following my Inner Compass. Fast forward to 2012, my youngest daughter was diagnosed with cancer. I was opened to Reiki so that I might support her on this journey. My daughter is thriving and well today. And this journey guided me to deepen my connection with my inner Healer to support others.
Step Three: Holding Space. As I continued my work to support my community with Reiki, I began to feel a pull at my heart strings...there's more. That inner wisdom that I had woken so many moons ago was urging me to connect to my ancestry, my literal roots, to complete my journey. I had spent 25 years connecting to the Energy from above. It was time to anchor into Mother Earth's resources and gifts. I connected with two Medicine Women who in their words "showed me what I already knew". And I re-discovered the practice of shamanism and the power of Earth Medicine. As a practitioner of both universal and earth medicines, my role as a Medicine Woman is to hold the space between.
I draw inspiration from my children, the quirks of daily life, contemporary writing such as Eat, Pray, Love and The Time Traveler's Wife as well as ancient texts such as the Yoga Sutras and The Bhagavad Gita. I strive to provide inspiration for students to carry with them, on and off their mats, lighting their path along their personal journey towards acceptance of Self. With all my heart...
Erica Nunnally is an experienced certified and registered 500hr Yoga Teacher, a Reiki Master Teacher of the Usui lineage and a Medicine Woman.
Erica is the CEO and Founder of The Bija Institute, an online wellness organization based in Rhode Island. She is the director of the Deep River School of Yoga which offers high level training for people who are called to teach Yoga. She is the creatrix of Sacred Directions, an online 'way finding school’ for women. Sacred Directions offers a pathway for wisdom warriors to traverse as they journey deeper into the sacred spaces within themselves. It is a bespoke healing and collaborative mentoring path that empowers women to resolve lifetimes of fear based choices and reconnect to the full magnitude of their creative and intuitive gifts. And Erica is the author of The Seven Practices, available on Amazon.com and has been featured nationally on Sonima.com and in Gluten Free & More magazine for her work with mindfulness and whole health.
This phenomenal woman is a graduated of Wellesley College and earned her Master’s Degree from Suffolk University also in Massachusetts. She has certifications in meridian yoga through Daniel Orlansky, herbalism through Mary Blue of Farmacy Herb, and is an ordained Minister. Erica is spirited by her teachers who have given much guidance and support over the lifetime of her journey: Rolf Gates, Jacqui Bonwell, Pat Iyer, Shawn Cornelison, Ana Forrest, Barbara Prince, and Nikiah Seeds.
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