By Meg Ayton-Andrews, Equestrian Yogini and our Yoga Life Teacher Training graduate
Today is the day I launch my new project, #takebackyourpower.
The aim of this project is to help people affected by bullying by using yoga.
A huge part of my journey through this life has been affected by bullying that I sustained as a child. I didn’t realise until recently that the bullying that I went through, throughout my teens caused me to create behavioural patterns that still effected me in my 30’s.
As a kid I was a chilled out, quirky, happy, loving soul. I adored animals, wore bright colours and generally just loved life, my parents brought me up to be whoever I wanted to be as long as I was loving and open then that’s all that mattered.
When I moved to high school things changed, that individual quirky personality was seen as weird and different. People who I thought were my best friends soon turned on me and life became hell, from the age of 11 to 15 other kids made my life hell, so much so I became very depressed and ill.
I never really told anyone, I didn’t want my parents to be upset or have more to worry about so thought I’d bottle it up, this was until I became so ill I couldn’t hide it anymore, when my parents approached the school I hoped it would stop, unfortunately at that time no anti-bullying policies existed and nothing changed.
Eventually I couldn’t take it any more and quit school, luckily we found a new school that I could go to and finish my GCSE’s.
On my first day heading to this new school I made a conscious decision that the “real meg” didn’t work so I needed to make someone new up.
From that day onwards, just before my 16th birthday until I was 31 I projected various images that weren’t ever the “real Meg”.
Throughout that time I also suffered with CFS which is sure is down to the trauma of my teenage years coupled with never really living a true life.
I managed to run a successful business for 14 years but I was never really 100% happy.
When in the summer of 2014 I took my first steps onto my yoga mat I felt a change inside me, I was suddenly home. For the first time in my adult life I felt the original meg come back, my soul started to glow and I couldn’t help but keep going back onto my mat to find that feeling again and again.
Over the past year and a half I’ve been devoted to yoga, I’ve trained to become a teacher, I’ve sold my business and I’ve discovered the old meg, “before the shit happened”.
All of this is down to yoga, not just the practice but the philosophy too, through learning more about myself, understanding my patterns of behaviour and redirecting them into positive more natural paths I have finally got my power back, the power I lost all those years ago to the bullies.
I want to make this point here, I don’t blame the bullies or have any negative feelings towards them, they were on their own path, they had reasons for doing what they did and I forgive them for it all, we all make mistakes, get into things we don’t mean to and do things that aren’t our true selves and so I hold nothing against them.
I now want to help others regain their strength, I want to help children that are currently going through the trauma of being bullied and I also want to help adults that are either still struggling with bullying or have the scars from their childhood.
I believe, through yoga, people can find inner strength, their inner power that will enable them to love themselves, live the life they desire and not be swayed by others.
So this is why I’m starting this project, I’m planning on doing some fund raising, talking to anti-bullying charities and I plan to go into schools, to give talks and also offer free yoga lessons. I’ll be doing online live classes for those who are too nervous to do yoga anywhere but their bedroom and I hope to give the gift back to others.
Please help by spreading the word, if you have ideas of what I could do or know anyone that could benefit send them in my direction, those of you that are teachers if you think your school could benefit from lunch time yoga sessions please contact me.
Most of all let’s spread the word that bullying is not ok, and if you are being or have been by bullied there is a way that can give you your strength back.
That way is yoga