You Are Your Own Change: Shawna Santi 

“My yoga practice just started as this workout to get in shape, and the gradually became my happy place — evolving into a practice that is the best of both worlds for me. The physical part of it is wonderful, but it ultimately became my coping mechanism. I’ve gone off and on to therapy and back and forth with anxiety for what feels like forever. It wasn’t so much my own personal issues weighing me down, but what was weighing on me from the ones closest to me. I have a five-year-old daughter, and I found myself struggling a lot of the time and way too distracted when I needed to be more present for her. Yoga has helped me be more present, and not miss a moment with her. 

I had spent so much time over the years discussing my life in therapy. A bit over a month ago I made the transition to stop going — I didn’t need it. My regular yoga practice provided me with what I needed, and I fell in love with it. Yoga has given me the tools I need to cope with whatever obstacle I might be facing. Before, when I found myself wound up and overwhelmed — talking about things week to week helped me look at it all in a different way. I felt like I could let it all out in my sessions, but strangely enough, it didn’t really make me actually feel better. While it did make me feel lighter expressing openly how I felt, I was sort of left with a ‘What now?’ feeling. 

With yoga, I don’t have to verbalize what’s going on, yet still feel like I can let things go. Yoga enables me to work through anything on my own in a completely different way — using my head and my body. It constantly teaches me patience for the addictions my loved ones are fighting and how to be in the moment — in as many moments of the day that I can be with my little girl. For the hour you’re in class, you don’t have to focus on all of the craziness and chaos around you, unlike in therapy where you sort of dwell on it. Sometimes after therapy I would feel drained, because it took so much out of me to explain what I was going through. With yoga, there is no explaining, you’re just simply there in that moment. I always leave feeling refreshed and with takeaways that make me feel like I can tackle whatever comes next. 

After reading the 40 Days to Personal Revolution book, and going through the program, a lot of it touched home for me. Yoga can be very emotional if you’re taking things with you to yoga. 

I love my yoga studio, Yoga Body Shop so much, and everyone there is so incredible — you can feel their sincerity and their stories as you practice. Just listening to our teachers speak during class saying exactly what you need to hear, practicing the breathing techniques, and just each class — every single time there has totally changed everything for me. I leave the studio and everything that was going wrong before now seems manageable. I wanted to be able to share that with others, so I decided to sign up for teacher training. I want to be able to show everything yoga’s given me to someone else.” — Shawna Santi 

Follow Shawna’s story on Instagram: @shawnaleigh_ 

This interview was conducted by Jen Morabito of The Self Stories; providing yoga practitioners with the opportunity to share their stories as they realize and live in the infinite benefits of the physical asana practice of yoga, meditation, self inquiry & realization. Read more of The Self Stories here.