I married a man that I loved with every fiber of my soul. He made me a mother and a wife, and set me on path that help shape the woman I am today. However, loving him meant that I had to hide myself over and over again that I eventually lost myself. I broke my own heart in the name of perceived love and marriage. 

The marriage I entered into in my 20’s wanted me to stay small, barefoot, pregnant, and a people pleaser at all costs. My daughter, my mermaid, looked at me one night and said, “Daddy makes you so sad and not fun. You’re like honey and waves when he’s not here.”  Out of the mouth of a mermaid came my wake-up call. That was the bottom falling out from under me. I could either let myself die or I could fight for the breath that filled my lungs. 

Overwhelmed, ashamed, and sleep deprived, I searched the internet for mindless distractions. I found a Groupon for a boutique studio that had Buti Yoga on the schedule.  Walking into the studio that day was my cry for help to myself; not for everyone else but me. Terrified of my own skin and my size, I gathered up the courage to walk. Everything in my head said to get the fuck out of there because I wasn’t strong enough or good enough or pretty enough to be a part of this studio. The shit WE ( I ) believe about ourselves is ridiculous.  I didn’t feel strong enough, good enough, or worthy.  My shame was HUGE and my weight brought anxiety, but I wasn’t willing to give up on myself just yet.

Erika 1

I started practicing the magic that is Buti embracing all the truths and the MACK TRUCK feels (those hella raw and honest feelings we hide) that kept surfacing.  Embracing the triggers, the tears, the laughter and the silence.  Buti became my teacher; the women became my friends, my tribe, reminding me to not give up and to look in the mirror and meet myself there.  “I AM LOVE, I AM LOVED.”  I began finding comfort in the silence and from there new life emerged. 

The best thing Kris Egger, my instructor and now dear friend, said to me was, “Girl, feel your feels.  Feel everything.  Sit in silence, find your voice and use it.  Embrace your power. STOP HIDING.” Growing was a slow process, Messy AF. Fast forward to a year later, sitting at coffee with Kris dropping truth bombs again,  “Are you done hiding yet?” The truth was no, I was still trying to save a marriage for all the wrong reasons.  I was scared and carrying around shit that wasn’t mine to carry. I left coffee with all the courage I needed to be honest with myself. 

For the next month I held myself gently. I cried and prayed for guidance, and the guts to break free. I made the choice to ask my soul what it needed. Then I yelled that shit out loud. I no longer wanted to be trapped bruised and bloodied in marriage that was eating me. I signed up for my 200 Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) and said to him, “You can make choice to grow with me or leave.” I learned to set a boundary, the most painful one. My marriage was gone in a blazing fire ball taking everything in sight. I felt so fucking lost. All the fake truths were gone. There were 2 choices; 1) ashes to ashes 2) or become a Phoenix.  2017 started out in haze of smoke and tears. Between January and April of 2018 things were a blur. I was more concerned with saving the kids and going to Buti Yoga became my oly quiet time - me time. YTT started and I felt even less of woman, but I was less afraid.  All the heart opening and spiraling wasn’t just changing my body, it was striping the years of emotional and mental damage. Taking down one lie at time and replacing it with LOVE for myself. The real POWERFUL WOMAN that walked through the fire and was rising to the fight. My life force was back.  I became part of this wonderful and fierce community of woman that practice Buti.  Kris, Jen, Jaz, Carrie, Sarah, and all the other beautiful, imperfect, strong women that make up this tribe. I did my 12 minute Buti demo and didn’t die. I embraced my feminine energy and threw out my shirt. 

I fell in love with my body for the first time in 9 years. No one will ever take that away from me because I have done the work. I started to heal myself from the inside out.  There’s no going back. 

Erika 2

Kris’s constant truth bombs, Jen’s fierce kick ass and take what’s meant for you attitude continues to inspire me. My journey isn’t perfect. I stumble, but I won’t ever sell myself short or allow anyone to assign me to life of fear. I am no less of woman because of my “failures”, they served to grow me. With every Malasana and reverse burpee, I was reminded of the Powerhouse that my body is.

Buti has taught me all of this. I create art again, I breath and acknowledge the need to slow down or move the stuck energy. I take the time to honor my wise body. 

Erika 3

My story isn’t over. What I can say to you is this: 

Feel your feels babes even before you’re ready.  Punch back. Be the Phoenix to your soul.  Forgive and throw the shit out that doesn’t serve you. Forgive yourself.   Marry yourself and be ready to grow.  Hold yourself gently, let your ego go. Allow your soul to grow.  Meet me on your mat.