"Growing up in the UK with a strict, conservative Turkish family had a significant impact on my mental health" . "My deep connection to yoga emerged at a time where my needs were quite abstract. I was in a pretty dark place & felt the lowest I'd ever felt . My family refused to adapt to the way of life here in the UK & put a lot of pressure on me to adopt Turkish values; there was never any room to explore who I was or to choose differently. I was torn between 2 cultures & lacked a sense of identity.The older I got, the bigger this void grew. I began leading a double life as I was too scared to be myself around my family due to fear of rejection. It was suffocating. I finally decided to be honest and come clean to my family about who I was and what I wanted in life. Being naive, I actually had hope that my family would see past the differences & still be in my life. The next year unfortunately involved a lot of rejection & abuse . The things my parents said to me made me feel dirty & a failure for being who I am. It broke me & I spiralled & lost control. Depression hit me hard. Everything was exhausting. I couldn't see the point of anything anymore . During this period, somehow I managed to pluck up the courage & energy to take a yoga class. I was doing therapy & had just started taking anti-depressants & I knew somehow I had to re-programme my brain from the damage & trauma that had been caused . A few weeks in, I began noticing the effects those classes were having on me. I started to feel the tension in my body dissipate and felt moments of lightness in Savasana which were so unfamiliar to me. My body was so used to being in a constant state of tension & previously didn't know how to relax . Over time, by observing my breath through movement, it allowed me to slow down, be present & feel. It encouraged me to be kinder, more compassionate to myself, to love my body, my intelligence, my very being just as I am & I will forever be grateful for what yoga has done for me . I still haven't resolved things with my family yet but I am finally at peace with who I am"