Welcome. Let me introduce myself properly... I am Nichola - a highly sensitive person who also happens to be a Yoga practitioner, teacher, mum, wife and business owner. I’m guessing you’re here because you are also HSP, or perhaps you’re not sure, or you practice yoga, or maybe know me personally. Maybe you are just being curious. Either way I am glad you are here.
First of all, there is one thing that needs to be said - being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is a real and measurable thing. It is an innate and NORMAL trait. I say this for the highly sensitive readers who have been made to feel abnormal and weird, but also for the non HSPs who may have a wrongly informed view of what being sensitive actually means. The trait of High Sensitivity is present in 15-20% of the human population, this is a consittent and well documented finding. It also exists in many other animal species too. It is NOT just being shy or overly emotional. I repeat, it does not mean being overly shy and emotional.
If you, like me have felt a bit out of kilter with the rest of society, an outsider or at least on the very edge of what is considered normal – I am here to tell you that you are perfectly wonderful as you are. Whilst having this trait of high sensitivity is completely ‘normal’, in our culture the trait is not valued, in fact it is more often portrayed negatively. This poses a few ‘challenges’ in navigating this modern world of ours – more on this to come in later posts.
In a nutshell, HSPs process sensory information much more deeply than those without the trait. We are the deep thinkers, over-analysers, the ones with deep intuitive wisdom and those often sought after for advice from close friends. Our senses are simply more sensitive, which is great for picking up subtleties and small details that others can miss, but can also mean that we become more easily overwhelmed and overstimulated. Due to this, HSPs often find that they need time to retreat away from others and the busyness of life to recharge. Alongside all of this, HSPs are also wired in a way that allows us to deeply empathise with others, sometimes knowing how someone feels before it even registers with them! There is so much more to say about the finer details of this trait and I look forward to exploring them in future posts. Until then, if this sounds like it resonates I would urge you to find out more for yourself. Dr. Elaine Aron is the ultimate guru when it comes to research on the trait. Find her website HERE.
So... Why the Highly Sensitive Yogi? Well for me, yoga has been a crucial part of understanding myself and I believe it has been essential to me living in a way that suits my sensitive self. I love practicing yoga and I also love sharing it with others. Best of all, I love using the tools of yoga to facilitate someone else in truly understanding all parts of themselves.
Naturally being an HSP, I like to dive in deep, so let’s continue to know each other better… I love trees, deep conversation, chocolate, nature, soft clothes, cuddles with my dog, reading (a lot), singing along to power ballads, vegetables, moving my body (especially alongside a decent sound track) and of course, Yoga.
I do not like small talk (I mean what is even the point?), pubs, injustice, bowling, violent and scary films, dishonesty, itchy jumpers, intense eye contact, a lot of noise and unexpected hugs.
When I was a child I knew I was different. I felt different. I contemplated deep things. I felt like I just knew how others in my family were feeling without them even saying (and with a difficult home life as a child these were often not nice feelings), I struggled to make friends and was an easy target for bullies, or those who were just more ‘thick-skinned’ than me. I never felt understood. School was an extremely stressful experience. I was constantly told the message to ‘toughen up’, ‘ignore the bullies’, ‘don’t let it bother you’ and my personal favourite ‘you’re just too serious Nichola!’. On the flip side, within the small friendship groups I did have, I was often the ‘shoulder to cry on’, and could be relied on to listen and provide support. I was also pretty bright and learnt quickly. I enjoyed getting lost in art, music and stories. Perhaps some of this feels familiar to you?
The thing is, us HSPs are wired to feel and process things more deeply – it is the way we are. I wish I’d have known that being an HSP is normal. Instead I have struggled with myself for years. Us HSPs are brilliantly conscientious, so perfectionism and people pleasing came natural to me - in fact it still does. Maybe it comes easily to you too? BUT here’s the thing – living in a way to meet other’s expectations will eventually kill you (figuratively and most likely literally). Honestly, there was a point in my life when I felt it could have gone that way. Thankfully, yoga found me at the right time. I have decided to get off the people-pleasing, one-size fits all train and fathom my own path instead. Hoorah!
This blog is my way of documenting a little of my journey so far and sharing what I find. This will include diving in to all that we know about High Sensitivity, digging in to some serious self-study, as well as a whole lot of yoga! I would love for you to come along for the ride. It will be messy. There will be ups and downs, but I am determined to live a life that serves me and I would like that for you too. This is my mission. I want you, dear reader to not just get by. I want you to feel strong and centred in your whole being so that you can flourish as the beautiful person you are.
It is my belief that the world needs us more than ever. No more sitting back. We have the talents and gifts that the world needs to heal. To do that, we must heal ourselves first.
Are you in?