Now that you’ve heard my journey and passion for yoga (if you haven’t, click here), I thought that I would give you all a break from listening (reading?) to me talk and let you hear from my fellow yogi friends for the next couple of weeks. I asked a few yogi’s that I truly look up to and admire to answer the question:
What has yoga done for you?
What Yoga Has Done For Me, Addie Martanovic
I first began practicing yoga with a strong passion when I was just 19 and was a month into starting my blog. It was my first summer back from college and I was taking classes at one of my favorite studios in the entire world – Cleveland Yoga (in Beachwood, Ohio). At the time I did an unlimited month and I would go almost every day before or after work. It was then that I truly fell in love with the practice and felt it move me both mentally and physically. At the time I was two years into an eating disorder, struggling with my diet and primarily eating vegan/vegetarian. I had been underweight since I was 16 and when I finally started incorporating yoga into my life going into my sophomore year of college, it truly helped me get back to balance and find peace with my body. The following two years, I started taking class at Core Power Yoga in Chicago (where I went to college) and automatically was transformed. A small foot injury set me back to slowing down my yoga practice but eventually, I picked up right where I left off. It wasn’t until the middle of last year, specifically the summer, that I truly felt like yoga held a place in my heart and life forever. My mom was diagnosed with stage four cancer in May 2016 and I used yoga as a grieving mechanism. I worked two jobs that summer but continuously stayed focused on my yoga practice. To me, yoga will always be a backbone in my life although I might not practice as much as I’d love give and take certain weeks, I know it will always be something I’ll fall back on and that can help me in times of weakness, grief, struggle, anxiety and even the positive moments. Through yoga, I’ve found a new perspective on life, to value each and every moment given to you and to honor the body you’re given. It’s truly a remarkable practice and it’s just that… practice. It’s ever-flowing, ever-changing and being able to show up to your mat at any time is the best thing in the world.
I’m a recent graduate of Loyola University of Chicago where I studied Public Relations and Marketing. I began my own health and wellness blog (then primarily food) when I was just 19 and recovering from an eating disorder that began middle of high school. In the past three years through growing my brand, I’ve found such a passion for living a balanced and optimistic lifestyle. I now focus most of my energy into doing what feels best for my body both physically AND mentally. I currently am a huge spin junkie but love incorporating yoga, high intensity interval and pilates into my week. My goal at the end of the day is to make every day a good day and not sweating the small stuff.
**To hear more of Addie’s story and how both yoga and spin helped her grieve, check out this VERY powerful post published on her blog. Definitely worth a read: http://chickpeainthecity.org/how-yoga-and-cycling-helped-me-grieve/ **
Growing up, my mom was always my inspiration. I followed every move she made and looked up to her. When I was a teenager, she decided to get certified as a yoga instructor. I didn’t really quite grasp what yoga was all about yet, but I definitely supported her. I admired all of the things she could do and how much she dedicated herself to the practice with all of her heart. I went to a few classes at studios around my area here and there, but even though I enjoyed it, I was not totally hooked. I didn’t think I was that good at it. It was not until last summer when everything changed. I started working out at a gym in Mokena, Illinois called Spenga. The format of their workout starts with 20 minutes of spin class, moves onto 20 minutes of HIIT and strength training, and finishes with 20 minutes of yoga. I was addicted to this place. This prompted me to learn about how my body reacts to different movement. I got super interested in eating healthy and addicted to how strong I felt after these workouts. I even started working there part time. Being around all of the trainers was inspiring and motivating. As the summer came to a close, my mom invited me to go to Wanderlust, a huge yoga festival, in Squaw Valley California. I jumped at the opportunity even though I had no idea what I was about to experience. My mom, my best friend Savannah and I were off to California in late July.
The first day of the festival I was absolutely mind blown. The entire festival was full of positive energy. During Wanderlust which was 4 days, we had the opportunity to take yoga and meditation classes. The scenery was endless mountains and greenery as far as I could see. I cannot ever fully explain the amount of peace and happiness I felt during these 4 days. One class in particular touched me in more ways than anything else. I had the opportunity to take Seane Corn’s detox yoga class. Seane Corn is my mom’s yoga idol. She has been doing her Yoga DVD’s since I was a little girl. Seane based her class on how we treat ourselves. She had us realize that our thoughts are often just negative stories that we tell ourselves. The strength of Seane’s voice was beautiful. I twisted in ways I had never before, and felt pure bliss as I lay sweating in Savasana. Just these few days were the turning point for me. I learned so much about myself and how to open my heart in Squaw Valley that summer.
I personally struggle with being open. I have always had a hard time opening up to others. Yoga helps me ground myself and open my heart. It makes me feel strong. It brings people together and shows you that you can do so much more than you think you are capable of. I have gained confidence through yoga and exercise. I still have so many goals that I have yet to reach. Yoga is forgiving. If you fall out of a pose, you get right back into it. I am so thankful for the role model of my mom who introduced me to it all. I will always be a work in progress, and continue to set new goals for my yoga and exercise practice. That is my favorite part about yoga. It is not about being the best and able to do crazy difficult poses, it’s about improving your mind, body and soul.
Age 21, been practicing for 2 years