DEB BARBER'S PERSONAL JOURNEY
My journey with complementary health therapy began in my childhood through my beloved Grandparents who gave so much love, time and educational effort assisting me as a young child. They instilled the need for good nutrition within my dietary choices. This was important to them to impart because at the age of 3 years old, I had to cope with not being able to breath fully through a broken bridge of my nose. Internally damaged, my immune system was compromised along and I suffered many other respiratory conditions. I spent 12 years predominantly mouth breathing. It was a challenging time to say the least. I was treated by a wonderful man and Professor of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT disorders), medication and hospital time. I had a successful operation when I was 15 years old during which I had 2 breathing passages made at back of my nose and bones fused. But during the operation I had a near death experience and was in a coma. After coming to, the feeling of being able to breathe through my nose and correctly use my respiratory system had a huge impact on me.
When I was introduced to yoga classes, I immediately felt as if I had arrived home. Breathing properly was so important to me and breath is integral to yoga practice. For both health and movement, it is inseparable. I also learnt how the nose filters and warms the air and mouth breathing does not. I was instantly fascinated and hooked on all aspects of yoga. I attended class once a week then bought my first yoga book (which I still have!). I also purchased and read all the books my instructor, Murna White from the Yoga School for Health in Melbourne, recommended discussed them with her. At 21 years of age, Murna asked if I would like to learn to teach yoga under her guidance. This was the best 21st birthday present I received! So, I changed from working in an office to working in the community on the advice of Murna. She advised me to learn more about how to be of service to whoever comes across my path and to practice “tuning in to their needs”. This also gave me the opportunity to attend philosophy and deep relaxation instruction and classes as well as meditation and various other workshops which enabled me to spend precious time with her. Teaching Yoga began via her school. Murna first gave me four classes in a community centre in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. To undertake this I was instructed to ‘scribe’ her weekly lesson and present it to the four classes.
Over the years I moved to rural New South Wales and worked as a short order cook as well as teaching yoga to friends and others who came to me. I then got married and had two wonderful and loving children who have since grown up. When we moved to Queensland, I worked within my children’s community. I taught one class a week locally and all along I have kept doing yoga myself as well as developing my knowledge of the yogic system and applying it to my own life.
Needing to work full-time, I decided to undertake aged and community care studies. I worked in homes and a high-care facility where I developed a special interest in dementia as a result of my beloved grandmother developing it. I studied validation therapy and applied the techniques then shared my knowledge. I was next introduced to a young psychology student who wanted to learn about yoga and meditation so I undertook the job of creating classes for him once a week. He had an interest in autism and so I worked out yogic practices to assist his clients. He applied them and they worked. He learnt about letting go of stress via yoga practices. I then worked for a Montessori pre-school and gained a Certificate III in Children’s Services. I also completed children’s yoga courses including the Radiant Child program with Kundalini Yoga, Calm kids and various other workshops. I then decided to teach yoga for children at the school once a week. Additionally, I passed an Autism Behaviour Therapy course and assisted in integrating children with autism into the school. By incorporating all I had learnt, I discovered ways to assist their progression.
Later on I wrote and successfully presented my breath workshop “Breathe with Me”. I then studied Reiki and became qualified at levels I and II. I am currently working on becoming a Reiki Master. Becoming a Reiki practitioner has enhanced my scope to assist others on their journey. Reiki practice and study has reinforced all that yoga taught me – especially in terms of breathing practice and the significance of Chakras. That said, yoga continues to be the foundation along my journey. However, along the Reiki path I was invited to attend a workshop for “Reiki and Reflexology for Cancer”. I learnt the now-documented procedures to reduce anxiety related to this condition.
At the same time I studied and became Diploma-qualified in Restorative Yoga Therapy with Jayne Hope Williams. I am now a registered yoga teacher and Restorative Yoga Therapy teacher with her school. Jayne is very supportive and encouraging and always available to talk to. Thank you Jayne! I always believed that feet needed to be looked after. This once again came from my beloved grandparents who taught me about the importance of wearing well-fitting and supportive shoes. They also taught me to change your shoes at the end of the day and how to walk with attention to posture. My beloved grandparents also told me not to wear thongs as they give the feet no support. This advice was also confirmed by an uncle whose job was making splints for children as he had seen the detrimental effects of wearing ill-fitting shoes and thongs through his long career. During the early days of yoga training, we were introduced to feet massaging. My interest grew and this year I decided it was time to work towards working in the complimentary health Industry full-time. To that end, I next obtained a Certificate of Massage Therapy for whole body relaxation. I have been massaging friends’ feet with good results by combining this with reiki. I have also been massaging their shoulders and head as well.
I have now worked out a program of yoga practices to open, balance and heal the body through the Chakra system via Asanas (i.e. yoga postures), Pranayama (i.e. breath practices), Nidra (i.e yoga deep relaxation), meditative visualisations and much, much more. This course helps my clients to progress in their understanding of how to achieve deep relaxation and carry themselves through life physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It teaches them how to let go of tense and anxious attitudes and acts as a reference point to remind them how to get back on the right path. The path of life is ever-winding and has its ups and downs so the best we can do is to expand our “coping toolbox” in order to care for ourselves and apply the techniques when we need to.