HEALING FROM ABUSE WITH TRUTH AND YOGA

“To me, yoga is about deep, honest listening and truth-telling,” says Nina Endrst…who shares her story of healing from abuse for the first time.

I’m pretty fucking scared right now. I’ve never written about what I’m about to share, let alone shared these experiences with the world. It takes courage to be vulnerable and stand where we truly are, exposed. But it’s time to tell the Truth.

And the Truth is, I’m healing. Aren’t we all?

When I was nine years old, I was sexually abused by my babysitter’s son. I felt broken. Deeply ashamed and frightened. And for a long time, like many others, I remained silent, in fear. It took months for me muster the courage to even tell my parents—who were in the middle of a messy divorce at the time. Then I saw a Nick News segment on sexual abuse. Shit! What happened was really fucking bad, I thought.

And I felt even more guilty, the lump in my throat growing. I wanted to run as far and fast as humanly possible, but I was paralyzed. After what seemed like hours, I walked to my room, locked the door, and cried until I had nothing left. I was struggling with so many questions intertwined with intense emotions. Why did he do this to me? Why do they do this to us? I realized I had to talk.

I don’t remember much after that day, but I remember his parents called me a liar. After that, I just wanted stop talking about it, to forget it and go outside and play and try to reclaim everything I felt had been taken from me. So we back-tracked. Charges were never brought against him and I was once again, silent.

It took years to realize that this was not only the root of the profound anger and anxiety I have experienced in my adult life, but also would also prove to be the root of my subsequently developing Crohn’s disease. I can see now how my body and soul went into survival mode—how all the anger, sadness, and confusion went straight to my belly and rotted there, for years.

***

But in the beginning, I was a resilient kid and simply went on living my life. I had loving parents and an incredibly special group of friends (most of whom are still in my life) but deep down I remained a little girl, suffering in silence. I presented myself as tough and a little rough around the edges, when in fact I was incredibly sensitive and lost. When I got dressed in the morning, it was as if I put on an extra layer—a suit of armor to “protect myself.”

By 13, my hormones spun this carefully constructed regime out of control. My temper was explosive, and I made it my business to give my parents hell, regularly. It had all become too much to handle. One night, I took handfuls of pills and hoped that would be that. Thank god, it wasn’t. But the truth was, my soul knew I needed help and was screaming for it.

At 19 I had my first panic attack, on a plane. Everything, I’d spent my teenage years avoiding came rushing to the surface. My heart was racing, breath stuck in my chest, my belly as hard as a rock. Anybody who struggles with anxiety will know this feeling all too well.

Only, from the outside, my life looked pretty damn great by this point. I was attending college, I had amazing friends, and managed to maintain almost straight A’s alongside a busy social life. I was fucking happy! So where the hell was this coming from?

The Truth is, I had been avoiding my pain for so long, I didn’t even recognize that I had been living a lie.

***

At 21, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s (a chronic intestinal disease). I believe this was a direct result of the emotional and physical stress compacting in my stomach over the previous decade. I had tried to survive it. I had made it my mission to ignore the pain—to suppress it, push it down, deep into my belly. But here it had seeped into my cells, my tissues, my spirit.

No one knew the Truth about what had happened to me. My dearest friends only knew bits and pieces. I’m not sure I even knew the whole story, back then. Sometimes we have to make choices, and I had chosen over and over again not to acknowledge the shadows, leaving a patchwork of half-truths.

At 29 (my Saturn return) everything changed. I had a flare-up and became very ill, ultimately meaning I had to take medical leave from my job in fashion. I found myself facing some harsh realities that I couldn’t ignore any longer.

At this point, I’d been practicing yoga on and off for years, but it was in this moment that I started to live my yoga. To begin healing my body and spirit, by fully living my Truth. I left my job, signed up for yoga teacher training and took a huge leap of faith—inviting my heart to crack wide open.

The Truth is I gave myself ample time and space to be alone during that year. To cry uncontrollably. To talk, to listen, and to forgive. This is because, to me, yoga is and always will be so much more than back-bending and headstands. It is about deep, honest listening and truth-telling.

Through my practice, I learned that the way to the healing light is found when we sit quietly in darkness.

***

 

At age 31, I wake up every single day, grateful for my mind, body and spirit. The smile on my face is not permanent but it certainly is genuine. My mental and physical health are better than ever, as are my relationships with everyone—from my loved ones, to strangers I encounter on the street.

My story is that our stories do not define us. But I do believe everything we experience on our path—bright and shiny or painful as hell—is to lead us to where we are meant to be.

The Truth may not be easy to say, or to hear, but my god is it the only way to heal.

Nina Endrst is a yoga teacher based between Tulum and NYC. She creates a safe and nurturing environment for students to explore themselves honestly. Her vinyasa sequences are thoughtfully designed to strengthen and soften the mind, body, and spirit. She lives her yoga and is inspired by traveling to places outside her comfort zone both physically and emotionally. You can discover more about Nina and her work at Ninaendrstyoga.com, and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

VENUS RISING: A CELEBRATION OF MY GODDESS TRIBE

Who’s in your Goddess Tribe? Get inspired to get creative with the women in your life with this beautiful photo series by designer Victoria Keen. High-vibrational clothing throughout by Victoria Keen

Bee Bosnak shot by Victoria Keen

“I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go” – Anais Nin

Can you sum up your vision of Goddess energy in 5 words?
Divine
Imagination
Archetype
Yin
Community

And what does Tribe mean to you?
Tribe is that invisible thread that connects you to your people, that primal desire to be in community, to be seen, understood and held in all of your strangeness. As someone who has always been so damn DIFFERENT, finding my tribe has been everything.

My yoga teacher of over a decade, Ana Forrest, brought me into her tribe, her fold of globally fierce soul family, and I’ve since connected with this very special tribe all over the world, from NYC to Hong Kong and everywhere in between.

Rebecca Jo Phillips shot by Victoria Keen in Tulum
Rebecca Jo Phillips shot by Victoria Keen in Tulum

What made you want to celebrate these concepts with the Goddess Tribe series?
Over the New Year as I was meditating on all the things that you do at that time, and my intuition made it very clear that this year’s focus was to be on my Tribe, deepening my existing friendships and making space for new ones. I realized I had been squeezing my friendships into the leftover nooks and crannies of life. Without a conscious effort it’s so easy to do this.

I also needed a creative outlet from my creative outlet (!) – anyone who knows me knows that I have a forever artistically restless soul. I started putting together a mood board and got really inspired to bring it to life. In the spirit of Play and Magic, I began gathering my Goddess Tribe together.

The series has taken on a life of its own, and has given me another lens to view my friends, and another reason to seek beautiful places for new adventures. What a cool way to spend some time with friends I love!

Bee Bosnak shot by Victoria Keen in NYC
Bee Bosnak shot by Victoria Keen in NYC

When and how do you feel most connected to your Goddess Tribe?
At my Urban Wellness lectures, which is why I have this dream to make these gatherings into full retreats. My time in Tulum recently was magical and made this vision seem entirely possible – there’s such a big Tulum/NYC connection! I plan to get a house next year and set up a base and have all my friends come visit me.

Victoria’s top tips for a High Vibe shoot with your Goddess Tribe:

Get inspired. Put together a thoughtful mood board, a collection of inspiring images so everyone working on the shoot is on the same page. Plus it’s a ton of fun

Create an atmosphere. Blast really good music. Burn Palo Santo, copal or sage, anything aromatic and sumptuous, and feast on delicious organic food

The more the merrier. Photo shoots require lots of work, so the more hands on hand to help bring a vision to life the better

Play! It’s about the experience of coming together to create something, less about the result. Magic happens when we women bring our intention and attention together, a vortex is created and a portal to pure imagination is opened

Be open. Really look to see the beauty inherent in your Tribe and in your surroundings. Make things just to make them, take photos just to take them. Be ridiculous. Be Marvelous

Check out the full series and shop Victoria Keen’s collection at V-Keen.com. You can also follow the Goddess Tribe on Victoria’s Instagram account

Kaylee Boyer shot by Sam Li in NYC
Keylee Boyer shot by Sam Li in NYC

BODY GLYPH: A CEREMONY FOR MOTHER NATURE

“Nature sustains us, and is a living force to be remembered and to be honored. She clothes us in sunlight and shadows, leaves and sand, flowers and geometry. This is the beauty of life off the runway and beyond seasonal trends.”

Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg 

When I first saw Oliver Halsman Rosenberg at a party on the roof of the Standard Hotel this summer, I knew it was only a matter of time before we’d be featuring him on the site. The NYC-born artist and global nomad wore bones around his neck and silver paint on his face, and is the living embodiment of the consciousness-expanding message of his work, “body glyphs” which use the human form as a canvas for messages divined from the world of the unseen.

Described as; “vibrational mantras manifested on skin,” Oliver’s latest project, Ceremony, is a collaboration with the photographer Polina Sirosh. Begun in Tulum, Mexico, on the cusp of the Mayan calendar change in the winter of 2012, the project continued over the summer of 2013 in Berlin.

Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg
Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg

HOW DID THE CONVERSATION ABOUT THIS COLLABORATION START?
I was in Tulum as part of a Design Hotels’ “Pop Up Ashram” project at Papaya Playa, where Polina was living with her husband Claus and two kids (in an amazing home in the jungle right on the beach). She saw me doing my body glyphs at an event there, and proposed we do a shoot. At first it was for fun, but we got such magical results that I moved into her guest hut and we continued to work together for a few months; shooting on the beaches, in the jungle, on ruins, and in cenotes.

WHERE DID YOU SHOOT AND WHY? 
Polina lives in Berlin part of the year, and she invited me to continue working on the project with her there. We used her house as a base and a studio, and then we would drive out into the amazing forests and fields that surround the city. We both have an attraction to the purity of nature, and for this series we wanted to explore and be inspired by the landscape.

Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg
Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg

HOW LONG DOES EACH PAINTING TAKE, AND WERE THESE ALL PRODUCED ON SITE?
Each painting takes three-four hours. Because I never know how Polina will ask the models to pose, I need to cover practically every square inch. I used her rooftop as the studio. It had an amazing view of the city, and created quite a meditative space under the expanse of the Berlin sky.

YOU HAVE DESCRIBED TO ME BEFORE HOW THE PAINTING PROCESS IS ALMOST LIKE ‘CHANNELING’ AN ALIEN LANGUAGE – WHAT’S THE MESSAGE WITH THIS PROJECT?
The calligraphy I do on the body is a language, it’s poetry, it’s math, it’s energy, and it’s meditation all at once. It’s always unique and un-premeditated. Often I just sit with the model, and based on her vibration different patterns emerge on her skin. One model I started to paint with King Tut colors and patterns unconsciously, and it turned out she was part Egyptian. For me it’s just a precious gift I have that I am trying to take care of, and explore in creative ways with creative people. I think with this project, Polina and I both wanted to communicate to the world is that Mother Nature is precious, perhaps the most precious and magical resource we have. And that the body the temple where we worship her. So this project is a celebration of all things natural.

Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg
Photo © Polina Sirosh/Oliver Halsman Rosenberg

WHERE WOULD YOU LOVE TO SEE A WOMAN WEAR ONE OF YOUR ‘PIECES’?
Polina often talks about a fantasy she has about being able to wake up in the future, and instead of wearing clothes, just step inside some machine that prints a fresh pattern of mine on her every morning. As far as seeing women wearing my pieces, I am really curious to see what the designers ThreeAsfour come up with for their next season’s line, which will be based on some textile patterns I created before I went to Berlin in Aug. But I guess the ultimate would be to see my future beloved wearing an otherworldly bridal dress at an altar out somewhere in nature.

Catch Oliver’s body glyphs in person as part of NYC fashion group threeASFOUR‘s PERFORMA 13 event on Nov 10th at The Jewish Museum (RSVP only). The glyphs also feature in the threeASFOUR Fall 2014 collection, premiering Feb 2014

BECOMING MY OWN ASTROLOGER: ASTRO TWINS RETREAT


I’ve always thought astrology was the coolest thing. The idea that my soul chose to be born at a particular time, so that in this life I would embody certain personality traits to help me on my karmic journey. And as a believer in what’s meant-to-be, isn’t the circumstance of your birth the ultimate?
Continue reading “BECOMING MY OWN ASTROLOGER: ASTRO TWINS RETREAT”