I first met my dear friend Kelly in Bali, Indonesia where we were both attending the Yoga Union 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training. Over the next twenty-three days, Kelly and I got very close. We had different stories, but connected through the pain we had both experienced. When given the idea to interview other Yoga Instructors for my blog, I thought of Kelly as being an interviewee. This is her story.
Kelly was married to an Australian man that she had met at her work in Doha, Qatar. Though when they first met Gavin and Kelly did not get along well as their positions at work clashed, but eventually they fell in love and got married. After the wedding Kelly decided she would try Yoga, and decided on Bikram, or Hot Yoga. She had no idea what to expect as she didn't know anything about Yoga, but she ended up throwing up after the class as she had exerted too much energy during the class. Kelly was absolutely soaked “from the inside of [her] soul”.
Kelly was in pain for three days after this first class, and her husband was worried about her. They had both expected her to be relaxed as they did not know it could be so difficult. This lead to her to continue to take Hot Yoga classes every other day and begin her Yoga journey. She absolutely loves Yoga now and finds it incredibly exciting to talk about. She loves talking to her fellow Yogis because they fully understand what Yoga entails. They understand that the process and progress is incredibly inspiring and motivating. They also understand that each day is different, and one day you could have your forehead to your knee, but the next day be nowhere close, and that the process isn't linear, but full of ups and downs and daily changes.
Kelly continued to take Yoga classes, and eventually Gavin began to understand more of what Yoga was about. At this time, Kelly was in her late 20's and was feeling amazing, but then Gavin got sick. Gavin was from Australia and thoroughly enjoyed the sun. Unfortunately, the sun enjoyed his skin as well, and Gavin was diagnosed with cancer, Melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer.
Gavin went back to Australia after this diagnosis, but Kelly at first remained in Doha. Kelly continued to practice Yoga, despite being in a negative mental headspace, which thoroughly helped her during this difficult time. The cancer continued to grow in Gavin's body, and Kelly moved to Australia to be with him. She was knowledgeable enough at this point to continue her Yoga practice at home while Gavin was sleeping to keep herself centred and grounded. Kelly also began meditation during this time as well.
Unfortunately, Gavin passed away shortly after she moved to Australia. Kelly was absolutely devastated. She continued to drink as she used to when she was with Gavin, and stopped practicing Yoga for an entire year. Kelly was grieving. She made the decision to return to Manilla, her ancestral home, to spend time with her family and friends. Kelly's days and nights were filled with avoidance, over-indulging, and spending money to avoid her grief. Kelly was also continuing to tell herself that Gavin was offshore and busy working, and that was why he was not messaging her back.
Kelly was very angry at this point. One day Kelly “snapped” on her Mother and made her cry. Kelly's Mother is a very sweet woman whom is loved by everyone. This was a turning point in Kelly’s life: she felt horrible and knew things had to change. She went and saw a doctor who diagnosed her with clinical depression. The doctor prescribed her anti-depressants, however, Kelly's mother-in-law, who is a nurse, advised her to try something natural instead.
Kelly then travelled back to Australia. Her mother-in-law took her to the house that she (Kelly) and Gavin had lived in. The new home-owners were kind enough to let them in the home to see that it was different, that things had changed. This moment helped her to accept that Gavin was indeed gone. She described this as cold water being thrown on her with the realization that “this is not [their] house anymore.” Seeing a completely different interior was very overwhelming for her, and really did help her to accept the present. They then went to the place where they spread Gavin's ashes. Her mother-in-law was instrumental in helping her to accept reality and try to start to move forward.
Kelly moved back to Doha shortly after to move forward with her life. She wasn't fully healed, however, and continued to drink daily and go out with her friends often. She dated a few men, accidentally even calling them Gavin, and then decided to not date for a while. It took a bit, but eventually Kelly came back to Yoga. She started to wonder why she ever gave Yoga up, and she started to let go of the partying and reckless behaviour. Kelly knew she wanted to train as a Yoga Instructor, but for some reason she kept putting it off. She was even looking at trainings in Thailand. It was very last minute that she saw the training in Bali, paid for it, and was unable to turn back. I believe this happened because she was meant to meet the people she met, and have the experiences she had, in Bali. I believe her spirit guides were steering her towards us.
Kelly finally made it to Bali to train as a Yoga Instructor in October of 2019. This experience changed her life forever. She began to let go of the alcohol and started adapting to a Vegan diet. She was able to finally accept that Gavin was gone; to even say that Gavin was dead. The experience often felt like torture, but it was totally worth it. She says she would do it again in a heartbeat. She now has an incredible bond with the other Yogis from the teacher training and has friends for life.
Kelly and I made such an incredible connection during our time in Bali. One day we had a Chakra Meditation in Philosophy class, and it really affected me. I was very upset, and this really affected Kelly. She could feel me on every level. Later we discovered that we had the same Chakra imbalances and blockages. This led us to both have a private Energy Healing with our Philosophy Teacher. After the Meditation, we told each other our stories and cried together. We were forever bonded. We also spent a night walking through the streets of Ubud and exploring the town together. I was so sad to say goodbye to her after the 23 days, but I knew we would forever be bonded and would stay in touch.
Today, Kelly is much happier, living in Doha, continuing to work at a financial company, and teaching Yoga at her local studio. She is living healthier and working on taking her next step to move back to Australia. She continues her own Yoga practice on top of teaching. Any time Kelly meets people who feel they are too large or out of shape to try Yoga, she shows them my Instagram account, and they are inspired to give it try. This makes me feel incredible! I am so happy I met Kelly and have her in my life and I am 100% convinced that this was meant to be.