HOW AN ENTREPRENEUR WENT FROM WORKING IN TV TO TEACHING YOGA AND ENDED UP TRANSFORMING HER LIFE FOR THE BETTER
Written By: Safiya Bouhouch
Edited By: Lyric Dodson
April 17, 2019
“Living the dream” was the phrase people always used in the TV industry when they were asked how their day was going. I would also use this phrase as I tried to convince myself that this glamorous career I had was what I really wanted. It was easy to look at my job and the amazing people I worked with and say everything was going well, but on the inside, something felt off, unaligned. I pushed away those feelings until, one day, I found myself sitting at my desk, experiencing an anxiety attack and feeling unable to breathe.
Overwhelmed with my mounting stress and symptoms, I decided to try yoga and felt like I finally had a safe space to breathe and rest. One class led to two, and suddenly, I found myself at yoga class almost daily, repairing my relationship with my body and finding the connection back to my breath and intuition. I continued working my full-time job while running my passion projects on the side. Soon after, I started sharing my yoga journey and how I was beginning to heal my anxiety and health issues through holistic modes of wellness, like acupuncture, cupping, and healthy eating.
I realized I wanted to teach others about mindfulness and yoga, not only to make yoga more accessible but to educate the public on ways to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into their busy lives. I was accepted into a yoga teacher training program in Bali and decided to take the leap. I booked my flight and I was off to spend a month abroad, and ultimately stepped away from the career I had built up.
I was afraid, but more than ever, I felt connected to my purpose.What started off as teaching yoga classes at community and co-working spaces grew into a community, and in 2019, I officially launched I Am Well Community, a holistic wellness group that supports busy women in creating spaces where their health becomes a priority so that they can heal & thrive despite their busy schedules. We do this through events, retreats, workshops, and mentorship programs designed to teach women how to heal from anxiety and burnout and create self-care practices that allow them to thrive.
Mindfulness can be such an overwhelming word, as most people equate it with sitting still in a cross-legged position, meditating. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be meditating; in fact, there are plenty of other small ways to practice mindfulness that will help you de-stress and improve your productivity.
Observe your breath. Simply take a moment to observe your breath, consciously taking in a deep inhale and releasing a deep exhale. This tells your body it's safe to relax. You can also count your inhales and exhales, and slowly start to lengthen each exhale. This calms down your nervous system and allows your body to come into a more relaxed state.
Grounding into the earth helps your body rest, and studies show it might help you sleep better too. Simply put your feet in the sand, grass, or earth, and stay in the present moment by noticing how the earth feels as it makes contact with your body. Allowing yourself to relax in nature is a simple way to reconnect your body to Mother Earth. Replace your phone with a journal during this time so you can truly unplug and write down any thoughts that come up for you.
Move your body in a way that feels best to you — dancing, running, walking, yoga, biking, or whatever gets your heart pumping. You can turn moving your body into a moving meditation by being intentional about your breathing and movements. If you feel your thoughts wandering, simply bring your focus back to your breath. Imagine each cell in your body being filled with oxygen as you inhale, and as you exhale, imagine all the stress leaving your body. This helps you connect back to your breath, which lowers cortisol.
Your mindset and the way you speak to yourself determines how you feel and act. The next time you're feeling stressed, pay attention to the way the little voice in your head talks to you. Is it mean and belittling? Or is it kind? Practice talking to yourself with compassion. Studies show that being self-compassionate and giving yourself a break when you mess up actually makes you a more productive person.
If you're feeling sore from sitting in a chair all day, do a simple inversion stretch by putting your legs up against a wall while keeping your hips on the floor. Imagine the stress and tension melting off your body with each exhale. This stretch is great for your blood circulation and for muscle relaxation. You can even do this behind your desk at work if you need a break from staring at a screen!
Once you start practicing mindfulness in small ways, you’ll be able to find what works best for you, and from there, you can create routines in your life that support your well-being and create space to pause despite the busyness of life. Creating an impact is important. But so is nourishing yourself and the dreams you chase. Nourishing yourself is important. So align yourself and you’ll be in better condition to chase your dreams.
If you want to learn more about mindfulness, meditation, and holistic wellness, join us at an I Am Well Community event! Our Intuitive Branding Workshop for passionate creatives + entrepreneurs is coming soon!
For more insights from Safiya download the latest episode of the We Take Note Podcast. On Season 2, Episode 3 she speaks with host Ashley Coffey about mindfulness, productivity, meditation, and the benefits of living authentically.