By Kelsey Mathes
My wellness journey has been a complex one, with a lot of ups and downs.
I moved to New York City right after graduating with a BFA in Musical Theatre. I immediately found myself thrust into the hustle of pursuing a career in the arts while holding down multiple jobs to pay my rent. One summer I was bartending, managing a restaurant, and producing events; basically working 18-hour days, 6 days a week, as well as auditioning. I was overwhelmed and anxious, and started experiencing panic attacks and self-medicating my anxiety with alcohol. It was then that I discovered meditation. I attended an Intro to Ziva Meditation Talk on a whim and decided to take the full 4-day course, and I noticed a huge difference immediately in how I felt. It was like night and day.
But then, about 6 months after I started meditating I started getting recurring 104-degree fevers. I suddenly had a chronic pinched nerve in my back that made me immobile. I remember thinking, “Hey, I’m a meditator. This isn’t supposed to happen!” But then it occurred to me that, although I had started meditating, I was still drinking a ton and eating terribly. What I now know is that meditation can actually increase your body’s sensitivity so you become aware of what it doesn’t want.
I realized that health is like a puzzle, and even though I had the meditation piece, I was missing the other pieces necessary to complete the picture.
So I started with my food. I tried various regimens like Macrobiotics and Paleo, but none seemed to fully fit me. However, in exploring all these different approaches, I unearthed a passion for nutrition and using food as a tool for better performance.
I decided to study at the Academy of Healing Nutrition, specializing in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. Upon graduation I started my own business as a health coach in order to help people live happier, healthier lives. Since then, I have been freelancing and creating nutrition seminars and coaching for corporations in NYC. I have also had the pleasure of helping hundreds of clients one-on-one and in small groups.
After establishing myself as a health coach, I decided I wanted to dive deeper and started meditation teacher training with Emily Fletcher at Ziva. I completed my 15 months of training in spring 2016 and am now on the zivaTEAM as a teacher.
My road to wellness has had its fair share of twists and turns, and I am grateful for every one of them. I have learned from every challenge and they brought me to where I am today: in the position to use my own experiences and training to help other people perform at the top of their game. And that is pretty delicious.