Angelica Lewis is Taking Control of Her Anxiety With Curvy Chick Yoga
By: CeCe Marie
It’s the beginning of Fall and the start of October. Halloween is on the way and Starbucks has their pumpkin spice lattes back on the menu. But, Mental Health Awareness Week is also being observed this first week of October.
I believe that Mental Health is real and important to talk about because it affects everyone directly or indirectly. New York just became the first state to launch mandatory mental health classes in all New York schools from K-12. Here in Chicago, although we haven’t launched mandatory mental health classes yet, we do have some pretty amazing brands that support mental health.
Angelica Lewis owns one of these brands here in Chicago called Curvy Chick Yoga. Her brand provides yoga for all those who desire peace, mental, physical and emotional strengthening. This Saturday, October 6th, Angelica is hosting her Day of OM Retreat in honor of World Mental Health Day. This is for any who suffer from stress, anxiety, depression or being overwhelmed. To learn more about Curvy Chick Yoga and the Day of OM Retreat, check out my Q&A where Angelica spills the tea on her journey as a Yogi entrepreneur for #SheWorkinWednesday. #SheWorkin
1.When did you first start practicing Yoga and what sparked your interest in it?
In 2013, my life was spinning out of control! My anxiety was high and I found myself in this pit of depression, confusion, and anger. I recall meditating, journaling, PRAYING for something to preoccupy my mind and help me with the daily stressors of life. So, while on a walk one day, I came across this yoga studio. I had never practiced yoga, but I was willing to try anything to help with my emotional chaos. That was the beginning of my journey as a yoga student and for the next five years I would practice and grow as a yogi in this complex yoga community.
2. How did you come up with the idea for Curvy Chick Yoga?
Late 2016, I was diving deeper into my practice, and I had started to question certain yoga “norms”. That’s when my curiosity about teaching yoga increased and over the next few months, Curvy Chick Yoga was born. Curvy Chick Yoga was born from a conversation that uncovered my true passion to teach yoga to individuals who didn’t fit the yoga “norm”. Curvy Chick Yoga, specializes in private yoga practice tailored toward full-figured men and women who struggle with the social norm in a traditional yoga studio, therefore providing services to clients in the comfort of their homes.
3. Can you explain how you gained the courage to start your own business and what obstacles you faced as you were beginning your journey as an entrepreneur?
God makes me Courageous! I’m also grateful to have a loving and supportive husband who is encouraging, while still being hard on me. He pushes me to greater heights and challenges me in ways that others can’t and won’t. My sister is a huge support and helps me to see that Curvy Chick Yoga is larger then me and that curvy women, men, and children need a space to find peace. “Great things NEVER come from comfort zones.” In 2013, if someone would have asked me if I was happy living I would have told them, “no”. However, through that pain, I was introduced to yoga for the first time ever and through yoga, my passion was ignited. I would have to say that the biggest obstacle was getting out of my own head and getting out of my own way. As I’ve continued to learn more about mindset and how our thinking plays a role in one’s own success, I’ve learned that many people will dream of success, but few have the discipline to achieve those goals. Once, I accepted where my weaknesses were, then I was ready to deal with the other challenges I would face. I’ve struggled with tuning out the noise and negativity. When I first started Curvy Chick Yoga, most of my family wasn’t on board and even now, when I have good news about the business, I have to strategically decide who to share these successes with. Having a business has taught me to deal with the loss of friendships, the feeling of loneliness, rejection and growing pains.
4.What does your brand represent and what different programs do you offer?
My brand represents yoga for all who desire peace, mental, physical, and emotional strengthening. I see Curvy Chick Yoga continuing to break down barriers and question yoga “norms” while still bring awareness to Mental Health. Outside of Day of Om in 2019 we will offer a January workshop around renewal and in May 2019 there will be another workshop surrounding Mental Health Awareness Month. Also, I have a Peace Yoga series which I created as an interactive and educational series which emphasize on Yoga principals, breathing techniques, mindfulness, self-study of one’s own personal growth within their environment for young yogis. Last, but not least private yoga is the foundation of Curvy Chick Yoga and can be a wonderful way to start a new practice.
5.I’ve heard that Yoga offers many different benefits to those who practice. What are those benefits?
There are several benefits to practicing yoga, but to just name a few that I have experience would be increased flexibility and developed muscle strengthen. Yoga has helped my posture, spine health, blood flow, and rest sleep cycle. Lastly, overtime yoga can help with mental stillness which in return can calm depression, anxiety, and panic. As one continues to practice yoga they will start to see the benefits in their mental and physical appearance.
6. On October 6th you are hosting the Day of OM Retreat. Can you tell me more about the event and the experience people should expect to gain from attending?
In honor of World Mental Health Day, Day of Om will be held on Saturday, October 6, 2018. For those suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, work overload, post-partum, you name it, Day of Om is for you. My desire is for men and women to experience this two hour workshop filled with hope, happiness and healing and get the opportunity to learn various strategies to calm the mind and fuel the body. On this day we will meditate as a community to start the day, have a 45 minute gentle yoga class, and to end we will come together and journal about how we are feeling and I will give strategies for reducing anxiety and start healing. The event will be filled with love, space for silence, moments of growth, and lots of goodies to go home with.
7.Are there any other future events or programs that we can look forward to seeing from Curvy Chick Yoga?
Yes, we will have a workshop in January for the New Year and in May 2019 there will be another Day of Om for Mental Health Awareness Month. Stay connected to my social media outlets for more information. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @curvychickyoga , on my website www.curvychickyoga.com , or get connected to our mail list by registering on the website.
8.What is one thing that you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?
In the next five years I want for my Peace Yoga series for children to be in schools around the United States. I know there is value in teaching youth to breath, meditate, and utilize yoga in order to calm their minds. Given the social, emotional, and external factors youth are facing today I know and research is showing that holistic medicine and movement like yoga can bring physical, mental and emotional healing.
9. Are you coffee, tea or tequila? Why?
Coffee all day, everyday! To me coffee is like a morning hug! Coffee wakes me up and it’s cheers me on during the day.