Your practice, your story – Donna’s tale of transformation

All month we've been collecting members' stories about how yoga has helped you overcome challenges. Here's Donna's story.

Transformation - Donna Armstrong

We asked how practicing yoga helped our members overcome challenges, change limiting beliefs, heal and grow… And we received extraordinary tales of transformation. We’re honoured to share Donna’s story.

Each story is significant and has the power to inspire others – we are yoga practitioners, friends, family, humans… And together we share the happiness and sadness, positivity and challenge, success and loss that have composed the chapters of our yoga stories. This is Donna Armstrong’s story.

From struggle to solace

My yoga journey began about 20 years ago, when I was a stressed-out, exhausted mom of two young boys struggling in an unhappy marriage.

Never the athletic type (it was theatre and music for me), I had drifted from one form of exercise to another since my teenage years: Step classes, Jazzercize, P90X, treadmill, elliptical – I tried them all.

When my youngest started pre-school I had a few free hours (oh joy!) and found a local yoga studio. Tucked in the back of a gym full of weightlifters, I discovered a quiet, dimly lit space that exuded peace and calm.

I’ll admit, the first practice was completely alien to me. The music, the names of the poses, “breathing through my back”?? It was strange yet wonderful and I couldn’t wait to go back. On that borrowed yoga mat I was not a mom, wife, daughter or employee. I was MYSELF, and boy had I missed being me.  

Several relocations and one divorce later, I had drifted away from the mat (and myself again). 

Depression and disappointment

Depression and disappointment replaced what little peace I had achieved. I couldn’t afford classes even though several new studios had opened by the time I moved back to my hometown, so I started my home practice. My mat welcomed me back and I found some level of calm and self again.

Then one day, I discovered I’ll never forget that first free class I took with Esther. She had such a quiet presence that stilled the anxiety I constantly carried inside me. The first time I heard the phrase “monkey mind” I knew I had found my people.

EkhartYoga has seen me through new love, a remarriage, and a surprise late-in-life son.

Healing and solace

The amazing teachers were a constant source of strength as my husband and I worked through his alcoholism, rehab, and recovery. I don’t know if I would have made it through without my Ekhart family. Those yoga practices were more healing than any Al-Anon meeting I ever attended during those dark days.

I found solace in classes such as Irina Verwer’s Trauma Recovery Practice and many of Sandra Carson’s trauma release sessions. Beautiful Anat Geiger taught me to quiet my mind and “fly my dragon.” Esther Ekhart’s classes were a constant source of peace and gentleness.

Today, I sing the praises of EkhartYoga every chance I get

Need more exercise? EkhartYoga.  Need stress relief? EkhartYoga. Chronic pain?  EkhartYoga.
Sure, some people think I’m weird because I practice yoga, but you know what? I wouldn’t want to be any other way.

~ Donna, USA

Throughout June, we’re sharing stories of transformation from members of our EkhartYoga community leading up to a special class with Esther on International Day of Yoga 21st June. We invite you to follow along on Facebook and Instagram or via our weekly newsletter.

Register here for Esther’s free yoga class. We’ll send you the link to the class on 21st June 2022

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EkhartYoga Written by one of the EkhartYoga staff or guest writers. A dedicated team of yoga teachers, yoga students, anatomy geeks, and recipe creators.