Inspiration from the frontlines: Testimonials of Transformation
A note from Kimberly:
I realize that the Success Stories section is a bit long, but please take a few moments to read through these inspiring accounts of transformation.
You will find some shining examples of the many happy by-products that result from practicing yoga in an authentic way.
These stories of success are a result of the student’s willingness to dig in and make every action align with their deepest desire to be happy, healthy, and loving individuals.
I have been graced with the opportunity to be of service to so many beautiful lives. I offer much gratitude to those who were willing to open themselves and share their stories. May their words of inspiration touch you as deeply as they have touched me?
…rather than focus on what I want to lose, I focus on what I want to gain: a more balanced and healthy life.
I always thought I hated exercise until I started taking classes at Inner Sunshine Yoga and Wellness. The teachers encourage me to focus on the present and accept myself as I am at that moment, this has made made such an enormous difference in my everyday life.
In the past, the only way I could force myself to run or go to a gym was to focus heavily on my outward appearance or the number on the scale in order to stay motivated. That ended up being extremely damaging to my emotional self-worth.
Yes, it is good to have goals, but if your goal is to lose weight in order to feel good about yourself, where does it end? And what happens if you don’t lose weight or if you gain it back, a perpetual cycle of self-loathing? Instead, I opted not to exercise or count calories and just to accept myself as I was.
While this was good for my emotional well-being, physically I constantly felt lethargic and stressed. When I began yoga with Kimberly, I immediately fell in love with the practice.
Of course, there is a whole host of physical benefits that come from regular practice, but in yoga my feeling good did not depend on these things happening. Practicing yoga at Inner Sunshine is the only place I have found that preaches such an acceptance.
But that’s not all! I couldn’t believe how much time I actually saved by making the time to come to class regularly (at least 3-4 times a week). That meant that I was at least twice as productive at my job and didn’t feel the need to rest on the couch for hours at a time when I came home from my stressful job.
That’s because by practicing the ability to remain present, keep focused, and control stress during yoga class, made it much easier to do those same things while at home or work.
Plus, regular practice inspired me to pay more attention to my eating habits, which actually helped produce the same results that so many people achieve through punishing and starving themselves, even though physical appearance was still not the goal.
I have tried yoga at other places, but I love the atmosphere at Inner Sunshine. It is so peaceful and encouraging, and it does not feel competitive or judgmental at all. They truly care about whole-body health.
Yoga at Inner Sunshine promotes a healthier body image for me. Rather than focus on what I want to lose, I focus on what I want to gain: a more balanced and healthy life.
Peace is right inside of us just waiting to be discovered…
I recently took what for me was a huge leap, auditioning for a part in a local theatre production and landing a dream part in one of my favorite musicals. Before yoga I would have seen the casting call and sadly taken a pass: “too risky, too crazy, it probably wouldn’t work out.” Yoga gave me the confidence to show up at the audition and a sense of inner calm in a stressful setting that allowed me to do my best. Sharing the good news about the outcome with Kimberly and my fellow yogis and basking in their well wishes was every bit as gratifying as landing a part in the play. Part of what makes practicing at Inner Sunshine Yoga so rewarding is the sense of being part of a rich community of supportive friends on a shared journey. Like a family, we build each other up, and with every day of practice I realize this is what I’ve been searching for my whole life. It took me four decades to find this place, and this peace. . . It feels like home.
Learning to trust the heart and see the world from a whole new perspective…
I must say I have also met some really great people in my yoga classes. It’s hard to make close new friendships later in life but I found a community of truly caring people who accept me for who I am. I am so grateful I stuck it out through those first breathing lessons, even if I still have a hard time staying still in final relaxation.
Yoga is better than muscle relaxants…
I ended up taking muscle relaxants every day until I discovered yoga with Kimberly.
She worked with me to modify every yoga pose I attempted so that I could strengthen my back while avoiding any stress on it. It’s funny I almost almost can’t remember those days of pain because I have had no back pain for the last ten years!
The possibilities are endless, no matter what your age…
Thai Yoga Therapy helps to heal old traumas…
In the safety of Kimberly’s Thai yoga therapy room I am learning how to release years of emotional tension that I have been carrying around my whole life. I have come to realize that the tension in my shoulders goes all the way back to my childhood. This is a big deal for me.
I had been receiving Swedish massage for 25 years. But, that first Thai Yoga Therapy session was so beneficial, it was not just relaxing, it actually taught me how to relax. I was in love! I was torn though; over the years I had been so loyal to my other therapist, but I finally realized that I had to do what was right for me. I am so grateful I made that decision. Thai yoga therapy is the most energizing, relaxing and effective body therapy I’ve ever had. If I had a million dollars, I would give it to all my friends—really.
Yoga helps beyond just physical therapy!
After a back injury, my doctor recommended that I start a yoga practice as part of my physical therapy and as a preventive measure against further problems. Under Kimberly’s expert instruction, I now have a much better understanding of how to reduce the pain from my chronic back issues, and through breathing techniques I can deeply relax. I am so glad I discovered yoga! Several friends who were already practicing with Kimberly had continually praised her knowledge, patience, and compassion. They were right about everything! Kimberly’s dedication to her students is impressive.
Thai Yoga Therapy was the best thing I could have chosen…
A pain in the neck no more…
My wife suggested that I try Kimberly’s neck, shoulders and back workshop. After three sessions I walked into the studio and stood in front of Kimberly and said, “Look!” as I turned my head from side to side.
Not only have I experienced an increased range of motion, but I also feel better overall. I am sure that even after the workshop is over I will continue my visits.
Thai Yoga Therapy a natural treatment for pain….
Free of pain and all around happier….
It is easy to see that Kimberly cares deeply about all of her students, she the best yoga instructor I’ve ever had. She is compassionate, disciplined, and responsible and fun! She encourages me to get the most out of myself and constantly works with me to find solutions for my issues. Kimberly constantly strives to learn for our benefit.
A very close friend from upstate New York, whom I hadn’t seen in a while, told me recently that she thought that yoga had been positively transformative for me, both physically and mentally. She wants to come to Alabama to do yoga with Kimberly.
Thai Yoga Therapy relives neck and back pain….
I have tried everything for my back and neck pain… deep tissue massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, but nothing has given me relief like Thai Yoga Therapy it just feels really, really good! It’s like doing yoga but Kimberly does all the work. This enables her to stretch me in ways I cannot stretch on my own. She pays close attention to everything and never stops coming up with new ways to help make me feel better. It’s awesome!
It’s the journey that matters…
Kimberly encourages me to avoid these roadblocks and to appreciate myself where ever I am on the journey. She has helped me feel good, both physically and emotionally, about myself. She has helped me to be accepting of who I am and where I am on the yoga journey I’ve practiced yoga under different teachers over the past 50 years.
Kimberly has been the most helpful of all my yoga instructors. In fact I come away from her instruction knowing that it is not the end of the journey that matters, it is the journey itself that matters.
It is never too late…
I have been practicing for 25 years, but regularly only since Kimberly opened her studio in the fall of 2003. I had been looking for a real instructor for several years. I tried it on my own and in gym classes, but I really think it is too dangerous to learn it without a qualified instructor.
Healing by learning to accept limitations…
In the fall of 2006, the pain in my hands and wrists started. By September 2010, typing for more than five minutes made my hand go almost completely numb. I was 32. Through my journey into yoga, I have learned that by accepting this body’s limitations and uniting the mind’s desires with the body’s abilities can lead to liberation from chronic pain. Today thanks to my dedication to practice yoga and Kimberly’s patient guidance, I can use the computer with no pain and I have begun playing music again!
I was originally diagnosed with an early stage of carpel tunnel syndrome with peripheral neuropathy. I was devastated. A life without full use of my hands seemed horribly unfair. I began to try all of the prescribed fixes: hand braces, alternative keyboards, and steroids. I even began to consider surgery.
I began practicing Ashtanga Yoga with Kimberly Sotelo at Yoga Ananda at that time. I was very excited by the practice and felt that it might improve my wrist and shoulder problems. So, I began to push myself very hard. Soon, I injured my wrists. My little balloon quickly deflated. The promise of a solution limped away. After all, how could I possibly do all of these difficult arm balances with damaged wrists?
At that time, Kimberly helped me modify the postures to match my ability. She taught me about ahimsa (do no harm). I began to remove the self-competitiveness from my practice and focus on the fundamentals (bandhas, breath, and flow).
I continued this way for several months, paying close attention to my body. I noticed that my wrists began to feel more open thanks to all of the stretching. I learned that there are many places on the hands that weight can be carried, some good and some bad. By learning about my wrists and respecting their limitations and abilities, I discovered how to strengthen them gradually.
In a recent phone call with my mother, she remarked that I hadn’t complained about my wrists in several months. It was then that I became fully aware that through the Ashtanga practice with Kimberly, I had healed my wrists. I am now using the computer with no pain.
My wrists will need to be maintained throughout my life, but practicing authentic yoga has shown me how to do that.
I could go on about the other benefits of the practice including: improved breathing, eliminated back and hip pain, better balance and coordination, brighter outlook, increased ability to focus and manage stress, and the unrecognized bliss of flexibility, but it’s time to go practice.
Yoga is so much more…
Helps me with scoliosis…
I had read that yoga could be helpful with scoliosis and after meeting Kimberly I decided to give it a try. This is exactly what I needed. I am now much more flexible, my balance has improved and I am more aware of how breathing can help me in trying situations. Kimberly is a great teacher – she encourages me, but also realizes my limitations. I appreciate how inventive she is and how she can come up with multiple solutions to a problem.