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By Teresa Dornellas

I recently started walking again. I used to take long walks around my neighborhood during the warmer months and I really enjoyed seeing the new blossoms during Spring and taking photos for my own pleasure.

I also used to work in Manhattan and had to walk a lot to get to and from work. However, in early February, I started working from home, and my daily steps were sharply reduced.

Then, the pandemic hit our state, and even the little walks I was taking here and there got cut short. For weeks, I stayed inside, working, planning, organizing – and thinking about going out for walks.

One Sunday night I finally decided it was time to start again. The next morning, I set out to walk right after breakfast. My goal was to walk daily as much as I used to, plus take a Yoga or Pilates or Barre class every evening.

For most of us, those initial weeks of lockdown were not easy. There was so much information, a lot of it very conflicting. No one was really sure about anything and there was so much fear in the air. I was concerned for our lives collectively, and for the future of my business, the health of my family and friends and the financial health of our country.

All that was taking a toll, and my emotional health wasn’t at a great place. I had made a decision and a promise to myself that, lockdown or not, I would not gain weight during this time. No overindulging, no overeating. I wanted to keep my body as healthy as possible, for obvious reasons.

I started walking at the height of Spring. The cherry blossoms were in full glory, and so were the magnolia tees – I am yet to decide which one is my favorite…

Plus there were so many amazing colors, the shades of green from the baby leaves returning after Winter, all those tiny flowers everywhere. I live in a very quiet neighborhood where there are lots of beautiful, well cared for gardens. See, I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where we have two seasons: hot and unbearably hot. So, in Rio we never see this explosion of color that we see here in New Jersey, which makes me walk around like a small kid in wonder.

The walks combined with the beauty have been doing so much for my emotional health. I can feel my mood changing minute by minute, with each step I take. It is almost as if I can feel the endorphins kicking in and transforming me, bringing me joy.

I won’t lie, some days I have to push myself. I make excuses. But once I start, I do not want to stop, that’s how good I feel.

There are so many studies showing the benefits of exercise for our emotional health. This article cites several of those.

Not to mention the benefits of vitamin D3, which is produced by our bodies when we expose our skin to the sun. Vitamin D3 is responsible for, among other things, strengthening our immune system and protecting us against certain types of cancer. You can read more on D3 here.

The daily walks combined with evening classes (Yoga, Pilates or Barre) were just what I needed to feel alive again and to feel a sense of freedom, gratitude and wonder – so important for our well-being.

I invite you to put your walking shoes on and take a walk outside (taking proper safety precautions for yourself and others, of course). Look around, let all the beauty in, take photos if you’d like, just for pleasure. Then join us in the evening for a class. Your body and your mind will thank you.

One Response

  1. Your photos are gorgeous! Thx for sharing! I’m going for my walk now 😁

Theresa Conlon

Theresa is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (200-hour RYT) who has been teaching since 2013. She is skilled in various yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Meditation. Theresa also brings an extensive dance background to her yoga practice, which includes teaching both modern dance and ballet. She has over 40 years of dance/theater performing experience and currently showcases her choreography as part of Bergen Dance Makers, a dance collective in northern New Jersey. Theresa’s yoga classes offer a calming mix of traditional asana postures and creative movement flows, supported by energy-moving breath. Students of all skill levels are invited to find ease and peace in their bodies/minds/spirits through the joyful bliss of yoga movement.

Carrie Parker Gastelu

Carrie Parker Gastelu, E-500 RYT, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Carrie began her journey when Yogi Raj Mani Finger initiated Carrie into the ISHTA Yoga lineage after training with Mani’s son, Yogi Raj Alan Finger. In addition, she has studied many other yoga traditions as well as anatomy, physiology, movement, and awareness practices to create an eclectic style all her own. She is known for her honest, non-dogmatic yet passionate approach.

Carrie is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences, websites, and print publications and has been featured in Fit Magazine, the Yoga Zone Book, and in the Yoga Zone Video, “Flexibility and Stress Release.”

Lisa Podesta-Coombs

When Lisa found yoga in 2008, she started to find herself again and it set her on a path of health and healing. She received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis, and her 30HR Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate with Anodea Judith and holds a Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification. She is also a Holistic Health Coach (certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). Lisa believes we’re all on a journey of learning how to trust ourselves; she helps her clients build that trust by supporting them in creating better habits for a better life through various functional movement modalities like yoga, barre, Pilates & strength training, mindset, and whole food nutrition.

Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health, and self-actualization, Lisa is always embracing opportunities to advance her education to better serve; Ayurveda workshops & immersions have been of particular interest as she continues to deepen her knowledge of and experience with food as medicine and she recently completed Unleash Her Power Within, a transformational program of rediscovering our truest selves, powered by Tony Robbins.  

As she continues to give herself space and grace to nourish her natural self and actualize her potential, Lisa continues to share the gift of movement as medicine to inspire authenticity & health in body, mind, and spirit. You can expect mindful, accessible, dynamic, playful, and uplifting classes from Lisa.

Tanisha Sutton

Tanisha’s yoga journey began when she was an undergraduate student studying at university. Changes in her health coupled with anxiety over grades, relationships, and life in general, forced her to search for healthy lifestyle choices she could implement to help manage the stress that she was experiencing as a new adult. A friend of hers suggested that she attend some community yoga classes to help with the anxiety and increase her daily physical activity. Initially, she was reluctant and filled with all these false ideas about yoga and the people who practiced yoga. Like many others, she was concerned that her body type and lack of flexibility automatically excluded her from being a student. Curiously yet hesitantly, she journeyed on to her first class and began laying the foundation for a home and public practice that has supported her over the years.

On this journey, she has discovered that yoga has nothing to do with appearances nor is there anything, but an open mind needed to begin. She intends to provide you with a gentle yoga session that is safe, inclusive, and accessible. Her classes are an expression of self-love and are a deliberate choice to tend to ALL the parts of our being that are neglected, ignored, or disregarded during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through meditation, deep breathing, and gentle movement we will collectively share space to observe, rest and re-set. Tanisha is honored to share her practice with you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!