Hey! I’m Eliza, but you can call me Elle.
As a child I was always tracking off to investigate, and pulling things apart just to put them back together. According to my parents I had programmed our VHS player before the age of 2. Girl gotta get her Sesame Street fix.
My favourite, or compulsive, thing to do was to climb. I loved being at the top of things observing, to see the bigger picture. I also loved books. Luckily Mum was a teacher, because my desire to learn meant I wanted to read at a young age.
This inquisitive mind of mine has been a blessing. Especially when I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 14 and chronic fatigue in my early 20s - two things that don’t necessarily have a cure.
It was time to investigate. To pull everything apart, in order to put myself back together. I needed to learn as much as I possibly could about these conditions and also myself.
The abnormal lateral curvature of my spine known as scoliosis didn’t produce too many problems until I was at university studying Law. Hours at a desk combined with what seemed to be insurmountable stress and anxiety lead to muscle spasms, sciatica, and lower back pain. I was lost, unhappy, too far from the healing nature of the ocean and my health was on the decline.
Chronic fatigue, debilitating back pain, anxiety and stress that soon lead to depression is a period in my life that I’d easily refer to as my rock bottom. But the beauty in reaching rock bottom was that I finally had a place to plant my feet, push off and kick to the surface.
I watched an ad on TV where an unhealthy person witnessed a healthier version of themselves pass them in the street. Very effective marketing for a Health Fund's Extras Cover and also the light bulb moment I desperately needed. Cheers Universe!
I thought to myself, I wonder what it would feel like to be the happiest, healthiest and fittest version of myself? That was all the motivation I needed.
At the beginning of 2013 I decided to create my @elle_fit account. An online journal of my progress. A place for me to be me (or rediscover who that was) and have a sense of accountability. A year dedicated to putting myself and my health first.
I remember one day in particular. I bent over to pick up a Law textbook for the first time that semester. Not to read. Just to dust the shelf. Doing what a procrastinator does best. As I picked up the textbook my back went into spasm and I fell to the floor. The nerve pain was so excruciating that driving my manual car was not an option. I crawled to the closest chiropractor to be put back together.
To give you an idea of my university budget, nachos were a staple and guacamole was a treat I went without, so unfortunately daily yoga classes were completely out of the question.
I often wished for a 'yoga homework sheet' - a sequence you could follow at home, as many times as you needed to, without the continual reliance on a studio membership. I didn't sign up for having scoliosis and I certainly didn't sign up for spending any remaining money on a lifetime of pain management.
I began stretching at home. The more I stretched, the less I stressed. It decreased my anxiety dramatically and allowed me to see breaks in the cloud of depression I was experiencing.
AND it fixed my back! No more spasms or nerve pain. I had finally discovered a way to manage my scoliosis.
As I continued to share my story and progress on social media I realised I wasn’t alone. I had lots of questions from people asking me what I was doing for my back and how I was improving my flexibility. I scaled all corners of the internet to learn as much as I could but no one offered what I was seeking.
I decided to take a semester off studying, and replace it with a different kind of study, Yoga Teacher Training. A chance for my inquisitive mind to delve further into a topic I had become so passionate about.
Yoga Teacher Training and Law seemed like an unlikely combination but it didn't take me long to realise the value in both.
A Law degree requires you to research, analyse, evaluate, persevere and bring an element of creativity when it comes to solving problems. I didn't foresee myself working in a Law firm but I knew these 5 years of study would be invaluable.
Turns out these skills were exactly what I needed in order to create a solution to my own problems and then share it with the world.
The birth of Get Bendy.
A yoga sequence on a poster.
My very own homework sheet.
A chance to disconnect from technology and connect with my body.
PS. Golden retrievers make life 100x better.