Join Isabel Romero as she shares her journey in health, fitness and mental wellness. Her goal is to serve as an inspiration to others by helping all her readers achieve their personal best.
“Starting off in child’s pose.” The ripples of chatter which had permeated the room only moments before, suddenly seize. “Whatever beliefs you walked in here with that weigh you down, let it all go.” As I lie there with my abs compressed against my thighs, the beads of sweat begin to form all along my body. She continues: “Be the change. But before you can change the world around you, you must be willing to change the world within you.” The person leading us through today’s yoga practice is Molly Weintraub.
I first met Molly several years ago while shopping for children’s clothing. She was a staple in the once popular retail store, Widensky’s, in Parkland, Florida. I had not seen her in several years until one day I walked through the doors of The Yoga Joint in Boca Raton, and there she was…the same person, and yet totally transformed.
“Stay connected to your breath.” We continue to flow through her vinyasa and pause in Warrior II. “Don’t try to be like everyone else in your yoga pose. Your perception of how good or perfect your pose is, is just that: a perception. It doesn’t mean it’s a reality.” This sends chills through my body, even as I continue to sweat profusely. It reminds me of the first blog I ever wrote in February of 2016 in which I described the perception of my seemingly perfect life to the outside world. She continues, “Live. Don’t just survive. If you are going through life just trying to survive, yes, it is true that you are technically alive. But you are not really li-ving.”
Molly understands all too well the importance of truly living. Seizing the day. Striving for something bigger and better. She grew up as the middle child in her family and assumed the dreaded role of the “black sheep.” After living through her mother’s terminal battle with cancer, she too went through a period when she struggled with addiction and depression. One day, 6 years ago, she took her first yoga class (Bikram) and met her close friend, Alexis Georgia, who is now manager of the Yoga Joint Boca. A few years later, Alexis encouraged Molly to become a yoga instructor and apply for a teaching scholarship. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, she took her first Vinyasa class with Kelly Green (whom she told me was “everything”…her “ice cream sundae”), co-owner of the Yoga Joint studios in South Florida, and the rest was history. She was flooded with the profound realization that energetically, she was meant to be somewhere else. She quit her job and never turned back.
We prepare for our final vinyasa. Molly continues: “Do not be consumed with what is in front of you. Focus on what is inside of you. What has happened before and what is going to happen later is nothing compared to what’s inside of you right now. You can either continue to live inside your story or you can live your life moving forward, allowing yourself to explode but only in a good way… Suspend your story, grow with what’s inside of you right now…and allow that explosion to turn into an amazing expansion.”
As we settle into our final pose, savasana, I start to wonder if I am in a yoga class or a group therapy session. I feel amazing physically…and mentally. She sort of reminds me of a female version of Tony Robbins.
The more I get to know people who are deeply entrenched in their yoga practice, the same theme resonates: Yoga is a place where most people turn to find their calm in the sea of chaos in their lives. Although it affects each individual differently, most people who practice regulary are a lot more able to quiet the surrounding chatter, increase their self-love, learn to respect themselves more and become a lot more present in their lives.
For people like Molly who have decided to turn their love for yoga into a career, an entire other element is added to the equation. That of fulfillment. Molly herself admits that in the past, she used to focus on how to maintain perfect relationships to fill up all the little voids in her life. She says that now what makes her feel completely whole are her students.
I think for as much as I have tried to shake it the past few years of my life, I still carry a bit of a burden around with me… that which allows the perception of others, particularly those who I truly care about, to affect me. I know it is a common human trait and emotion, but it is definitely not one which I wish to possess. It is not what people think of me physically… but rather, when a person questions my core…my heart…my intentions. Someone who I have loved since the day I was born recently said something to me that crushed every ounce of my spirit. He said “you have failed in your professional life and you have failed in your personal life.” He was referring to the fact that I am not currently practicing as a Dentist because I have permanent nerve damage in my arms, even after spinal surgery, which clearly was not my choice. He was also referring to the fact that I chose to get divorced over a year ago, despite the fact that my ex-husband and I are best of friends and are both happy. Even though I logically knew that what he said to me was untrue and just a vicious attempt to knock me down, unfortunately it worked. I sat there for several days filled with self-doubt, regrets, and my self-love actually started to wither away.
After interviewing Molly, I actually walked away realizing that if I cannot do something (like Dentistry), it does not in any way decrease my value. I do not have to live up to the expectations of everyone around me. I can choose to be abusive to myself…or I can choose to rise up and stay strong, with my very sharp mind and abundantly loving heart. I will continue utilizing yoga as a path to an even greater level of personal growth and self-love…while learning to be a little more gentle on myself. If you have not tried yoga yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Love yourself and let the GOOD VIBES flow!! Namaste.
Love, health and happiness,