As I sit down to write this blog post I’m drenched in sweat. My deep sapphire Namastetics Wander Pants are a solid shade of navy from all my perspiration, and I’m exhausted, yet empowered. There is something magical about pushing yourself past the limits you thought you knew in a workout. There is beauty and liberation in finding your second wind when physically you feel as though you’ve given all you can.
“I’ve learned that my strength is mental and translates to the physical.” ~Britney Bouie | Yogi & fitness enthusiast
For me, the harder the challenge, the better. I find so much value and validation in consistent, patient, and deliberative work where I have to set small achievable goals on pace towards a big one. ~Christina DeRonde | Yoga Instructor & Triathlete
So often people come to their mats, gyms or pilates studios for a great workout and sweat session, but they stay for the inner strength they gain from constantly striving for more and exceeding their expectations. When I began my yogic journey I was indeed searching for an amazing sweat, but I was also seeking clarity, direction, and peace. I had plenty of opinions and thoughts, but could never quite find the strength to fully articulate any of it. Honestly, when I found yoga my spirit was indeed broken, but my practice and journey in the physical fitness industry helped me find the strength to do the work that mended my heart. It unlocked past traumas I desperately needed to heal and gave me the confidence to speak up for myself when I was being mistreated.
Many of you reading this have heard of the infamous “yoga high” and “runner’s high, ” but what we never discuss is the spirituality that also exists in these spaces. By connecting our mind, body, and soul we tap into a level of internal reflection that no other experience in life provides us. This process enables us to tap into our true strength by connecting to our creator and true energy source. When we push through that final chaturanga in class, or beat our mile time, or lift heavier weights, what we’re doing is proving to ourselves we have more to give and we’re willing to get uncomfortable to do so.
“It’s a very spiritual experience when workouts get tough. That’s a sacred space where only me & God exist. ” ~Nije Lane | Yogi & fitness enthusiast
Growing up I always struggled with my weight. Even though I’ve always been physically active I was never the “right size.” I was constantly teased for being “fat,” but my one element of comfort was being athletic and strong. People could tease me all they wanted, but when we got on the soccer field I could outrun most of the other girls on the field. I was strong, agile, and flexible. When I hit the weight room I could lift just as much, if not more, than most of the guys and my workouts always made me feel so empowered. By my senior year in high school, I was captain of 4 varsity sports and was nominated as the female Wendy's High School Heisman for my school. As an adult, I’ve used this same energy to find strength and discipline to manage my life outside of sports.
As some might know, I struggled with depression for over a decade and was a cutter for many years. Though I hate to admit it, at times when life starts to get too overwhelming or chaotic I still have the urges to induce self-harm. However, because of the mental and spiritual strength I’ve garnered through power yoga and high-intensity interval training, I’m able to talk myself off the edge. And I’m overjoyed to say I haven’t physically hurt myself in over a decade.
Fitness has empowered me because it has taught me that I can endure anything if I just breathe through it. ~Britney Bouie | Yogi & fitness enthusiast
Yoga, meditation, and other physically challenging workouts have had such a profound impact on my overall well-being that I now focus on paying this gift forward. As an instructor and life coach, I create challenging workouts to push my students/clients past their edge and help them discover they’re stronger than they truly understand. I want women especially to find their inner power and use it both on and off their mats. When I have students come up to me and say things like, “I always feel so strong after your class, “ or “Thank you so much for always pushing me to be better,” I know I’ve done my job holding space for them. I also know the feeling of strength they feel in my class will carry over into other avenues of their lives, which is the most important part to me. Women are constantly fighting to establish or showcase their power in the world, and creating a safe space where they’re allowed to do so unapologetically is profound all within itself.
“Witnessing the change in my physical body, my mental prowess, my emotional fortitude all lead to more confidence...It is this confidence that gives me power through the challenges of fitness.” ~Christina DeRonde | Yoga Instructor & Triathlete
The dynamic sense of accomplishment and strength I feel after a workout energizes me to keep pushing forward in my business endeavors, it pushes me to be a better mother, it enables me to be a stronger and more supportive friend. But most importantly it reminds me of how powerful and resilient I am, and that no matter what life throws my way I’ll always be able to take a hit and keep moving forward. ~Christa Smith