Glen Campbell has been regularly practicing at Queen Street Yoga for the past two years and has written some wonderful blog posts for the QSY blog about his yoga journey. In this most recent post, Glen shares more about his personal transformation and how he sees yoga as a major part of his learning and growth. We deeply appreciate hearing from students about what the impact of yoga has been on their lives, and we celebrate Glen’s effort and openness to the insights that have come as a result of engaging with the practices of yoga and meditation. We hope you enjoy reading this. Glen told us ,“It comes straight from my heart”.
Every spring, summer and fall my life is filled with many camping trips to my favorite Provincial Parks located throughout Ontario. One of which is Killarney located at the top end of Georgian Bay. Killarney is truly the jewel of the Ontario Provincial Parks. The turquoise colored lakes and two billion year old rock face spread out far and wide can leave you in awe! I get very excited and can feel my heart getting warm whenever I come back. There are many trails and lakes to explore by hiking, biking or canoe/kayaking. One hike I love to do is called the Crack. It is a bit of a hike and climb getting to the top but the view is amazing! Also there is a 26km canoe/kayaking day trip I have come close by canoe but never completed which includes 3 portages with the longest portage of about 500 meters. This will take you into four different lakes from George Lake into OSA lake and from pictures I had seen is spectacular. I thought that this hike and kayaking trip would no longer be available to me due to my heart issues. I was very disheartened to think that some of the things I love to do had possibly come to an end.
Stepping back to the fall of 2014, that was when I decided to really take control of my life. My doctors had advised me of my condition 8 months earlier, and I started seeing positive results from about six months of yoga practice. I decided to dedicate myself to practicing yoga as much as possible. I would get my mind in a very positive place. I would get rid of the extra weight I was caring. I would eat even healthier by educating myself and keep fine tuning the quality of my food intake. I would exercise at least once a day. I would find more ways to be more active like riding my bike to yoga or picking up my favorite tea. I would taper back my business hours. I would do all I can to reduce and manage stress. I was very motivated to avoid a risky surgery and to keep at a minimum or even reduce the medication prescribed to me.
Well my hard work paid off in a big way! Honestly it wasn’t that hard! My yoga practice is the centering factor that helped me achieve my goals. I lost 25lbs in 2015. Currently as of writing this I’m within 6 lbs of my desired weight from when I was in my early twenties. I’m eating a very healthy diet although I do allow myself to cheat sometimes. I feel great in my physical body and in my mind!
After thinking that I might have to give up hiking and kayaking, I did go to Killarney and climbed The Crack and kayaked into OSA Lake in the summer of 2015. I did this along with many other activities with no trouble at all with my heart! I’m very careful and know my limits when I push myself with physical exercise. Sometimes I feel like there is nothing wrong with my heart at all. My family doctor and cardiologist are amazed at how well I’m doing and tell me I’m in great physical shape, Even the staff at Saint Mary’s Cardiac Rehab where I attend every Friday morning are so impressed with my results. My blood pressure is now consistently staying at the lower end of normal (100/60). This is with a very low dose of blood pressure medication which is 75% less than what I was originally taking. I’m thinking I may be able to get off this medication all together soon. My cholesterol level has dropped well within normal range so I am hoping to reduce that medication also.
There are some things that I didn’t see coming as a result of these changes in my life. I have now found myself being much more aware of whom I am. I feel comfortable with whom I am and that I am enough (thank you Carin). I find myself more patient and kind in the way that I interact with family, friends, my customers and even strangers. I’m more connected, engaged and see people in a totally new light. I like to share more now with what’s on my mind and to be in the moment. Although expressing myself is becoming easier, sometimes I’m unsure my words or actions come across properly and end up analyzing it. I’ll keep working at this but I feel that it’s better to try than not at all. Sometimes I like to express myself with a kind word, touch or even a hug. Hugging is difficult and a big challenge for me as at a young age this was not encouraged. There are many walls that are coming down for me that go way back to my early childhood. My childhood doesn’t need to be discussed but I want to say the release I’m feeling is incredible. I could feel this change slowly growing inside of me and I was trying to understand it. I thought the practice of Yoga was somehow magically transforming who I am. I’m now realizing it was always there deep inside and the practice of Yoga is helping to nudge it forward. Something wonderful is happening from within and continues to grow! At times this can feel very scary but I will keep moving forward.
Don’t get me wrong as I have had a great adult life and for the most part very fulfilled. It’s just the fact that I have been living on this planet for over 50 years now and feel like I’ve only just begun to “really start living”. I feel very strongly that I will be able to deal with stress or anything else life throws at me now.
The year of 2015 was a year of great change and growth for me. I initially started yoga to help with my physical health and stress on my cardiologist’s recommendation. What I got was so much more than I anticipated. I remember coming to my first class on Feb 26 2014. I was extremely nervous and when I spoke to anyone my heart was almost pounding out of my chest. Almost two years later now and I feel much more comfortable expressing myself one-on-one or even in a group situation. During class when we break out into kind of a shake/dance to get a release after an intense pose which resembles something like the twist or what Elvis would do on stage. I felt so uncomfortable doing this early on which now feels so awesome! There is so much more I could say than what I can put down on this short blog. I’m always bursting inside to tell a teacher or fellow student of these types of experiences.
My heart filled thanks goes out to all the teachers at QSY. I thank you for your warmth and words of wisdom during class. I often make mental notes and write them down after class to review later for inspiration. My thanks also to all my new friends I have made at the studio. I always enjoy the conversations we have before or after class. I really treasure these moments. What an awesome family to be part of here at Queen Street Yoga! Thank you for allowing and welcoming me to be part of such a wonderful space. It’s so good to be around such positive and warm people. I can’t be away for more than a couple days before finding myself having to get recharged!
I was at first hesitant writing this as to be honest I felt a little nervous to be exposing myself this way. But at the same time I’m dying to share with the world and hope that it will find its way to help inspire someone who may be at some sort of crossroads themselves.
I’m so excited and can hardly wait to see where 2016 and beyond takes me. I have a feeling that this journey has only just begun!
I will be sure to let you know!