Yoga was my Refuge by Emily Karlicek

Author: myaizzolena / Date: 17-11-2015 / Tag: Full Circle Yoga, Yoga, healing, trauma yoga, refuge, home /

Yoga is my home.  My mat is where I feel the most stillness.  I have been a mental health therapist for 10 years, where I have been a safe haven for others to feel their pain.  I have shared and continue to share their pain with me, as I currently provide mental health services to the Longmont community.   A couple of autumns ago, I felt a pain I have never experienced before. It shook me to my core, left me pale, exhausted, confused, dizzy, scared, and frozen.

I hit a bottom, a place I had never felt before. It was a place I had witnessed others talk about and feel. I shared tears with others in their worst moments.  I helped them re-write their stories, but never experienced it myself.  This came in the form of impending doom, my world was closing in on me, tunnel vision took over, a wave of frozen terror took over me, intense nausea and light headedness took over my body, I started to hyperventilate.  I was sweating while also freezing, my body covered in goose bumps. It was a panic attack.

I ended up in ‘Legs up the Wall’ and used my breath to help me regulate.  It was the only tool I had in that moment.  If my mind wandered even in the slightest, the symptoms returned with an unbearable force. I would never wish this feeling upon anyone.

Within a few days of this, I ended up ‘resigning’ from my job as child and family therapist.  It was the only option. I knew I needed a refuge.  My home was not even a safe place as my husband was struggling with his own issues.  I searched for a yoga studio where I could find safety and compassion. I knew I needed help. 

And then I found Full Circle.  The first person I met was Conny, who warmly and gracefully called FCY her ‘second home.’  I felt relaxed here.  Then I came to one of Meghan’s classes.  Her energy immediately uplifted mine, and her smile made me feel warm.  She suggested I come to one of Erik’s classes.  Erik, a beautiful spirit, took me to a place I had never known.  It is there I wept on the mat for the first time.  I felt hugged by a loving, gentle, familiar soul.  I started to come regularly.  Soon, Winter Teacher Training was starting.  Having recently ‘resigned’ from my job, I thought it was synchronistic timing.

Teacher training changed my life.  The teachers created a safe, trusting and unconditionally loving atmosphere that allowed me to feel vulnerable.  They validated my own beliefs about the importance of our relationship with others, and the necessity that we show compassion and unconditional love to all. We are all one.

As I continue on my yogic path, my dharma is unfolding, and the next challenge is to combine my skills as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and a yoga teacher, to make yoga available to people who have suffered trauma and who don’t feel safe in their own bodies.

Starting in January 2016, I will be offering a Transformative Trauma Yoga Series designed for individuals who are new to yoga, and who have also experienced any kind of trauma (loss, abuse, accident, witnessed violence) and who are ready to find refuge within their own being.  I aim to create that same sacred, safe place that Full Circle Yoga embodies beautifully.  A place where we can hold one another through our strength of vulnerability.

I am so grateful and blessed to be a part of this Full Circle Family!!


May all beings be filled with lovingkindness,

May all beings find acceptance for all they are.

May all beings feel the natural joy of being alive.

May all beings find peace.

May all beings feel safe, in the refuge of their own being.