My name is Afshi and I am the owner and founder of the AFSHI Method.
Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would be using my name as an acronym for my business. While searching for a name for my business and questioning what defined the principles of fitness for me, Afshi, I ended up turning my name into an acronym; Agility,Flexibility,Strength,Health (Sleep, Stress and Diet management) and Independence.
The journey to AFSHI Method has been one filled with nudges, taps, trials, and tribulations. I read somewhere that when universe wants you to do something it will first whisper in your ear, then it will gently tap you on your shoulder and then finally it will break your shoulder.
When I was 16, I got strep throat which turned into rheumatic fever through mis-managed medical care. Four years later I was diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease with my mitral and aortic valves damaged. I was told that I would need surgery in 10 years if not sooner, since the valves would continue to deteriorate. At 20 one really doesn’t know how to process that information. But I believe that it was the whisper in my ear by the universe, gently guiding me down the path I was supposed to be on. A class in Nutrition in college changed my perspective on food. From eating cheese fries and cheese burgers I started eating healthier. I was determined to not undergo surgery so apart from changing my diet I started exercising.
I went on to finish college, get married, have a son, get certified as a personal trainer. I found an amazing cardiologist. Life was good!
In 2010 I was looking into joining a Yoga Teacher Training Program. I was asked to provide medical clearance prior to starting my training. While picking up the clearance form from my cardiologists office I happened to run into my cardiologist. One look at me and he said, “oh boy, you need to see the surgeon, you need surgery”. A week later I was meeting with the surgeon and scheduling my valve replacement surgery.
Two months after my surgery I was back at work, training clients and living a life of gratitude and awareness. My cardiologist had signed my heart shaped pillow with a note that read, “so so proud of you, go make a difference”. That was a gentle tap on my shoulder, suggesting I find my purpose.
I was convinced my new valves would last me the rest of my life. The mere suggestion of another replacement was emotionally distressing. I convinced myself that I would never need another surgery again. Never! Six years later,I started feeling shortness of breath and heart palpitations. My cardiologist had retired. My new cardiologist also happened to be my surgeons daughter. When I called to set an appointment to see her I was told there were no appointments available for the next six months. I left a message reporting the shortness of breath and palpations. Her nurse called me back and asked me to come in the next day. Honestly, my first reaction was “oh my God, I just cried wolf”. I told the nurse that it wasn’t that urgent and that I would see her after six months and the appointment should be given to someone who urgently needed it. Ten minutes later I got another call from the nurse saying, “ she wants you to come in”. The next few days were spent in hospital visits and testing. She informed us that one of the valves was leaking and I needed another replacement. My surgeon, her father, was in Canada for a Cardiac convention. She called him, pulled him out of the meeting, and asked him to get back because my valve had failed and I might need an emergency replacement. I met with my surgeon a day later. He said to me that because I was physically well with a strong heart I could manage without surgery for three months before the valve completely stopped working. I scheduled the surgery a month out.
Even though the second time I knew what to expect, how much pain I’d be in, how much physical strength I would need post-surgery, I was still scared. I cried, prayed, hugged my tree, turned to my friends for support, meditated. My husband and son were my rocks. Finally, I turned to yoga, squats, pranayama to prepare myself for the surgery. I strongly believe that my physical strength post-surgery expedited my recovery. It takes about a year to fully recover form an open heart surgery, physically and emotionally.
A year after my surgery, I was certain that the universe had whispered in my ear, tapped on my shoulder and finally broken my shoulder, I hadn’t been living with a defined purpose and that bothered me. One morning I jumped out of bed opened the drapes and announced to my husband and the universe that I was going to open my fitness studio. I had decided that my purpose in life was to take care of others. From that point onward it was as if it was meant to be, I found the studio space, met the right people, stepped on to the other side of fear. I moved forward with the conviction that even if I made a difference in the life of one person, I will have served my purpose. In May of 2018 I opened my studio with the support, love and encouragement of my family and friend.
I have added to my credentials as a Certified Fitness Trainer. I am a Certified Specialist in Exercise Therapy, a Certified Yoga and Pilates Instructor, I have completed the Cornell Universitys Diet and Healthy Living Certificate program, I am a CDC certified National Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. Our studio is listed on Parkinson's Disease Foundation's website as a community resource.
Thank you for taking the time to read about me. I hope to meet you at my studio.