The Wellness Spotlight Series highlights military spouses and their real world health and wellness journeys in a Facebook Live series. Below is an excerpt of Bernadette’s feature.
Bernadette is a military spouse, yoga teacher, certified personal trainer, Reiki master teacher, and owner of wellness lifestyle company and chic leggings line, Doll Yoga Wear, LLC. Having experienced the powerful life-changing effects of yoga, Bernadette is excited to help others move in the direction of their highest potential by way of these ancient teachings.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE.
My husband and I met as interns in college. We worked in sales and sponsorship for some major concert venues, and both got hired full-time after graduation. We always had a strong friendship and definite connection, and when he eventually left the company to join the military, we finally made it official. He served in the Reserves for his first few years, and we lived up in Boston at the time. Once he decided to go active duty, we moved down to our first official duty station and got married. It’s been an adventure ever since.
IF YOU ARE A HEALTH OR WELLNESS EXPERT, TELL US ABOUT IT AND HOW IT HAS IMPACTED YOUR WELLNESS JOURNEY.
I have been teaching yoga for over seven years, and for most of that time, have been advancing my education in the field. I’m currently finishing up a yoga therapy certification. My path as a yogi and military spouse has been so interesting. Each time I go back to train with my teacher, we layer on more tools to take care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Being a military spouse has given me some incredible opportunities to practice what I’ve learned. Every time a new challenge arises in our military lifestyle, I’m able to adjust my yoga practice to serve my immediate needs. I’m grateful to not only have the tools, but be able to apply them on myself in a way that really helps me understand how to better help others. No matter what I’m going through, I feel empowered that I can take care of myself.
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY EXTREME LOWS SINCE BECOMING A MILITARY SPOUSE? WHEN HAS YOUR HEALTH (MENTAL AND/OR PHYSICAL) SUFFERED THE MOST, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?
Our first year of marriage was definitely challenging. We had our first deployment, I had just gone through a major career change (from corporate America to being a full-time yoga teacher) and we’d recently moved. A few months after my husband got back from deployment, we got PCS orders and that transition was particularly hard for me. We were very excited for the next adventure, but I felt so much guilt about leaving my yoga students and my part-time job. I felt completely overwhelmed with the move and buying our first house, and I felt too busy to take care of myself. My wellness routine seriously suffered. I was holding so much tension in my neck that I lost feeling in the right side of my face and down my right arm. I was the stressed out yoga teacher!
Luckily, I knew I could turn to yoga in a big way during this time. I created a really short and effective yoga practice for myself with a few postures, some personalized affirmations, and a short breathing practice. I also turned to yoga therapy to heal my neck, and it felt like a magical healing process. While it was less than ideal to go through, it helped me affirm the power of yoga, and the power of consistency with my wellness routine to help me through the difficult times.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR HIGHEST MOMENT SINCE BECOMING A MILITARY SPOUSE? WHEN HAVE YOU FELT YOUR HEALTHIEST?
Honestly, right now I am feeling great! My body feels strong and healthy, I’m eating well, and I’m getting plenty of sleep. There is always room to create positive change, so I’m always looking for ways to do even better, but I’m super happy with where I am right now. My goal is to age gracefully and continue to do the work to keep myself feeling awesome long-term.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FORM OF SELF CARE?
Something that has really helped me has been listening and adapting to what my body needs. I have a bunch of daily and weekly routines (like getting enough sleep, being consistent with healthy eating and appropriate exercise) but what has changed the game is when I listen up and adjust to what my body and mind are needing in the present moment. If I’m exhausted, I rest. If something hurts, I change what I’m doing in my yoga practice to respect that. For me it’s about being consistent with living a healthy lifestyle and routines that go along with that, but with a willingness to adapt to my present state.
WHAT IS ONE PERSONAL HABIT THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS?
I am consistent and I’ve learned that this is the game changer. I commit to doing my yoga practice, even if it’s a short one, I schedule in my other workouts, and I make sure I have time to make fresh, healthy meals and prioritize sleep. When you can stay consistent, and are proactive with your health rather than reactive, you’ll always feel well. Even simple things, done consistently, create positive change over time. It has to be a lifestyle, not a temporary thing. I also let things shift and change with my schedule, needs, and interests. If something’s not working, I change it! I’m always tweaking my yoga practice based on what I have going on or how I’m feeling.
IF YOU COULD SHARE A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would love to recommend my yoga e-book for military spouses! It’s called “At Ease: Ancient Yoga Tools for Modern Military Spouses”. I picked nine themes that we may encounter throughout our military family lifestyle and turned them into intentional yoga practices. You can download the whole thing or get a free preview practice at www.ateasebook.com
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK AND/OR PODCAST TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I have been loving the Waiting Warriors Podcast! Michelle is a military spouse and picks themes we can all relate to. Absolutely check it out!
Bernadette is a proud military spouse, 500-hr yoga teacher, yoga therapist-in-training, certified personal trainer, Reiki master teacher, and owner of wellness lifestyle company and chic leggings line, Doll Yoga Wear, LLC. She has been teaching group yoga classes for over seven years, and specializes in developing unique yoga practices for individuals and special populations, including (but not limited to) military personnel and their families, corporate wellness settings, kids, and seniors. She enjoys applying the authentic teachings of yoga to your modern lifestyle in a simple and effective way. Having experienced the powerful life-changing effects of yoga, Bernadette is excited to help others move in the direction of their highest potential by way of these ancient teachings.