Andrea Lee has always been involved in sports, but as athletes know, the lifestyle of competition can take its toll on certain aspects of your life.
Though she lived a generally healthy lifestyle, like many, Andrea found it difficult to manage her stress levels at university and early into her career as a pharmaceutical sales rep. At the time, Andrea had an uncle who practiced yoga and suggested she give it a try to help balance her stress level.
However, her first few classes were a struggle. As someone with an athletic disposition, struggling at something new can be frustrating.
During one of her first experiences with yoga, trying to manage her frustration and control her breath, Andrea found herself struggling to create and maintain balance. At the pinnacle of this frustration her instructor used the quote ‘Be the change you want to see’. This empowering Gandhi quote was this was a turning point for Andrea. It is within our control create and maintain balance, mind body and spirit. Eventually, Andrea decided to take her first yoga teacher training. Her teacher was our own Ruth Dargan, who taught in Oshawa at the time.
Ruth did an excellent job of incorporating the spiritual side of yoga. She would help us self-explore and push past the deeper boundaries to better understand SELF.
One of the big things Andrea took away from her first teacher training was that inner peace couldn’t be achieved by some external force. For Andrea, yoga was a tool to find and maintain internal peace and balance.
“We’re all drawn to yoga, instructors and styles based on where we are in our life. Don’t feel you have to cling on to a specific instructor or one set discipline of yoga. In every experience there is a difference lesson to learn. Every instructor will have a new tool to add to your tool belt of possibilities. You’re going to change and evolve, so you might as well be open to it.”
The healing Andrea felt through yoga also allowed her to feel a deeper connection to her calling of helping people. Out of university, Andrea was working as a pharmaceutical sales rep, but soon, she realized her desire to work in holistic medicine.
Andrea pursued Osteopathy, because her background in yoga and business seemed to be a natural fit. In both yoga and Osteopathy, the key is finding alignment between body, mind and emotions. Finding proper alignment in the body ensures proper function.
In Osteopathy and yoga, the emphasis is on creating a healthy body before problems arise. Andrea would rather prevent an issue before working to solve a problem. Andrea’s proactive approach to healing can help with a wide range of ailments, but preventative and rehabilitative.
Andrea works with a lot of athletes who usually get strains from the repetitive motions of their sports. She’s located in Toronto, so she also works with a lot of desk workers who have neck and back issues.
However, she doesn’t just help people with sore joints or muscles. Sore joints or other issues in the body can be an indicator of other things going on. Emotional stress could cause tightness in your neck, which in turn causes tightness in your shoulder. One alignment issue can lead to other alignment issues causing all kinds of physical and emotional disruptions in the body.
“The thing about these ‘conditions’ is they all come from some sort of imbalance…. You might find your chronic migraines came from an ankle sprain and the following chain of injuries.”
Andrea finds yoga a terrific treatment to prevent the long lasting effects of injuries and strains.
“I’m not a trainer, I don’t give exercises. But I do give people stretching homework. Since I am also a yoga teacher I can give people sequences based on what I see.”
In the case of desk workers, Andrea prescribes yoga stretches like the ones in the following video. Depending on what the patient is dealing with, Andrea’s anatomical knowledge from both Osteopathy and Yoga can be effective treatments.
“I truly believe that yoga in itself is therapy. I believe the universe draws us to whatever we need at the time that we need it.”
The beauty of both Osteopathy and Yoga is how the treatments empower people to help themselves by getting to learn their own bodies and find their own balance. Andrea’s suggested stretches can open people’s bodies and minds to new experiences and paths to healing.
“That’s what drew me into yoga in the first place. What I loved was knowing how to create MY OWN balance and not have to rely on somebody else.”
Andrea’s workshops at this year’s conference will show how you can apply Osteopathic principles to your own yoga practice. A deeper understanding of anatomy and alignment will give you a deeper understanding of the body’s proper functions. Learn more about Andrea’s use of yoga as therapy in broad terms or take her specialty course in yoga for athletes and yoga for people with anxiety and depression.