How Practicing Yoga Can More Deeply Connect Your Body and Mind

More people are practicing yoga to create mobility and awaken the stagnation within their bodies.

According to Newtons First Law of Motion, “A body in motion stays in motion.”

Video on the benefits of practicing yoga by Chantae Hendrix

Yoga practitioners and teachers discover yoga for different reasons. Whether it be mental, physical or emotional, stress can show up in many forms. From dealing with the loss of loved ones, breakups, weight struggles, injuries, physiological challenges, physical demands and more, they have found a way to channel the negative adrenaline through practicing yoga.

Experts Amy Whiting and Johnny Amato weigh in on how the Physical practice translates into a response vs react mode and helps humans face daily unforeseen circumstances in a more conducive manner.

Yoga Instructor & Hot on Yoga Studio Co-Owner, Johnny Amato demonstrates Triangle Pose at the Winter Garden FL Studio. Photo by Chantae Hendrix

According to the Sage Research Journals, “Yoga causes change by regulating the autonomic nervous system, neurotransmitters and hormone levels.”

Practicing yoga reminds the brain the importance of practicing calmness through breathing and remaining present. Otherwise, when constantly thinking of what’s passed and what’s to come, and subconsciously holding the breath, this activates the sympathetic nervous system. The mind then becomes overwhelmed, creates anxiety and causes unnecessary stress on the body.

Practicing yoga is a therapeutic way of life. When dealing with the daily nuances of life, this lifelong practice provides pathways for people to overcome mental challenges, rebalance the physical body and respond with a more-centered state of mind. It also provides what traditional exercise cannot. Yoga can be practiced in the privacy and comfort of home. A few simple stretches, and or a daily-focused breathing routine can significantly impact one’s mood.

Erin Crosby, 37, resident and HS math teacher of Windermere, Florida, describes yoga as a breath of fresh air. “Try it, Give it a whirl,” says Erin. As a person that struggles with weight, stands for long periods of time, and deals with the stress of teaching teenagers, Erin is reaping the benefits of yoga.

Yoga student, Erin Crosby receives an adjustment from Yoga Teacher Diana Wenrich during “Seated Spinal Twisting.” Photo by Chantae Hendrix

Yoga is the gateway to the mind and body connection. There are a variety of styles tailored to fit individual needs. It is accessible for every type of body. There are no height, weight, age, fitness or status quo requirements. The beauty of yoga, it is a way of life that provides keys to longevity.

There is Trauma Conscious Yoga for victims of abuse; Yin Yoga to increase flexibility; Bikram Yogato stretch and strengthen the muscles, Vinyasa styles for a more rigorous workout to build overall core strength and many, many others.

A year and a half after taking that first class, Erin says, “Yoga is an amazing form of exercise that helps strengthen, stretch, de-stress the body, focus and decompress the mind.” Also, as someone that struggles with seasonal allergies, my lung and breathing capacity have increased and my seasonal allergy symptoms have decreased significantly,” says Crosby.

“Breath controls the mind and heart. Breath is your life force. As human beings we need to take a deep breath and slow things down,” Amato says. It’s all about mindfulness. It is about calming the mind, finding peace and finding health within the body.

Diana Wenrich, 37, retired middle-school teacher (12 years), a long-distance runner and resident of Winter Garden Florida, says, “You just have to be open to it.” “I tried yoga after the age of 30.” Practicing yoga has allowed my muscles to be less tight from running.” “It also shows me how to counteract my intensity, gain better mental clarity and maintain emotional stability,” says Wenrich.

Yoga Teacher, Diana Wenrich at Hot On Yoga Studio in Winter Garden FL.
Photo by Chantae Hendrix

Although running is Diana’s first love, she also is a certified Bikram, Vinyasa & Yin Yoga Teacher. She teaches at One Yoga and Fitness in Clermont and Hot on Yoga in Winter Garden Fla. Both young and old, Wenrich has taught both. “Flexibility is not required,” says Diana.

Flexibility and perceived associations with religion are misconceptions for those reluctant to try yoga. It truly is not a religion nor is it about the body types, fancy clothes or advanced postures. It is not competitive, nor is it superficial. The Yoga Community accepts you as you are.

Registered Yoga Teacher and Resident of Winter Garden FL, Nick Russo says “Yoga not only helped me face many challenges growing up in an abusive environment, it also helped me build physical strength and gave me a fit body.”

In the video subject matter expert, Manager of Hot on Yoga and RYT (8 years) Amy Whiting explains how yoga is rooted very deeply in anatomy and physiology. “Whatever it is, everyone can do yoga. There are no prerequisites, all you need is an open mind,” Amy says.

Amy found yoga following a bad break-up. “I chose to do something for myself.” Practicing yoga led to teaching it. “Yoga is tied to the belief that you are capable,” says Whiting.

Amy Whiting, Yoga Instructor and Manager of the Hot On Yoga Studio in Winter Garden FL. She is demonstrating phase 2 of “Awkward Series.” This posture strengthens the arches in the feet. Photo by Chantae Hendrix

Owner of Hot On Yoga and RYT Johnny Amato (10 years) says “Yoga has changed my life.” Life comes at us a million miles a minute, yoga helped me stop and take a deep breath. For beginners, “I suggest do not attach any type of expectations to a class.” “Go in with a clear mind and do what you can do.” “It’s about making a clear choice,” says Amato.

According to Marilyn Barnett, the Author of Hot Yoga, Energizing, Rejuvenating, Healing and Certified Bikram Yoga Instructor, practical application has shown, as the body begins to function more efficiently, the better we begin to feel. “The great control and concentration each posture demands ensure that we slow down and experience inherent calmness. After yoga practice we feel great and suddenly have a new awareness and clarity of thought. We see and respond to life differently.”

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The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, says in reports released that “More than 30% of US adults and about 12% of children use “healthcare approaches that are not typically part of conventional medical care or that may have origins outside of usual Western practices.”

US National Library of Medicine reveals that “In a review of 13 randomized control studies on the effectiveness of yoga, 10 yielded significant positive results for the reduction of psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, depression, and PTSD.”

In June 2020, the Hot On Yoga Studio in Winter Garden FL ceased operations and is currently out of business. Therefore hyperlinks to their websites and profiles have now been removed.

Defying Misconceptions of Practicing Yoga

A fantastic video and an article defying the misconceptions of practicing yoga. Stay tuned – Publishing Monday, March 23, 2020.

Image Yoga Mats by Chantae Hendrix

How Yoga Can More Deeply Connect Your Body and Mind

Yoga May Provide What Traditional Exercise Cannot

Yoga brings about positive changes and checks in with the sedentary residents that have rented space within the mind and body. Deaf, blind, stressed, disabled, regardless of trauma or condition, with the many different forms available, yoga truly is accessible to anyone. 

Practicing yoga serves as a vital tool to get the body back into motion or into a range of motion. Yoga releases the tension within the body and promotes longevity of the muscles and joints. There isn’t one way to define yoga because it is very individualistic and takes on many forms’ contingent upon receptivity. 

The beauty of yoga is that individuals discover the form of practice that tailors to their needs. For example, there’s Yin to gain flexibility, Chair to provide support while performing the various asanas, and Hot yoga to allow for deeper lengthening of the muscles. These are just a few of the many.  

Practicing a physical form of yoga on a regular basis will promote joint mobility, muscle strength and flexibility.  Movement through yoga, promotes better alignment and gets that fresh oxygenated blood flowing through the body.  Many practitioners find relief from both physical and or emotional forms of trauma including herniated discs, sciatica, addictions, anxiety, sleeplessness, etc. 

The National Institutes of Health, studies show “National survey data from 2012 showed that 94 percent of adults who practiced yoga did it for wellness-related reasons, while 17.5 percent did it to treat a specific health condition.” 

Yoga is affordable to anyone. In several communities, free classes are offered through various organizations such as Kula for Karma. Kula for Karma promotes healing in the form of trauma informed yoga.  Often, most yoga studios will offer a free class to first time students. And, there are several mobile instructors that will offer in home fee for services, guidance and free or donation-based yoga in the park.  

Yoga is not a one and done. There are too many unique benefits to name them all. It is an investment and lifetime commitment in ones-self.   Practicing Yoga helps to quiet the negative chatter and reminds the conscious mind to focus and practice presence.  It breaks down barriers and helps people to overcome self -inflicted limitations.  

Try a few Sun Salutations first thing in the morning to get some energy flowing through the body. It’s not about the fancy clothes, or the lack of flexibility, it’s about self-love, and self-care for the individual mind and body.  Yoga gets the body moving and makes the connection. Lay aside the excuses, discover and experience the benefits of yoga. 

Find Inner Strength and Balance through Practicing Yoga

Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200), Nick Russo inspires a shared vision to help people find a balance when dealing with life’sunexpected twists and turns.  

Having conversations with the inner critic can be overwhelming. Thoughts that surface can be challenging to let go.  Perhaps channeling this energy through a healthy distraction such as yoga may provide better clarity and focus. As Emily Dickinson says, “Dwell in the area of possibilities” and discover what works.  

Image of Nick Russo by Chantae Hendrix

In a research article published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS) during a randomized controlled trial, “Five-week yin yoga-based interventions decreased plasma adrenomedullin (ADM) and increased psychological health in stressed adults.”  “ADM has also been linked to psychological problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression.”   “The study suggests that incorporating Yin yoga could be an easy and low-cost method of limiting the negative health effects associated with high stress.” 

To organize the mental clutter, rather than turn to alcohol or drugs, many people may turn to exercise for that euphoric endorphin type rush.  Limited or just not into the physical demands of traditional exercise, yet looking for a judgement free outlet, or simply a way to cope, schedule an appointment today with Yoga Instructor, Nick Russo.  

An Expert in the making, with over 20 years of practice and 5 years of teaching, in addition to teaching a standard form of yoga referred to as Hatha, Nick mindfully helps victims of trauma better manage life’s challenges, remove barriers, and overcome adversities through other uniquely tailored forms of yoga.  Russo possesses a diverse skillset of knowledge and touches the lives of many.  

Through an intense and immersive teacher training, Nick obtained his yoga teaching certification and continues to pay it forward.   Serious about yoga, to promote best practices given an individual’s unique situation, Russo seeks continuous learning opportunities and actively educates himself on the various techniques and styles. Nick recently traveled to Bali to broaden his horizons and expand his knowledgebase.  In September 2019, he also directed a specialty trauma informed teaching class to new teachers.  For the most effective therapy, serving both children and adults, it is imperative to be well versed in the various forms.   

Making a difference in the community, Russo helps those suffering with insecurities become more grounded and to transform their livelihood. The mind is a very fluid place and sometimes may need the voice of calm to quiet the chatter. Whether it be a phone call, a hug, undivided attention or an ear, passionate about people, Nick serves as a catalyst through yoga teacher training and instruction.  

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View Reddit & Check out Top Ten Benefits of Yoga you should know 

Every “Body” can benefit from Yoga

Photo:Amy Lynn Hager by Chantae Hendrix

Yoga Instructor, Health Consultant, Author of Health Through Fruit and Business Owner of,  Self-Healing Inspiration, Amy Hager, shares her takeaways, and how every body can benefit from yoga. 

Amy recalls her first-time practicing yoga. She says “I was a workout junkie at the time, and it wasn’t burning enough calories for me, and so I had the hardest time finding stillness.” “It’s probably because I was always racing in my mind.” So, for me to sit still, and to go through a class at the gym, I was ready to get on that treadmill and ready to burn 800 calories now,” she says. 

Hager also says, “actually when I did take my first professional class at a studio, I took my first hot yoga class and it was really hard.” I think I probably burned more calories than I ever had running on the treadmill within an hour.” “It worked my whole body in different ways that I didn’t know were possible,” she says. 

Amy says her inspiration to learn how to teach yoga occurred when she was a stay at home mom. Hager says, “I thought, what the heck do I want to do with my life.”  “I was also going through a mid-life crisis, and a divorce, she says.”  “I happened to walk through this place (One Yoga & Fitness Studio) as my life was crumbling down in shambles.”  Somehow, I found my mentor here.” “Her name is Gina Keefe  and she helped prop me back up.”  “Gina and the yoga teacher training just emotionally grounded me in ways that I desperately needed to be grounded,” she says.  

In conclusion, Amy says, “everybody needs to get their booty’s into a yoga class as soon as possible.” She says, “I see people hunched with poor posture, I see their knees locked in, the feet of their arches are falling because their feet have atrophy from being cradled in soft shoes.” Hager adds, “just to realign their skeletal structure to help open up the fascia tissue to help people get their movement back.” She further clarifies, by saying “right now their bodies are locked down, they are literally constricted.” 

According to an article published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “In a randomized controlled trial among 118 men and women 60 years and older with kyphosis greater or equal to 40°, participation in a modified classical yoga practice 3 days a week for 24 weeks resulted in a 5% improvement in kyphosis index.” 

Hager says, “Yoga frees up your body.” “Like the saying, you hold your issues within your tissues, you will notice a lot of emotions will start to come out as you stretch your body open a little bit further,” she says. 

For more information or to connect with Amy Hager, please visit

He didn’t realize he was broken

He found his niche through Yoga. It provided him an eagerness to help others.

Yoga Teacher (RYT200), Nick Russo discovered yoga approximately two and half decades ago. First introduced to Hot Yoga commonly referred to as Bikram. Nick says “I am intrigued by the health and physical benefits. Practicing yoga has given me a positive attitude, a toned body and an eagerness to help others.”

“Practicing yoga has been invaluable, it has been very healing.  It has stopped my racing mind. It allowed me to find mindfulness. Yoga helped ground me.  Growing up, being the product of an alcoholic mother, I was faced with many unique challenges.  I didn’t realize that I was broken,” says Russo. 

According to a Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs published in the National Institutes of Health, by Rutgers University “Research indicates that children of alcoholics (COAs) are at increased risk for a variety of negative outcomes, including substance abuse, antisocial behavior, and mood disorders.”

Overcoming adversities, weighing in on the healing benefits, and paying it forward, Nick earned his yoga teacher certification in 2015 and now teaches daily, five to ten classes per week. Certified by the Yoga Alliance Network, Russo is certified to teach all forms of Hatha and Trauma Conscious Yoga. 

Nick teaches at the Hot on Yoga Studio in Winter Garden and for Kula for Karma at the Orlando Recovery Center in Orlando. It was through a close friend, Alberta NLM, that Nick discovered the Kula for Karma organization. In addition to providing therapeutic yoga for recovery clients, serving as a faculty member with Kula for Karma, Russo trains trauma conscious yoga to new teachers. “I provide them with the tools for best practices when guiding clients towards recovery. In September 2019, I recently completed a teacher training for 30 students at Studio 108 in Tampa. We spoke a lot about mental health. It was eye opening and a life changing experience,” says Nick.

“The truth is, yoga is for everybody, flexible or not. It’s about calming the mind and finding peace and health within the body. I would call this functional yoga,” says Nick.

Yoga is available to all people. It is simply for everybody. Begin from where you are. Find a Studio that you connect with. Have an open mind whether it be for health or recovery. Just be. 

“It helped me find balance, physical and mental strength,” says Nick.

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Energetic Wenrich, Wife, Athlete, and Mother of two, finds ways to remove barriers and adapt during the COVID-19 storm.

Diana Wenrich, 37, resident of Winter Garden Fla, Mom, Wife, Athlete, and Yoga Teacher sets an example on ways to adapt during the COVID-19 Pandemic restrictions.  After losing her father to pancreatic cancer, 2 years ago at the age of 63, Diana says “Since his battle I’ve tried hard to live life in the moment, because truly that is all we can be certain of. Is this pandemic inconvenient? YES! Will it end? Of course! We just must be patient and grateful that we are healthy and still afforded the opportunities to do the things that make us happy. It may not be yoga in a studio or running an organized race, but we can still do these things at home for the time being and find the joy that they bring to our lives.” 

Garage yoga with Diana Wenrich photo by Diana Wenrich 

During the March interview, Diana said she was teaching yoga classes at both the One Yoga & Fitness Studio in Clermont and at the Hot On Yoga Studio in Winter Garden.  Shortly thereafter a state of emergency declared by the United States Government required all non-essential businesses to cease operations. This order was enforced as an attempt to stop the spread of the corona virus and to protect the health and safety of all citizens.  This forced many individuals and small business to become creative and discover ways to remain active and be able to provide service for their clients.  

In order to continue teaching yoga, like many others, Diana had to use technology. “Although I’m unable to teach yoga in a traditional studio, I’ve continued to teach a little bit virtually. I’ve led a few live Zoom classes for my running group and have also recorded some yoga sessions for One Yoga and Fitness’ YouTube channel” says Wenrich. 

Photo from One Yoga and Fitness You Tube Channel 

I’m getting more and more comfortable with this! I’m using zoom for yoga and for my job. I think video conferencing programs like this are going to pave the way for the future. Kids are learning to use this at a young age and many adults are relying on it for remote work these days. It’s going to be exciting to see how the use of technology during this pandemic shape business and education in the future,” says Diana.  

Although she recently retired from teaching middle school, Diana says “I’ve been trying for the past eight years to teach at Florida Virtual school (FLVS).” As of March 23rd, Diana began teaching 7th grade language arts.  “The timing (with everything going digital) was a complete coincidence and I can’t tell you how excited I am. I teach in the Flex program, meaning students can enroll at any time throughout the year. Although it is a virtual environment, I feel like I get to know my students so much better this way! We communicate with our students one-on-one and have truly incredible academic conversations. This is my thirteenth year as a teacher and I can say with certainty that this is the most I have ever been able to offer my students with quality help and instruction,” says Wenrich. 

Diana also adds, “Although I am not teaching yoga as much as before, I am really appreciating those times I can offer a class via zoom or record one for YouTube. I’m also using this time to deepen my own practice. It’s nice to have that pause to be able to refine your craft.”

Finding ways to improvise, Diana has not allowed the restrictions set forth to limit her from remaining active.  “My fitness has been one of the constants throughout this crazy situation. I’ve tried to remain active and give as much as I can to others.” As for practicing yoga, I’ve tried to maintain my 3 day/week yoga practice. It keeps me balanced and sane. I’ve been practicing outside in the garage or on my back patio to try and simulate the heat of the studio, but I’ve also been content practicing indoors. One thing I’ve learned in being forced to alter my practice is that I really don’t need a heated room to have a good practice,” says Diana.  

Photo by Diana Wenrich – Virtual Run Group  

In addition to the temporary closures of the yoga studios, marathons and many other athletic events have been put on an indefinite hold. Serious about fitness, Diana completed 6 marathons and was preparing for an upcoming event in May. “I have also continued running 4 times a week. All my upcoming races have been cancelled and it’s really been disappointing. I was looking forward to a 100-mile relay run in the Keys that was supposed to be in May, but it’s now postponed until next year. Without any goal races in sight, I’ve really focused in on speedwork and getting faster. When life throws you a roadblock, forge a new path. My current goal is to run 7 miles in one hour. My last attempt was 1:01:08…. getting close,” says Weinrich. 

Photo by Diana Wenrich of Diana Wenrich 5 AM run 

When asked about family life, Diana says “I have truly been blessed with a fantastic family. The kids (ages 8 & 10) have been troopers. My husband and I have done our best to continue their activities and routines from before the pandemic. We have gotten them set up with their digital education and they have embraced it well. My son is taking virtual karate classes and my daughter is doing virtual dance, both offered by the studios they normally attend.  

Photo by Diana Wenrich of her son Dylan practicing virtual karate 

Photo by Diana Wenrich of her daughter Ana practicing virtual tap

We even got my brother, a police officer down in Sunrise, FL to do a zoom chat with their Cub Scout group. This is something we would have never thought to do before all of this! They were most disappointed in the fact that our annual ski trip was cancelled in March, but it was a really good lesson that sometimes things happen in life that are out of our control…what we can control is our reaction to the situation. They’re looking forward to going back next year. They’ve become more independent and mature in the last few weeks, and I attribute it to the sudden change the pandemic affected in our lives. 

Photo by Diana Wenrich of a zoom chat with her brother 

Photo by Diana Wenrich Zoom Chat with the Brother Cubs Scout Group 

In addition to the virtual dancing and karate, the Wenrich’s also keep active by bicycling.  “My family and I have found biking to be one of our favorite activities. We like to take the bikes out and go for a long ride to look at nature and really tune into our surroundings. Last week we went out to the South Lake Trail and rode over 8-miles. The kids were proud of themselves, says Diana.” 

In conclusion, Diana says, “I am 40 hours away from finishing my 200-hr Yoga certification (that’s 2 weekend sessions). There’s a lot of unknown right now so I can’t tell you when I’ll be finished, but I can tell you this…I trust that when it is finally safe to do so, Gina (my teacher/mentor from One Yoga) will ensure we get our hours completed and earn our certificates…and there will probably be a big party to follow!” 

For more information or to connect with Diana, please follow her on FaceBook

#yoga #whiting4 #dianawenrich #johnnyamato #erincrosby #yogacommunity #amywhiting #yogawithnickorlando #bellafitzz #glitter_di

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