The woman behind Forsyth County’s newest yoga studio offers more than a workout. She offers healing. A way to find yourself. And she is proving it in children with ADHD who are no longer dragged down by medicine. Like a big stretch in the morning, they wake up.
Rital in. Concerta. Elephant pose . Metadate. Focalin. Adderall. Dextrostat. Giraffe pose. Strattera. Tree pose. Intuniv. Kapvay.
All treatments for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, in children. In a softly lit yoga studio near The Collection at Forsyth where the warmth and welcoming massage oil scents swaddle you in from the cold wind kicking up leaves outside, Courtney Waring attests only some work, and they’re the ones children see in their bedtime books and not on the side of an orange bottle.
Waring knows. Not just because she’s a yoga, Reiki and meditation instructor. Because she has seen kids attain the wanted side effects by looking inward instead of reaching for a pill and a glass of water.
Waring knows not because she has read, or heard, or seen the healing powers of yoga. Because she has felt them herself, felt the pain of autoimmune diseases and the haze of medications. She has felt the release of stress, and of pent up anger and trauma, and even of the need for doctor-prescribed treatments for an incurable deficiency.
“There’s a lot of energy healing I incorporate into my yoga classes. I focus on the specific needs of clients versus power yoga. I’m trained in power yoga. I could have opened up a traditional hot power yoga studio. I have one on the schedule, but I’ve found that a lot of people have therapeutic issues they need to work out. Yoga works out all of those things, but you won’t find that in a typical studio. I really wanted to get into the foundation of yoga, and that’s the healing property that yoga offers.”
“They’re not even in their bodies”
Waring has seen the need for healing, both in herself and when she worked in a pharmacy out of college.
According to the Federal Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 11 per-cent – 6.4 million – kids aged 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD in the U.S. as of 2011, up from 7.8 percent in 2003 and from 9.5 percent in 2077.
Children are being prescribed medi-cine as early as 2.
A study detailed by the CDC showed children aged 4-17 with ADHD received either medication or behavior therapy, and “many were not receiving treatment as described in the best practice guidelines from 2011.” “I would see kids come in, and they’d be getting Adderall refills or you name it, it’s a bunch of them, and they’d be like walking zombies.
They’d be just totally quiet, eyes are like glazed over. It’s almost like they’re not even in their bodies. And even if you talk to them, it’s a delayed response. And that’s what the medicine is doing to them.”
Those kids were, on average, 9.
“They’re supposed to be hyper and curious and wanting to know about the world, you know, just looking and fanta-
sizing about all kinds of things and hav-ing day dreams and just still living in their imagination. But all of that medi-cine, it really robs kids of that and it shuts all of that down. It shuts down that entire creative portion of who they are.”
“Your body can heal itself”
Waring has seen the need for healing, and she has witnessed the healing power
“With kids, you know, they don’t know how to deal with [stressors]. They don’t even know how to release what’s going on. A lot of the time they don’t even know how to talk about what they’re feeling. Not to mention they don’t understand their feelings. They have no idea.”
When people – especially kids – learn how to handle stress, she said, concentration and behavior is a byproduct. Waring takes kids on what she calls imagination trips in the studio, where “we might be going through the forest and they see an elephant so they’ll do an elephant pose, or they’ll see a giraffe or tree … so it helps foster their imagination and their creativity.”
She’s had parents take their kids off medication after practicing yoga. They’re more focused. Making better grades. Acting respectful. Calmer.
“Yoga and meditation gives us time to sit down, to calm down and to let our body do what it does naturally. Because naturally, your body can heal itself. It can regenerate and do everything it needs to do – if you help it.”
WHO IS COURTNEY WARING?
Courtney Waring’s story used to be one of pain. Physical pain. Mental pain. A story she felt but did not know when and why the pages began turning. She was a 20-year-old cheerleader in college when she was diagnosed with lupus and fibromyalgia. For the next eight years, she was taking eight or nine medications a day.
She was fresh out of college. She had a house. A car. A high-paying job working in a pharmacy.
“At 23, I was surpassing my peers, and they didn’t know I wasn’t happy. Because I had all these things. And I’m able to hang out whenever I want and to travel all over the place. They didn’t see what wasinside at night. But I did, and I was crying and I couldn’t figure out why I was so sad.”
The thing about your story, though, is that it is your own. You can change it. That’s what Waring did.
“I was going into my 29th birthday, and it dawned on me, ‘Hey, I’m not even 30 yet and I’m on eight medications. Am I really going to do this for the rest of my life?”
She started researching alternative treatments. She always knew of yoga, but she never took it seriously. “I thought it was just a workout.”
She credits her practice as “90 percent of the reason I healed, yoga and meditation, and that I came off my medication.”
“The main thing I learned about myself is I was holding onto childhood trauma. That was my biggest issue. I was still holding onto anger at my mom, and just anger at different things that went on in my childhood, and with yoga, it kind of teaches you to just release all that stuff because it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s over. It’s done. We’re in the now. Now is the only time that matters. Yoga is very big on teaching you that and to focus on this moment.”
So that’s what Waring did. Her story used to be one of pain. Now it is one of awareness, one of healing, one of light.
“It’s truly like everything just started melting away once I just said, ‘OK, that happened when I was a kid. It happened. I need to get over it.”
That breakthrough was in 2009. After becoming certified to teach yoga in 2012, she stayed in Charlotte, North Carolina at the studio where she trained until July 2015. Since relocating to Forsyth County, she taught at the YMCA until opening her first private studio, GoodLife Yoga Studios, on Bethelview Road in November.
“I called it GoodLife because once you tap into the inside of you and heal all that smut that’s going on in there, you get to see the benefits on the outside. You see the world in a more positive light. You create your world, so if you want a positive environment, you can create that yourself.”