Hello, my name is Chivonne Hunter and I am a dietetic intern at Lifexcel Carolina finishing up my last few weeks before coming an official registered dietitian. What Sherri and her staff here at lifexcel do for their patients is truly a unique experience, not only for this demographic but for the field of nutrition and mental health as a whole. There are so many stresses and emotions that come up in our day to day life that we don’t always choose the best methods to cope with them. Some people are able to use healthy outlets to manage the obstacles and external forces in their lives such as exercise or creative hobbies but unfortunately these people are in the minority. Most of us, including myself, at some point in our lives decide that the easiest way to deal with things is to get a quick fix such as alcohol, drugs or more commonly food. Sometimes we need an outlet to try and regain self-awareness and figure out how to change our feelings or habits instead of just temporarily numbing them. That outlet for me happened to be yoga.
Although I can now confidently put myself in the category of using exercise to escape and de-stress I can’t say that has always been the case. During my early 20’s I worked out solely to be thin and be able to eat all the delicious things I wanted without having to worry. I was a bonafide gym rat to say the least. I stumbled upon yoga during my undergraduate studies as an elective and was immediately hooked. At that time I wasn’t really sure why I enjoyed it so much but I knew that it made me feel unlike any other form of exercise I had ever done. Although yoga did not make me burn a bazillion calories I found that it did so much more for me, both physically and mentally, including making me want to lead a healthier lifestyle overall. While I was practicing yoga, I was completely present and at one with my body. I had no other thoughts going through my mind other than breathing through the pose and making through to the next. By the end of class all the thoughts and emotions that were suppressed during the practice are allowed to arise during shavasana. Most yoga practices include meditations as well to allow you to really connect and become self-aware. After some time, I found not only did I look better in my clothes, but I had more energy, a better complexion and just in general more of a zest for life. In the years following college I worked in a career in sales, got married, continued accelerating my yoga practice while continuing to eat healthy. Overall things were great but I felt a strong pull in wanting to help others feel the way I did about health and exercise and find the ability to overcome any obstacles that they may encounter along the way. That being said, after much contemplation, research and agonizing conversations with family and friends, I decided to go to graduate school to become a registered dietitian. Almost 4 ½ years later I find myself weeks away from completing this accomplishment and finally being able to fulfill this dream. Whenever someone asks me why I decided to change careers later in life, I always start by telling them that it although that was not my initial intention, yoga became the catalyst that helped me recognize what was most important to me and how I wanted to live the rest of my life.
That being said, finding the right type of yoga practice for you might take a while but if you are anything like I am you want to make sure you are reaping all the benefits you can from it and not wasting your time. If you are interested in how yoga can benefit you, I encourage you to read these articles, do a little research and decide if you think it is time to bring a little yogic awareness to your life.