Featurning Sahara Leigh from Sweden

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Written by Jamie Sahara Leigh
Edited by Justine of Just Yoga

I am Sahara Leigh and I am an Educator, Author, and Healer based in Sweden. My healing wakeup call came in 2002 on the windshield of a car when I found myself in a motor vehicle accident. A had a broken tibial plateau and a torn meniscus for the third time. I found myself alone and non-weight bearing, in a south-facing apartment in Brooklyn; no air-conditioning in the middle of July. It was pretty hot. The next six-months would change my life.

I wasn’t a stranger to pain. At the age of 21, I had already spent most of my life with chronic pain, trapped in a medical system that repeatedly failed me. I had somehow built a successful dance and swimming career while managing crippling emotional and physical pain. This forged a strength in me that would cause me to repeatedly to ignore both my body and my guides, and require the Creator to continuously kick me to try and get me to stay down long enough to accept that I wasn’t unbreakable. Long enough to get me to stop running so that I could feel the ache that was beneath the physical, the ache that was coming from deep inside my Soul.

I am an experiential learner and I have harnessed the pain I have experienced and woven a spectacular cloth of knowledge. For as many times as the Creator has knocked me down, She has also handed me an amazing tool each time to get me back up. People; connecting me to people; connecting me to practitioners; connecting me to techniques; connecting me to myself. I am humbled and incredibly grateful for this trial by fire.

Like most things, yoga came to me by accident. A friend wanted to use the space I was running my dance company out of, which was also a hair salon, to teach a yoga class. So I stayed for the class, and absolutely loved it.
I had tried yoga years before in, what seemed to seventeen-year-old me, a strange cult like room filled with middle aged women in full body leotards. I didn’t yet realize I would someday be one of those ladies. But yoga stuck this time and I started taking classes around New York City, and then around San Francisco when I moved out there a few months later. Eventually I fell into teaching, like everything, by accident. I was a Personal Trainer at a gym and the yoga teacher didn’t show up, so I taught the class. Next thing I knew I quit the personal training job and was teaching yoga all over San Francisco, full time. 

Yoga truly saved me after my third knee surgery. I had an amazing surgeon, who worked with all the major sports teams in San Francisco and had a soft spot for dancers. Knowing we rarely had insurance, he ran a low cost clinic for dancers, and through another one of those twists of fate and grace, I landed a spot in it. As amazing as he was, he told me I would never dance again after the surgery, and I would certainly never bend my knee all the way again.

I have travelled the world teaching yoga, ayurveda, and dance. I have danced tango, learned and taught aerial dance, and crawled around on my knees while racing sailboats.
Yoga gave me not only my life back, but allowed me to do things I never imagined possible.
Now I find myself in Sweden, learning some of the same lessons from my past, and re-connecting to the same poses that have always brought me back to myself. As someone who was always told they were ‘too much’, I made an art out of making myself smaller. Shrinking one’s self has a painful effect on the body, therefore backbends have always been my medicine. Diving backwards into the unknown, opening my heart, expanding my energy field, reminding me of the Goddess that I am. I am once again finding my softness in my yin yoga practice, and my breath in the expansive silence and space that yin creates.

And so, the cycle starts over; first the pebble is picked up, then it is tossed into the pond, the rippling extends outwards, shifting all that they touch. Sometimes you are rock thrower, sometimes the rock, sometimes the pond, sometimes the ripple, sometimes the lily pad being rocked. I heal because I have been healed. I teach because I have been taught. I owe everything to my own experiences, my own stubbornness, and to every single person that shows up to work with me. Their experiences, their bodies, and their Souls, guide every step we take together. They show me, so I can show them. I am merely the marker that highlights what they are unable to see… yet.

I am currently teaching online yoga classes and workshops, offering online Ayurvedic Consultations and Energy Clearings, working on my next book, and chasing two kids around the house.  I am on Facebook, Instagram and have my own YouTube channel.

Post a comment

© Just Yoga. Design by FCD.