Today we’d like to introduce you to Elisabeth Holmes.
Elisabeth, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a Paris native. As a child my nurturing spirit was first revealed—I was always the one comforting the kid who was rejected. At 10, my parents and I moved from Paris to a small town by the UK North Sea. I experienced profound culture shock with this move. There, I became bilingual, fell in love with musicals, and found welcome distractions from my mom’s depression before returning to France three years later.
As a young adult, I was drawn to dancing and acting. That kind of “work” wasn’t in my family culture so I took on a “traditional” career. I eventually became a journalist, writing for internal publications at global companies—most times in brutally competitive environments.
In my early 20’s, I suffered physical symptoms–a severe stomach and neck pain—for which doctors couldn’t find the origin. That gave me the impetus to push open a therapist’s door at the advice of my mom. A grounding figure, the therapist helped me become aware I lived in a “prison”, exclusively to answer my parents’ needs. Within months of beginning therapy, the pains went away.
This marked the start of a two-decade-long journey toward finding more freedom to live my own life, according to my own desires, through various personal development experiences –breath work, therapy in group and individual sessions–as I simultaneously navigated my high-pressure job, party-going life, and a toxic relationship.
In 2004, I put an end to the relationship and was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after. It is then, shell shocked, that I discovered yoga through Aline Frati, a yoga teacher of 40 years.
The experience with Aline’s style of yoga was like love at first sight. I connected for the very first time with a part of myself that I had ignored most of my life—my body.
The yoga Aline Frati teaches is the most therapeutic form of yoga I have ever come across. Far from the “yoga-robics” that is widely practiced in the West, her yoga is about developing our capacity to “listen” to our body without judgment. It’s also about dissolving the repetitive patterns of fear and anxiety that we have experienced since childhood that get fixed in the body in the form of pain or restriction.
Yoga also reconnected me with my love for dancing and my passion for aiding in healing. Next thing I knew, Aline encouraged me to start teaching. By then, I was 43.
Shortly after healing, I met my husband, an American who lived in Atlanta, Georgia and soon made the big move from Paris to Atlanta.
While working as a freelance writer, I took the steps to train as a yoga teacher. At the same time, I also trained in Gestalt therapy. My goal was to create my own unique alternative healing approach that mixed both the yoga practice I had learned from Aline and time dedicated to self-awareness and personal storytelling.
In 2012, I founded Yoga for Renewal, while continuing working as a writer.
Exhausted from overworking and over-giving to be loved, out of sync in my relationship and with my authentic self, I was diagnosed with a second breast cancer in 2014. The same week, my father was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.
Within two years, I recovered from cancer, lost my dad and divorced.
In the process, I realized that I dragged with me a desperate need to be seen. I went back to therapy to see and recognize who I truly was–to see and feel my soul, instead of looking for recognition from others. I reflected on my life purpose. I dove deeper into learning about the body and heart connection. I fine-tuned the unique gift I’m here to give with Yoga for Renewal, and, started working, as a yoga therapist, with input from a licensed psychologist, Laurent Malterre.
Today, I’m a yoga therapist certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists. I’m based in Atlanta. I’ve let go of writing. I, now, dedicate my time to Yoga for Renewal –my life purpose–, to dancing –one of my passions– and to enjoying my tribe on each side of the ocean.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
A smooth road to Yoga for Renewal? Are you kidding me! Of course not. If you’ve read my answer to the previous question, you already know some of the challenges I’ve come across. My biggest struggle, by far, is that Yoga for Renewal is a totally new healing approach. It’s never been done before. I’m making the wheel as I go and educating those who are interested in what Yoga for Renewal is about. As a pioneer, there are times I feel lonely!
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Yoga for Renewal is what I carry intimately in my soul and what I am here for. It is my own unique healing approach that is at the intersection of yoga and therapy. Each YFR class or workshop is made up of both a time dedicated to a specific yoga practice and a time dedicated to self-awareness and personal storytelling—I call that time “the healing circle”. The yoga practice helps a person develop their ability to listen to emotions and feelings that have been buried alive, to listen to what their body says—openness, relaxation or, on the contrary, constriction, pain or even disease. The healing circle is a place where participants are invited to become aware of what is lodged in and weighing on their heart and in their body, and to verbalize and respect what they are finding.
This dual approach–yoga and healing circle– allows you to honor what has been found and become aware of the unconscious energy that has been stuck, re-establish a trust in yourself and in others, and to let healthy, vibrant energy circulate freely in the body. Ultimately, as a result, this practice helps you experience more joy.
I teach Yoga for Renewal in small group classes, 3-day workshops and private sessions. The most beautiful thing about Yoga for Renewal is that it is for everybody-–those who are young, people in their 90’s or those who are in wheelchairs.
- Yoga for Renewal individual session: $90 for 90 minutes
- Yoga for Renewal 4-Class Series: $95 for the series
- Yoga for Renewal 3-Day Workshop: $235
- Website: www.yogaforrenewal.com
- Phone: 4042262195
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yogaforrenewal/
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elisabeth-holmes-yoga/