It’s the summer of 2013. I remember being sat in my kitchen reading a book about anxiety and the science behind it and the penny had dropped! Finally. I understood what was happening to me and why I felt the way I did. I realise now that I had become incredibly unhappy but was also just beginning to look after ‘me’. I was smiling on the outside but crying inside.
I had taken on a second job as an administrator in an office during November of that year. I had a feeling it was something that I needed to do. This job fitted in perfectly around school runs etc. Due to personal circumstances I had decided to reduce the number of classes I was teaching. It was becoming too much to do both jobs and to be wife and mother at the level I wanted to.
That winter was incredibly difficult, emotionally. Anxiety was at an all time high. By mid January I had attained the status of single mother. Separated. “Not again.” I thought, feeling like a complete failure. However, being a person that will hunt down my silver lining, I knew that it could be a whole lot worse.
I was heartbroken but in a strange way, also relieved.
It came to a point that I made the decision to stop my one remaining fitness class. I had got to a point of overwhelm. Not only did I have to deal with my own emotions but those of the children too. They were all under 10 at the time. I reluctantly made the decision to lay down instructing until further notice. I felt incredibly sad about it and felt that I was letting people down and that I’d lost a part of me. However, I knew in my heart of hearts that this was the right thing to do for myself and for my precious little ones.
I carried on with my admin job. For a time, it was good. I didn’t have to ‘think’ too much about work related things. No class planning, choreography, registers, e-mails and the like. I had a handful of lovely friends. Some worked with me and I’d known for years. They knew that I was going through the mill. They have been my rock. Having a great friend who has your back through thick or thin is a blessing. I had more than one! “Don’t worry Simmone, you’ll get back to it at the right time” one of them said to me. Deep down I knew she was right but couldn’t see the woods for the trees.
Fast forward a year or so and I had begun to heal inside. Each month that went by, life got a little easier. Ironically, the anxious feeling that I had seemed to have evaporated. I felt more engaged with myself and my kids. (After the initial 3 months of drinking red wine and singing and snot-crying along to Beyoncé and Paloma Faith at the top of my voice of course!) I allowed myself to grieve.
I spent time with friends, spent weekends away reconnecting with some of them, when the kids went off every other weekend with their father. It was a time of change, new beginnings and letting things go. Not ridding, just letting go. I had started practising mindfulness meditation which I struggled with to begin with but it got easier with practice.
I missed teaching so much. I missed seeing my ladies week after week. Seeing them become fitter, happier and stronger. I missed boot camps on a Sunday morning in the pouring rain and kneeling down in the mud and seeing ‘Grrr’ faces. It was always great to chat before and after classes. One lady told me quietly how coming to Zumba Fitness Classes had helped to boost her confidence and she was grateful. This was humbling. Another would always be in the car park waiting for me to arrive and open up the hall at one venue. She would be there WHATEVER the weather. I could go on. My last class I taught, I held it together just about, until the very end when I played ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.
Time passed. I took a six month break from social media ( and survived! no FOMO at all!) I eventually plugged in again. I kept seeing a new class popping up on Facebook.
What’s this VeraFlow that I keep seeing? I don’t get it. I want to get it. The creator is Naomi di Fabio. She was one of the trainers on my Zumba Kids (Zumbatonic) training course.
I watched the video and thought I’d love to go to a class. Stretching and mindfulness. This sounded right up my street and just the thing I needed. Going from an active job to a job that involved a lot of sitting meant that my body started to get aches and pains. That coupled with stress and anxiety. It was a shock to the system.
Vera means ‘true’ in Italian. Naomi being part Italian…Ah, I got it! “Moving you to find your true flow”
Call it coincidence but one of my self-development books I was reading at the time was called “Flow: The Psychology of Happiness” and I was in pursuit of it! I kept looking at the video clip of VeraFlow and that knowing feeling inside would spark. I had to do this! The only way would be to do the training myself because I couldn’t find a local class. I procrastinated but eventually decided to book the training when one had come up locally. Surely, that was a sign. I felt out of my depth as I hadn’t instructed a class for a couple of years and felt physically and emotionally unfit. It was a challenge. Plus I hadn’t been to a class but nonetheless jumping in at the deep end was my only option if I wanted to try it.
I signed up to the course, did the online study, sent my requested credentials and refreshed my anatomy and physiology knowledge. I passed the theory and booked onto the practical day.
I went along feeling incredibly nervous but chose to be brave! I loved the practical day, meeting Naomi again and the other soon to be VeraFlow instructors some of whom I had met before. The music was great. The movement was great. Momentarily, I thought what had I let myself in for? I can’t do this! I felt as stiff as a board and so unfit but if felt so good to move again. Intentionally.
I would describe VeraFlow as a class with the main focus on stretching, relaxation and mindfulness amongst other many potential benefits that comes with regular attendance. We practised guided mindfulness meditations, taking it in turns to lead. When it came to being the participant, I had to let go. Lying down after stretching to music, covering up under a light blanket through the mindfulness meditation, made my eyes well up as Naomi guided us, accompanied by lovely, gentle, calming music. It took everything in me not to break down for so many reasons. Respite from constantly thinking about my pending divorce, the reality of being a single parent of three, being in a stressful job that didn’t make me happy amongst other things like remembering that feeling of loving my role as a fitness instructor, the joy and restoration that comes to body and soul through movement…..especially dancing. It’s cathartic and brought a release.
Yes! This was something that I’d been looking for but in my opinion, there is nothing else like VeraFlow. Yoga and Pilates have their place as do all the other fitness disciplines that we have to choose from….but this was different.
I thoroughly enjoyed my practical training day. I was so nervous about the whole thing but was glad I had the intestinal fortitude to do it anyway. I am the 100th VeraFlow instructor worldwide. VeraFlow brought ‘me’ back to realising what I love doing and for that, I am so grateful.
The next day….I was walking like Bambi! Seriously, ouch! My muscles had been woken up! Though my body was sore, I had a smile on my face and an awakening inside. The muscle soreness would subside. I could see it, feel it, that I would in time, take up instructing despite of how I felt right then. Confidence and self-esteem lacking but that would improve. Encouraging myself to take this step gave me hope. It would be different this time. More life experience had grown me, tested me and stretched me. (In this case quite literally stretched me!)
It took me a year to start teaching VeraFlow but it was the class that brought me back to the the job I love. I was patient with myself and didn’t want to force anything. I cannot express enough in words how much VeraFlow has done for me. To understand VeraFlow is to experience it first hand. I think that it is the best way to fully appreciate it. I’ve become more flexible, stronger, more toned and increasingly more mindful and benefited in other ways. I absolutely love teaching this class. I understand that not all exercise programmes are for everyone but VeraFlow is definitely for me and possibly for you too. It’s become a part of my self-care. It makes me happy to do it, teach it and see how it brings others joy too. Don’t try it just once, try it a few times and give it a chance. Give you a chance and see what happens.
I have plans to teach more classes in the near future. So keep an ear open for updates. You can message me via the contact page if you’d like me to keep you updated.
If you are local to me, come along to class and say ‘hi’.
To find a class local to you, take a look on www.veraflow.com where all the instructors are listed with their classes worldwide.
Like me, it could be just what you are looking for.
Did I mention how much I love VeraFlow?
Love and Light,