I was born in Paris in a French family of Italian descent. When my parents meet, my father is young, poor, with a terrible childhood that has left its mark on him. He loves the good life and works like a mad man. My mother, an Italian who is naturalized French at 21, is reserved. She is also deeply marked by her childhood. She has the same willingness to survive and thrive as my father. The two “abandoned” kids find each other. Then, I arrive.
As a child, I am shy and sensitive. I love dancing, acting and my dream is to play a part in a musical. When I am 10, my mother, who is in a depression and a border line autist, starts therapy to heal her emotional wounds. We are in the early 70s and this is an unusual move for someone of her background.
Although my parents love me, they are struggling with their own emotional pain and unable to see who I am, to hear me.
As a young adult, I live inside an emotional armor. I hate myself. My mother sees my difficulties and pushes me to consult a therapist. I am 22, and I fulfill others’ needs before mine. My first therapy session marks the beginning of a long journey to find my place in my relationship with others.
My dream is to be an actress but my need to conform takes over. I become a secretary and work my way up as a corporate journalist for global corporations.
Time goes by.
2004 is big step, a rebirth. I finally find my way out of a toxic relationship. Shortly after, I am diagnosed with breast cancer. Under shock, I bump into yoga for the first time ever. I take the class of Aline Frati, a yoga teacher in Paris who has been teaching for almost 40 years. Aline’s completely unique yoga practice, which is gentle and deep all at the same time, immediately resonates with me. I become aware that suppressed emotions always find their way in the body. Aline helps me heal and reconnect with my passion for movement, for dancing and for the arts. I change my nutrition, I take time to live, walk in the parks, dance…
One day, Aline tells me I am ready to teach yoga. From that day on, I know there is no way back to the sanitized corporate life.
I meet my husband. He is American and lives in Atlanta, GA. In 2006, I make the big move across the Atlantic, in Atlanta. I train as a yoga therapist and in Gestalt therapy, a form of therapy based on self-awareness.
I create Yoga for Renewal.
2014 marks another cataclysm, another rebirth. We live in the house we have just bought. The house is my husband’s dream—not mine. I feel exhausted from having put all the energy left in me to buy and renovate the house after having taken on my husband’s professional issues. I leave the marriage just before being diagnosed with a second breast cancer while my father is diagnosed with lung cancer.
I come out on the other side with a greater desire to find my place and to let go of the desire to please others, at all cost. It’s also time I find my voice as a yoga therapist. A Paris-based psychotherapist and my yoga practice help me on this new phase of my healing journey.
I decide to complement my yoga therapy classes with a “healing circle” where I invite students to share who they are and what they are experiencing. The yoga practice helps students release physical tensions, connect with suppressed emotions that are niched in the body, and listen to the body’s messages. The healing circle is to bring students to verbalize their story and realize that, whatever their story is, they can and deserve to be heard. The circle is also where I use Gestalt therapy if needed. Yoga for Renewal becomes the combination of these two distinct approaches.
Since 2020, I host a discussion workshop that I have designed, Let’s Talk Wellness, in addition to teaching yoga therapy. Through a series of talks, I share the way I have healed and found my place in the world so that others can live with more satisfaction, heal and find their place, too.
I am an IAYT-Certified (C-IAYT) Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 500) with Yoga Alliance. The yoga therapy components of my teaching are based on my IAYT certification, not derived from my status as an RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance Registry.
Photo: © Fernando Decillis.