Hello and welcome to my very first post!
I am excited to finally have a place to share some of my favorite topics, ideas, and recommendations. This blog will support the Ayanna L Wellness website by encouraging a healthy lifestyle in a more holistic way. Hopefully, these blog posts will inspire you to make positive changes in your life and the lives of the people you love.
What will this blog look like?
Great question… I consider myself a quirky, introvert with extrovert-like tendencies, who gets excited about lifting weights, yoga, healthy eating, anatomy and physiology, coffee, avocados, figs, dates (the noun and the verb), and puppies. My blog topics may be a bit unconventional, but will always be backed by some kind of cited fact (the public health side of me). My passion is to help others, in whatever capacity it evolves into. I love seeing a transformation in people and experiencing them moving through the Stages of Change model (public health stuff again). I prefer the background as opposed to the foreground, hence why this has taken me so long to start. But here we are!
Who am I?
Another great question and at 32 (right now) I can finally answer this. As an only child, I was born and raised in a very small, rural town in upstate New York. I was one of few minorities throughout my educational career- elementary, middle, and high schools probably only totaled about 5 people of color at one time in my grade. My view of people, ethnicity, and culture was nourished by family and outside experiences. I was an athletic nerd, which actually was common at my school so finding people who had similar interests wasn’t difficult, but I usually managed to hang out alone. I excelled in volleyball and basketball and later got the opportunity to be a red-shirt freshman at George Mason University for volleyball. Sports, working out, and vegetarianism were my entire life from ages 15 to 25 until my whole world was rocked.
In 2013, I lost my mother somewhat unexpectedly. This sparked an urgent need to make mini shifts in everything I did.
I changed the way I moved through the world...
I changed how I spoke to people...
I even changed how I ate...
Being a self-taught vegetarian, vegan, then raw vegan between ages 16 and 26 was initially for performance reasons. The leaner I was, I thought, the better I would be in sports and life. Losing my mother exposed all of the moments I had to give up, accommodate, or downplay food and consequently time spent with family in order to maintain my type A eating habits. It no longer made sense for me to continue, so I adopted a diet based on whole foods.
I wanted to gain a sense of community and peace as I continued to heal from the loss, so I started practicing yoga more regularly. I found a yoga studio within walking distance from my apartment in Rockville, MD and found a way to work for them in exchange for free yoga classes (for the frugal people reading, participating in a work exchange situation was one of smartest moves I did for my health). ExtendYoga as a community became my home. I later completed their 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2018 and have been teaching ever since.
What kind of teacher are you?
As an empath (and introvert, see above), I often feel that if I am exhausted, I cannot teach to my highest potential. “Giving” myself to my students each class is honestly like a production because I want to fully be there for each person. As a baby teacher, I am still learning how to conserve this energy while sharing a similar experience.
Music ignites me. A bomb playlist- I was definitely a DJ in my past life- with oldies or a soothing beat I feel as though I can do anything and be anyone. My music selection is one of the more unique features of my classes.
Why is health and wellness your “thing”?
Because I am tired of seeing people leave this Earth too soon due to lifestyle choices. In particular, I am tired of seeing people of color pass down generations of poor eating habits, poor views about mental health, and poor coping techniques that seem to keep us settling for average. Health is the key that unlocks not only longevity and a more fruitful existence, but it also inspires others to thrive alongside of you. My hope is to teach, guide, and inspire as many people as God allows to live a life full of potential.
Thank you for taking this (scary but necessary) leap with me!