This week’s warrior is April Farrell-Hasty, the founder of Peaceful Lotus, a company that specializes in yoga education, retreats and destination vacations. April is a dynamic , fascinating woman and she has created her life to blend seamlessly with having sickle cell and epitomizes the very essence of a Sickle Cell Warrior: she does not let sickle cell keep her down. Read more to learn about her philosophy and journey.
Hello April. Thanks so much for doing this interview. Let’s take it from the top. How old where you when you found out you had sickle cell? I was diagnosed at two years of age.
How were you able to cope with school and sickle cell? How did your or childhood parents influence your choice of career? Since I was young sickle cell was was a part of my life. I knew nothing else. I did have tutors in high school for about 10 months. My parents did not influence me in my choice of career, I tried several things until I found what made me happy.
Interesting. What do you do? What kind of experience and schooling does one need to get your job? I train people to be yoga teachers. I went to yoga school twice. Once to be a teacher and again to train yoga teachers. I hold a 500 hour degree. It’s like a masters degree for yoga. I also attended classes to specialize in teaching people who are ill yoga. I teach in doctors’ offices.
Describe a typical day on your job. I own my own business so I only work a few days a week. I go to someone’s home or office and I teach yoga. I go to a yoga studio, or doctors’ office and teach yoga. I also do yoga destination vacations so I get to travel all over the world teaching yoga.
Your job sounds amazing April! My mother always told me to do what I love and it sounds like you love your career. How do you manage SCD and still maintain a thriving career? I am vegetarian, I do yoga, I work out. I also have learned to rest when I need it. I meditate and try to stay balanced. I teach people with chronic illnesses so I try to practice what I preach.
Have you noticed a difference in how your coworkers treat you once they know you have SCD? No I have not noticed a difference, but I have my own business. When I am too sick to do a job, I give the job to someone else. For example, I had a private class in a doctors home at 6 a.m. The class was difficult for me because I had to go to bed really early and I was always tired, so I talked to the client, and I gave this job to a friend who was qualified that lived closer to them than I did. She took over and did this job an additional six months.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to join your profession that has sickle cell? You need to be physically fit. Good yoga teachers don’t do yoga very much we walk around and make sure that our students are not getting hurt, but we sometimes demonstrate yoga poses. You also need to know a lot more than your students. A teacher always has a better understanding of the poses, and philosophy than the student.
Has sickle cell limited any areas of your life? No, not at all. I have done everything I wanted to do. I wrote books on yoga. I wanted to travel the world, and I started doing yoga cruises and yoga destination vacations…
When you do reach obstacles in your life, what helps you through it? I meditate about it. There is a Zen proverb I believe in. “Move and the way will open”.
Great proverb. You can’t accomplish anything sitting on your butt! I know there are probably some reading this that are astonished by your accomplishments. Do you have regular pain (more than 2x a week)? How do you cope with this when you are working? Yes, when I am in a lot of pain I walk around and talk more. I teach more breathing when necessary. Also, if there is enough time, I can get a substitute, but that does not happen often.
April, it sounds to me like you don’t let sickle cell keep you down and out. Even when you are hurting, you still stay active. What is your daily medication regimen and what medications do you take when you are in pain? I don’t take pain medication every day. I seem to notice the pain more when I slow down at night. If I need it I take it. I learned from a good friend, a medical doctor who has sickle cell to take the meds when needed( earlier) to avoid the pain getting out of control. I take percocet and something for nausea. I eat organic foods, I see alternative practitioners, herbalist acupuncturist, homeopathy etc. I juice daily: (carrot apple, beets) green vegetable juices.
Going natural is key! How has sickle cell affected your personal life? For example, are you in a relationship, do you have kids, etc. I have been married for 29 years. I have two children who are adults. I have one Grandson. I try to have good relationships. Good friends. I have family members who did not understand my illness, and put a lot of demands on me, which would stress me out. They used to tell me “you don’t look sick”. They are no longer a part of my life. It was frustrating for me to tell them how I felt and what I needed from them and they ignored what I was saying. It made me feel like either they did not care about me or they had their own agenda and did not listen to what I was saying. The stress from the whole situation made me more ill. Eventually even thought it was a difficult decision I had to let go of these people so I could be healthier. These people were in denial about my health.
I think that is excellent advice. Toxic relationships just drain us and shouldn’t be tolerated. Looking at the 14 year old version of yourself, what would you tell her if you could…? Persevere there are better days ahead. Take better care of yourself, become vegetarian a few years earlier, you won’t regret it. Work out.
Is there anything else that you would want to tell other sickle cell warriors? [stextbox id=”alert” color=”000000″ bcolor=”5d395f” bgcolor=”d4b9d3″]Be healthier, stop drinking soda. It’s just chemicals and high fructose corn syrup. Practice yoga or some form of exercise. Let food be your medicine. Take care of yourself, and that is a lot more than just eating well. It involves learning to say no, getting adequate rest, and being sensible and doing what is best for you.[/stextbox]
Awesome! Thanks again. To learn more about April, sign up for a yoga class or take a yoga destination trip, visit Peaceful Lotus.