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Pilates helped me manage anxiety

Hey y'all,

My name is Ja'Nel, and I'm the creator of Vibing on the Mat. I'm excited to share my love of Pilates with you.

I began taking Pilates classes in the winter of 2016. At the time, I was what I now describe as a "depressed and anxious mess." Persistent Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and insomnia are each hard conditions to manage on their own. But when they hit you all at once -- chiiiiiiile, boo -- they can take you down. Our country's mental health system definitely let me down. I discovered hot Pilates in an effort to find ways to cope with anxiety attacks.

I didn't know what to expect when I arrived at P2O Hot Pilates & Fitness on a cold Sunday morning. I checked in, found a spot in the "hot room," and waited for class to start. The room was toasty and full of women in cute workout clothes. Our instructor, Mark, entered the room and asked if there were any newbies in class. I nervously raised my hand. He welcomed me to class and advised me to sit on my mat if I needed a break. He also told me to try to stay in the hot room the entire class.

We started with five minutes of deep breathing and intention setting. It was the first time in a long time that I felt calm. I was focused as we swiftly made our way through the ab, plank and cardio circuits. I was burning up! But I loved the heat. I took a seat on my mat when I felt winded and drank plenty of water to stay hydrated. I never once thought about leaving the room. I wanted to see the class all the way through to the end. And I did! Shavasana!

Woo! I was tired and sweaty. My heart was pounding. I stared at the ceiling as I realized that I didn't feel anxious. I didn't feel anxious or worried or scared or faint. I felt grounded, and I wanted to hold on to that feeling. So, I went back again and again and again.

Less than a year later, I sat in teacher training with five other amazing women. Now I'm launching my own Pilates business with a focus on Black women and girls. I can't wait to vibe with you in the 2020.

Vibing on the mat,


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