Posted by Kate Oakley

We continue to see inspiration from amazing women who are so strong and courageous. Our friend and yoga instructor Kristi Paxton has shared her story of healing, self-assurance and well-being after a car accident left her a single mom of three kids. Her amazing story of how yoga helped her spirit to renew and awaken is a true inspiration. 
Read on and be inspired by this amazing woman, our friend Kristi Paxton.
Did I Find Yoga or Did Yoga Find Me?
A personal journey into healing
It begins when "life was great"...a cliche', but true. My little family was healthy, happy, active, and had just enjoyed its first trip to Disney World. Only days later our world was rocked to the core and changed forever —a car accident left me a single mom to a 6, 8, and 12 year old.
What do you do with this??? I felt frozen, confused, scared, abandoned, helpless and overwhelmed. How do you get out of bed, much less make breakfast, pack lunches, take three children to school, soccer, baseball, boy scouts, dance team, celebrate a precious girl's 13th birthday, or answer questions...the heart breaking questions?
As the years passed by, this daunting task as a single mom found me depleted, exhausted, unbalanced, unhappy, and plagued with self-doubt. I started searching for something to fill me up, restore my spirit, bring me clarity of mind and make me physically strong enough to carry the load by myself. I knew this "thing" I was looking for needed to offer peace and a sense of calm to this type "A" personality of mine. I longed for the strength to provide for and enjoy the three amazing gifts I was left in charge of.
So, clinging on to my favorite Bible verse (Jeremiah 29:11) I knew deep in my heart God would provide this for me. He daughter walked in one day and said, "Mom, you should try yoga!”.
It took a lot of courage to walk into the unfamiliar. I immediately found the yoga studio a tranquil place where I could actually take a full deep intentional breath. It felt right and it felt good! I could feel and see the provision for my sanity start to unfold. I knew almost instantaneously this "journey" as they called yoga would help me heal.
As I began my practice, I started to notice how the physical part of yoga, the asana made my body feel strong and alive. I noticed how the meditative part of yoga gave my mind the break it needed. I noticed how the pranayama encouraged me to take a full, deep intentional breath. This breath gave my over-stimulated nervous system a reprieve.
Every time I stepped off the mat I felt stronger, really conscious and self-aware. My spirit had started to renew and awaken. I began to understand how the sad and toxic emotions I was carrying were buried deep in my muscle tissues and locked down deep in my joints. As my practice continued my body increasingly became more supple and strong. My hips felt as if they had grown lungs and could breathe, release and let go. The "release" and "letting go" aspect of yoga started to create in me a sense of gratefulness for this surprising transformation.
In finding yoga I found a safe place to feel and deal with my pain and most importantly let go of it! Somehow I knew it was really important to feel the pain and not mask it. To let the wound ooze and bleed and heal from the inside out.
l was working so hard at being okay.... I had to be okay so my children could be okay. Knowing ALL things trickle down from the top, I wanted my children to see me as a strong, healthy, confident and positive role model. They were and still are my biggest inspiration to be a good person...
Yoga is not perfect nor does it make you a perfect person, but it has helped this imperfect person heal and regain a sense of confidence and health. love for yoga and quest for more knowledge about this 5,000 year old science led me to an amazing yoga teacher training program at Balance Health Studio in South Florida 2011. This training only fueled my desire to learn adventuresome spirit which I thought was forever lost kicked into high gear! An advanced teacher training found me next in yoga Medicine with Tiffany Cruikshank. Through this Yoga Medicine program I began to see the world. A dream I would have never imagined for myself years prior. These trainings completed my 500 hour certification as a yoga instructor. My studies took me to South Africa, Australia, Thailand, Napa Valley and the journey continues...
I am inspired and eternally grateful for every experience and every person that has crossed my path in this journey called yoga. My passion now as a yoga instructor lies in inspiring others to take that first step on to the mat no matter how intimidating or uncomfortable. I seek to inspire people to begin this journey no matter where they are in life or what has happened to them.
Every time I leave the mat I learn something more about myself and maybe, just maybe, what I learned could help someone else. Stepping onto that mat you face the real “you”...I face the real me every day on the mat....raw, flawed, seeking peace of mind, a sense of wholeness, strength and health. I have grown to love and enjoy the process. Obviously there are serious benefits to this practice, but there is also some serious fun... “Yoga bliss” is real and a phenomenon that is just magical to me.
I still have days full of sadness, self-doubt, insecurities, and questions, but I am grateful that this yoga lifestyle has helped me continue to heal, stay strong and calm, and most of all, help others along the way.
My wounds have turned to wisdom....
My scars remind me I survived...
Without this wound I doubt this "light" this "yoga" would have entered my life and for this I am more than grateful.
They say......”When you can tell your story and not cry, you are healed.” ...I guess I am still a work in progress. I am a person humbled to that process. I am a grateful human being. I am a proud Mom, I am an inspired yoga teacher and I am a person seeking a lifetime of adventure...
THANKYOU....Yoga for finding me...
Kristi Paxton is a yoga instructor and certified yoga medicine instructor. She lives in Tupelo, Mississippi with her family. 
Follow Kristi on Social Media:
Instagram: @krspaxton