Before launching the website in August of 2012, Yoga Stories partners Paige Eden and Kelly Shroads spent years dreaming of a way to bring their passions for yoga and photography together, and simultaneously, help change lives through the power of yoga. Amidst running their individual businesses, going through their own healing processes and practicing as much as possible, this became a challenging task. However, the goal only got stronger as their individual practices grew and their yoga communities strengthened, and finally came in to being. Both portrait, wedding, travel and fine art photographers, Paige Eden and Kelly Shroads have extensive experience in creating beauty through the lens of a camera, and mostly through bringing someone's personality to life. To them, yoga has the power to change lives, as it has their own, and combining yoga with photography is a dream come true.
The ultimate goal of YogaStories.org is to raise money for programs that help people have better access to yoga, and doing so by celebrating individuals and their stories about how yoga has transformed their own lives. It is our goal to create a non-profit organization to help people who are underprivileged; financially, mentally, or physically, including at risk youth, people with physical or mental disabilities, or people who don't live in areas with easy access to yoga. We believe so strongly in the power of yoga to heal, that our mission is to use our strengths, our stories and the stories of others to inspire people who have never stepped on to a yoga mat, to give it a try and hopefully open a door to a new life. It is our deepest desire to inspire change through yoga, to inspire growth, healing, transformation, community, connection, confidence, well being, positivity, strength, self awareness, empowerment, and the ability to let go of fear...consequently living a richer, happier, more empowered, beautiful and pain-free life.
Yoga Stories is a work in progress and always will be...We would love your participation! Share your story. Create beauty. Be inspired! Contact us for more information and we would love to hear your comments on our guestbook. Yoga Stoties is based in Denver, but we welcome travel openly.
Our Current Charity
The Chanda Plan Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for persons with physical disabilities through education and programs to access integrative therapies, including but not limited to yoga.
Check out Chanda Hinton's Yoga Story here, founder of the Chanda Plan!
I’ll never forget New Year’s Eve of 2009.
That evening I took my first yoga class.
As I look back at that time, my life felt unfulfilled, my marriage had just ended, I was emotionally, financially, spiritually drained and, the cherry on top: I was in the worst physical shape of my life.
My roommate offered to take me to her yoga studio for my first class. I was excited and nervous. I knew I was in bad shape. During class, I struggled to keep up and physically could not do some of the poses. I cried and hoped no one noticed.
As I lay there in shavasana, tears rolled down the sides of my face. I knew I had to do something, and this “something” was yoga. I had to make a change.
I committed myself to do yoga for 30 days, every day, no matter what. I was greeted with much enthusiasm by the teachers and other “practitioners” of yoga – much to my surprise. I heard “oh, that is so great of you, what a gift to give yourself” and many other uplifting comments. I was really thinking inside “wow, is it REALLY that special, what I’m doing, or do these people know something I don’t know?”.
My 30 days had come and gone and I was feeling better. In fact, I was feeling so much better that I immediately signed up for the next month on an unlimited basis – and the month after that, the month after that, and the month after that. You get my drift. I was hooked on yoga!
Yoga gave (and continues to give me) an unwavering peace and confidence about myself, heck – about the world! It has shown me beauty, clarity, strength (oh my goodness – you better believe it!), resilience, mindfulness, patience, openness, calmness and an inner being that is content and happy.
Yoga healed me in many different ways – It gave me hope, It gave me the power to hold my head up, It gave me the strength to let go and only hold onto what serves my purpose. Yoga also changed my body – I’m now a much lighter human being – in a thousand different ways!
I love Yoga! If you let it, it will change you!
What initially inspired you to do yoga?
I was initially inspired to do yoga because I had a sudden onset of pain, on and off, all throughout my body, and needed healing energy desperately. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1998 and was in a serious state of disbelief that I could get such a degenerative, life long chronic disease at the age of 22. Originally I masked the pain with loads of ibuprofen and alcohol, which quickly caught up with me. I was in denial. I didn't want to admit that this was something I could be dealing with for the rest of my life. When I realized that escaping pain through toxic and unhealthy behaviors wasn't going to be sustainable, I turned to yoga. I originally practiced Bikram yoga, which was the only thing that made me feel good in my body...the heat was wonderful for my joints, pouring out sweat and releasing toxins made me feel euphoric after being done with a class. I quickly realized that along with arthritis, yoga would be a part of my life forever.
What keeps you coming back to your mat everyday?
What I love about yoga the most is the absolute stillness that happens on my mat. Immediately I am quieted, even if my mind is still racing, coming to my mat brings my energy to center and allows me to witness any sort of craziness going on in my mind and body. And with the simplicity of breath, I have the inate power to change anything I want about my reality, choose happiness and peace, move through pain, and practice full acceptance of myself.
How has yoga affected your life? What does it mean to you?
Yoga has 100% completely changed my life. If I weren't doing yoga, I would still be in dabilitating pain, mental and emotional suffering, and lacking spiritual connection. Yoga has given me the greatest gift in living a meaningful, beautiful, healthy and balanced life.
Has yoga contributed to some healing in your life?
I attribute yoga as the largest thing in my life that manages my pain and keeps my disease at bay. I am actually living pain free now, which is an actual miracle! Sometimes I forget that I have arthritis, which 10 years ago would have been absolutely impossible. I am on serious medication to keep the disease from progressing, but if I didn't practice yoga, I would definitely still feel the disease in my body, and suffer from its symptoms, even with the medicine. Yoga has not only created space in my joints through physical practice, but it has enabled me to heal emotionally from depression, a common side effect of arthritis, it has enabled me to heal spiritually, move through my past traumas, accept myself and connect to my spirit. The most beautiful thing to me about this is that I know I will always be supported in all aspects of my life, if I step on my mat and practice yoga. It feels like a gift from god, and I know in my heart that it truly is.
What about yoga enables you to help others and change the world for the better?
When I practice yoga, I am generally a more grounded, happy and pleasant person. I am confident, clear and inspired. I make choices that reflect who I truly am. I stay calm when difficult situations come up. When I am able to live from this place, I am a big believer that I inspire other people to do the same.
What is your favorite quote that you live by?
Live light, travel light, spread the light, be the light.