My heart smiles when I look at these bikini pictures of myself, feeling so happy and free, on top of a mountain, in a Jeep that is literally as old as I am - 42! I wasn't sure about posting these, but then I thought: "F*** it! I am proud of the way I look and feel right now!" But it wasn't always like this. Four and a half years ago I found myself at a breaking point. Deeply unhappy, in a state of chronic fatigue, stress and physical pain I reminded myself of my mother. My mother died aged 45, from a disease rooted in all of the above. Worried that I will not even make it that far, I was forced to stop. To withdraw. I've descended down to the darkest places inside my mind and allowed my heart to bleed. My whole world as I knew it and my identity shattered at that point. I had no space to maneuver other than to confront what I was facing and allow myself to be vulnerable. I later realised that I underwent a full on identity crisis and subsequent re-evaluation of beliefs about myself and the way I viewed the world. It was at this point that a wonderful and inspiring yoga teacher had come into my life and I got onto her yoga foundation course. Not that I didn't practice before. I had strong beliefs rooted in Buddhism and went to yoga classes religiously for many, many years. But my practice was inconsistent and I felt that I would not be able to commit to anything more until, at least, the age of retirement! Only at that time it was rapidly becoming clear to me that I may not reach that age... I now know that what felt like the lowest point of my life at the time was, in fact, a grace, a blessing, the most magical gift that life could have given me! It facilitated a true healing of my body, mind and soul. I remember discovering a wonderful translation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras by Ravi Ravindra, each chapter resonated with me deeply and cut right through my illusionary knowledge and superficiality. I remember my first realisation of how broken I was right up to that point and what it felt like to begin to feel whole again. Really, truly, genuinely, authentically WHOLE. It felt as if the walls around me, the limiting 'prison' walls built by my ego self to protect itself, have finally collapsed and I stood right in the middle of the rubble completely naked and totally free. Knowing for the first time that I have nothing to fear. Ever. Nothing to fight against - for everything, manifested and un-manifested, is already a part of me, ultimately connected to The Source. I didn't stop at this. I couldn't. I went on and studied yoga on a YTTC for two years at a yoga ashram. More healing followed. More realisations and my true awakening when I felt what LOVE really is. Suddenly everything I've ever read had made sense and I realised that I was never broken in the first place. This illusion is quickly dissolved when you Know that Love is your essential nature. Many things fell away. Daily yoga practice became daily routine, the most important activity of my day. My physical health began to improve. My energy levels became plentiful again. I didn't stop at that. I couldn't. I went on to study Ayurveda. I've learned about the definition of True Health. How our appearance, mood, energy and health are influenced by our lifestyle and diet. I started to apply Ayurvedic principles to my daily life and my yoga practice. My health started to improve more. Managing the pain turned into learning from it. To breathe in its rhythm until it melts away. Accepting rather than resisting. Loving myself in the moment rather than fighting against what already IS. I've learned about plants and herbs and oils. How to love and nurture myself more. I began to apply these principles to my daily life and it began to shine brighter. So here I am, feeling free and happy to be alive, to breathe, to love and well.. just BE in my skin here, on top of the mountain in a Jeep as old as I am!