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My Story – In 1081 Words

I started practising ballet when I was 6 years old.

At 10 I passed the audition to enter the most prestigious dance school in the country where I would dance, dance, dance and then dance some more. I was in love with perfecting movement to the sound of music, especially with the piano played live, every day, filling up the whole studio and being heard through the streets of a typical old Lisbon neighbourhood. That felt like a true privilege.

At 12 I was considered to be too fat for ballet. 

So I started to diet. The all-day-onion-soup diet, the steak-for-breakfast diet, or the 1000-pieces-of-fruit-a-day diet. But it wasn’t working; I was still maintaining my healthy weight.

At 13 was dismissed from school, for being too fat at an absolutely normal weight for my age.

Cried my soul out and started studying at the local school. Naive as one can be, I became fascinated with “the outside world” and my highly focused training gave place to teenager parties.

At 14, started to play bass in a covers’ band.

And from 14 to 22 I was in 3 bands, recorded 4 albums, played in dozens of concerts around the country and appeared in TV shows, all without really knowing how to read music fluently or improvise a proper solo. I was solely using my music intelligence and finger motor skill. As I like to think of, I was dancing with my fingers. And oh yes, I managed to finish high school and university.

At 20 went to Mexico to study wild monkeys in their natural habitat, the Mexican jungle.

Got so energetically charged from that trip I came back to Portugal thinking I could do anything in the world. I could become a researcher on animal behaviour and spend most of my life in the jungle.

At 22 I moved to Uppsala in Sweden, after only having seen snow for the first time with 18 years old.

Sweden appeared on the map for me as a possibility for an international student program after I heard a girl talking about how she used to ride her bike to classes in white snowy streets. That sounded so exotic and extraordinary I decided to experience it. With a heart broken for all that I had left in Portugal but amazed to be experiencing everyday life abroad, I wrote my master thesis in clinical psychology on the subject of personality vulnerability to depression.

Going back to Portugal after living 6 great months in Sweden was… a little difficult.

I came back to what seemed to be an empty life. There were no more bands, certainly no more dancing, and I felt, even more, heartbroken for closing the book of Sweden (for the moment). Anyhow, I kept moving on with an internship in clinical psychology, while receiving psychology counselling myself, and went back to work at a cool cocktail bar in Lisbon to earn some coins while having some fun.

At 24 got a corporate job at a multinational pharmaceutical and for a brief moment thought I was sorted out for life (haha).

After one year or so of internship-like earnings, I asked for a raise and got myself fired for that reason, one week before Christmas.
One year after that, most of the company was dismissed, except for the managers. By then, I was grateful for having been fired in advance, which saved me that precious year time.

From 25 to 27 I went through a spiritual (r)evolution.

Saw my father almost die in a serious work accident, and lose the ability to move his major working hand for life. Soon after I saw my beloved grandmother fade away from cancer in an agonizing goodbye. Life’s suffering was hitting hard.

At 28 I was finally given the chance to learn to meditate. 

Spent 10 days in silence, meditating for about 10 hours a day. The person that came out of that course was changed for life. What I learned about myself and life in those 10 days were a blessing I’ll always be grateful for. All suffering was looked in the eye and seen for what it is. I have never been depressed again for two days in a row, or bitten my nails ever since.

Opened up to all kinds of alternative sources of knowledge, I went as far as taking a 5 weeks aura reading course.

For someone with such a strong scientific background, it was… let’s say, an “interesting mind stretch”.

At 29 I moved back to Sweden to study more about the science behind meditation, yoga and other healing practices.

After dreaming about it for a long time, I was not only back in a country I loved but I also made my way into one of the world’s best centres to study alternative medicine, The Osher Center at Karolinska University Hospital. One of three centres along with Harvard and San Francisco. AND I was travelling to India, by myself, to practice and learn about yoga. I mean, talk about life turns. I was studying to become a cognitive neuroscience master on subjects such as consciousness, happiness, and all kinds of brain mechanisms of wellbeing with an open scientific perspective on mystical and alternative subjects. Finally, I wrote a thesis on the effect of expectations on the success of a yoga-based therapy for depression and anxiety. But even though this was a dream made real, I still wasn’t satisfied with the fact that I was spending so many hours behind a desk. I thought there had to be a better way to make myself valuable to the world.

That’s when I became a Pilates and Yoga teacher, at 30.

The idea to take Pilates and Yoga education came to me when I was sitting in meditation. I went to do the teacher trainings while studying for the master’s and offered my first classes in Sweden, for free. Something woke up in me when I saw myself leading those first classes. I was using my body’s intelligence and the passion for movement in a purpose of service. Things were starting to make sense.

Then came some praise.

When you have people regularly thanking you for what you do there can be no doubts that you’re doing the right thing. And there’s a really special energy that’s generated from passionate giving. That’s the energy I want to run my life from. And from that, this website was born.
 

 

UPDATE:

In the next four years, much has happened. I created a business teaching yoga and coaching people on life changes and positive living, lived in a beautiful waterfront house, and then decide to change it all again for the sake of exploration of the non-comfort zone and subsequent self-development.

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Today I’m an international management consultant working primarily with leadership and communication. In the first months in this role, I have travelled four continents, talked in front of hundreds of people, and create many new connections.
I feel nothing but excitement about what’s coming next!

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