WHEN Stacey Nelson was advised by a doctor to take up yoga to stop her anxiety attacks and heart problems she didn't realise how much yoga would change her life over the next 16 years.
Not only did yoga classes stop the former Rockhampton woman's anxiety attacks and heart problems, but it also became her career and landed her on the cover of this month's edition of Australian Yoga Life magazine.
Stacey, 37, moved from Rockhampton to Brisbane when she was 19 to study at university but ended up starting a career as a yoga instructor.
She has been practising yoga for 16 years and teaching it for 11.
"I was a dancer when I was growing up and my first yoga class felt like a relaxing dance class so it just felt perfect for me,” she said.
"I was teaching aerobics at the time and was always on the go, plus I was also a stressed out uni student. I was having anxiety attacks and heart palpitations and was told by one doctor that I needed heart surgery but I went for a second opinion and was told by another doctor that I just needed to relax and he suggested yoga.
"As a result of my high paced lifestyle before yoga, I was diagnosed with a chronic thyroid condition called Graves Disease and have used yoga to help me recover.”
For Stacey, yoga wasn't just a class she went to every Sunday morning to stretch her muscles or relax herself, it was a a saviour to a medical condition and it quickly became a passion.
In 2009 Stacey opened up her own yoga business on the Sunshine Coast called Yoga Palette. Since then she's taught at major yoga festivals, toured around Australia teaching AcroYoga, appeared on national TV a couple of times, released a yoga DVD for adults that sells in stores around Australia and New Zealand and a series of Kids Yoga DVDs that feature on the global health channel Food Matters TV.
Stacey's most recent career highlight though is being photographed for the front cover of Australian Yoga Life magazine and featuring in the latest edition where she talks about balancing the thyroid gland through yoga.
"It feels amazing to be able to now help others who may be working through a similar experience,” she said.
"I love the way yoga makes you feel. You can enter the room feeling stressed and leave feeling centred and calm.
"It feels surreal to be in the magazine, especially when friends keep texting me photos holding it in the news agency, or when a student asks me to sign it for them.
"I feel proud and that I have reached a new milestone in my career and it feels like an inspiration to the people who know me as they have seen what challenges I have been through to show how if you stay focused you really can live your dreams.”
Next month Stacey is returning home to Rockhampton for a week and is offering a children's yoga teacher training course and class.
To find out more visit yogapalette.com.au.