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Hello everyone, Clarissa here! I wanted to welcome you all to my site, introduce myself, and talk a bit about what led me to yoga. I will start by telling my story where it feels most comfortable and where it holds most significance to this site and myself; at my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and my yoga journey that followed shortly after.
My name is Clarissa Hidalgo and I have had MS for 9 years. I was diagnosed on December 24, 2010, and I still remember hearing those two letters together for the first time that changed my life forever. It felt like my life had only begun. I was 19, a sophomore at the University of California, Merced, my entire life felt like it was ahead of me, and I couldn’t help but think why me? It still brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat when I think about the beginning days, the times of exhaustion and depression so severe it’s unimaginable. I was a college student; I had no time to think about this disease, so I didn’t. I ignored it. I skipped my every day injections often due to severe panic attacks, I lost so much weight that the shots bruised and indented all parts of my body. I was a mess emotionally, physically, and mentally and only my spouse will ever know, because he was the only one that I ever allowed to see me in that vulnerability, and it was a lot.
I was a go-getter, an overachiever who never slowed down. I still remember my junior year of college when I lost vision in my left eye and was hospitalized during finals. Determined, I typed away on my laptop in the hospital, with limited vision, still making top grades every semester. Even with my diagnosis, I pushed myself to graduate in three years with a BA in 2012. I applied to grad school senior year despite the ever-changing symptoms and issues, and was accepted into three out of the four MSW programs to which I had applied. But one week into my first year of grad school, I took the first of what would be several medical leaves: I had to. My physical abilities declined to the point that my neurologist was ready to fit me for a walker. I was so used to being so busy that my life almost came to a halt. I had neglected my own self-care far too much. So, being on break I did the only thing I could do, was forced to do, and took care of myself.
I contacted the Modesto MS Society and began volunteer work making Walk MS thank you calls and arranging for individuals’ needs and accommodations from home. In 2013 I attended my first ever Walk MS where I was designated the role of managing the food booth at Walk MS Modesto, a role I maintained for over 5 years. When I didn’t quite find the right fit for me in local support groups I decided to begin my own which I ran for years. All of these different volunteer and connection opportunities enabled me to develop close ties with my MS community.
I discovered yoga and it changed my life forever. All thanks to assistance from the MS Society, I was able to continue my practice always in one way or another. Even though grad school was something I did, yoga fed my soul always. It allowed me to walk again, wear heels by God, and even run sometimes. Things I thought were gone forever for certain became a possibility with simple self-care! It was at that moment in time that I vowed with these gifts I had so fortunately been given back, I would do everything in my power to take care of myself.
While on a medical leave in 2014, I became pregnant with my daughter and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. MS was almost nonexistent to me for nine months, I couldn’t believe it. I practiced regular and prenatal yoga faithfully during pregnancy; I learned to love myself through my changes and most of all, my child. Giving life allowed me to see life for what it really is and what matters, and appreciate it. Not long after that I decided to leave grad school completely to become a registered yoga teacher.
And so here I am. I am currently a part-time yoga instructor and the full time mom of a 3 year old. I have been doing yoga since 2012 and I will say it a million times: yoga saved me physically, emotionally, mentally… you name it. I became certified to teach yoga in the spring of 2017 and I specialize in accessible yoga.
I now run Adaptive (among other) yoga classes and am certified through the NMSS in Adaptive Yoga for MS. I run both in-person and online private sessions for clients; customizing and modifying routines for everything from fibromyalgia to multiple sclerosis. I am an Accessible Yoga Ambassador and a proud advocate of yoga for everyone.
My MS has been in remission for years now as well.
I am incredibly grateful and humbled with where I stand today in life. Having been diagnosed at an early age, it’s almost unthinkable where my life has brought me to today. But like I will say to anyone that asks, “MS is the best worst thing that has ever happened to me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Growing up in the small Central Valley town of Orosi, California; my life prospects were limited by everything from resources to role models. Third generation in a proud and traditionally held line of farmers, my choice to be the first generation college student in my family was one that was difficult needless to say.
When my MS became difficult, so did life. I realized my health was priority, and needed to be for so many others! I do this for myself, but most of all I do it for all of you.
To improve your quality of life and make doing it easier and fun all the way!
So whether it’s wellness or business consulting to revitalize, focus, and plan yours or your businesses needs, mentoring sessions to get your career or life where you want to go, or just an awesome one of a kind tailored yoga session, find it all here!
In Light and Love,
Clarissa Lisette Hidalgo