Editor’s Note

Yoga has been in my life in one form or another since childhood. The seed was planted — as so many are — by my mom. When I was in grade school, she taught me a progressive muscle relaxation technique she learned in the one yoga and meditation class she ever attended. A full yogic lifestyle didn’t stick for her, but that meditative technique did become a regular practice for her, and then later for me.

In college, I began to explore yoga further, taking yoga asana classes, learning to meditate and studying the Indian philosphy and traditions. Over the years, yoga has become an integral part of my day-to-day life. So much so that in 2020, one of my lockdown hobbies was working on a 200-hour yoga teacher certification. After pausing it more than once, I finally graduated and am currently working on a 300-hour certification. Having turned 49 in December, it feels great to learn something new each day in my classes and to have not only a physical practice that helps keep my body moving and stretching, but also gaining a holistic philosophy that offers guidance for balance in all of the other areas of my life. The mind-body-spirit connection has always facinated me, so it’s no surprise that I find the material riveting and can’t get enough of it.

My timing couldn’t be better. The ongoing pandemic had a lot of us evaluating our health and fitness and making changes for the better. Exercise and nutritious food are the top two ways we can help our bodies feel good and fight illness. Add other healthy behaviors, including a spiritual practice, and balance is attanable. Don’t get me wrong, I know being a yogi or any flavor of health nut doesn’t guarantee that illness or stress or any other negative situation won’t arise — they will — but we are so much more equipped to handle what life throws our way when we are engaging in healthy habits most of the time. As opposed to when we are sedetary for most of our waking hours, eating junk food, consuming a huge diet of negative media and ignoring the cries for help from our body and mind, which at first come in the form of aches, pains, skin issues, roller coaster emotions and, in many cases, misuse of things like alcohol and other substances. Healthier coping mechanisms like movement — which could be a simple as a daily walk — quiet time for self-reflection, journaling, prayer or meditation and nutritious meals can do so much for us in the long run. I know these practices keep me in a better headspace and it’s obvious to me when I’m letting something fall by the wayside.

Perfection isn’t the goal of course, because it’s impossible, but if I can keep up with my mind-body-spirit practices at least most of the time, it’s a win in my book.

If you are looking for some inspiration for your wellness routine, we’ve got you covered in this issue. I hope it’s a valuable resource and that you hang onto it to refer to throughout the year. I can’t promise you’ll end up registering to become a yoga instructor after you finish reading it, but at the very least you’ll have some nutritious recipes and ideas for staying a little healthier. Think of it as planting a few seeds. Meanwhile, stay safe out there and take care of yourselves the best you can.


Melanie Warner Spencer
Managing Editor


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