In this world, where life is fast and furious and sometimes tough, there’s nothing more important than intimate and authentic connections with a loving community of sisters. This monthly Q&A series is all about sharing some of my favorite women in wellness and how they shape, shift and uplift others to live life more fully. I’m happy to welcome Ryann Hanes-Sloan to the blog this month. Ryann and I first connected years ago when I had just moved to Oklahoma and we both took a job working at a raw culinary academy/restaurant. Behind laptops and mountain high kale salads, we would swap stories of India travels, tell yoga jokes and goof around (isn’t that the best part of having girlfriends!). And while we had our silly moments, she also truly moved me with transformative advice – from embracing your past, to being a conscious creator of life you truly want to live. This woman awes me with her ability to be walk the line of levity and depth. Welcome, Ryann…
Every great journey has a story, tell us about you and your journey towards holistic living?
For me, there were several factors that lead me to my path. I was literally raised on Taco Bell and Pizza growing up. The culture of food in my family was rooted in convenience. I felt like we all waited until we were starving and then in haste, we ordered in pizza or ran through a drive-through out of “hanger” (hunger + anger). My home was pretty unstable through a large portion of my childhood and looking back, I think my family’s relationship with food illuminated a bigger picture of being disconnected to our own bodies, our needs and true desires.
In college, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, an often overlooked and under diagnosed disease where tissue that typically lines a woman uterus begins to grow outside of the uterus. It is horrifically painful and caused me to have period cramps that had me bawling on the bathroom floor in absolute, horrific pain on a monthly basis. I realized that the pain was only intensifying each month and that I had to look into a way to mitigate the pain without having to take copious amounts of over the counter painkillers. I noticed that a regular yoga practice was helping to lessen the pain when my period came and I began to research diet and its effect on Endometriosis. This was really my gateway into implementing nourishing rituals into my life. The more I paid attention to what I consumed, the more I realized the powerful role that food and movement play in whole body well being. In desperation to find relief, I began to practice yoga regularly and I slowly omitted dairy, gluten and processed foods from my diet. I noticed not only a change in my pain levels during my period, but I noticed a mental shift. I was using food to nourish, elevate and heal. I was eating with intention and in yoga, I was breathing, moving and reflecting on emotions that I may have otherwise bottled up inside. I felt lighter, I was able to digest my thoughts more clearly and I was choosing to consume foods, thoughts and experiences that made me feel grounded, empowered and nourished.
At what point in your journey did you decide you wanted to make a career out of your experience?
When I realized that we are all entitled to a brilliant, wildly satisfying empowered life-no matter where we have come from. I wanted to share this revelation and the tools to take back whole body well being, so I traveled to India to study Yoga and Ayurveda with my teacher, Swami Govindananda.
How would you describe your approach to wellness? What modalities do you work with?
I teach public and private yoga classes and I co- lead DOYOGACREATELOVE Retreats across the globe. These retreats are rooted in self-reflection, intention setting and self-love. I utilize diet, movement, breath work and meditation to empower my students to create a life that they truly love. I believe that we are all inherently well and joyful; we just have to clear away the blockages and habits that are keeping us from our true nature. I consider it my life’s work to help others reconnect with themselves and the earth through yoga and diet, so that they are able to ultimately uncover their true brilliance and make informed choices on what elevates them on a daily basis.
What’s a typical day like for you now?
I wake up early, snuggle with my two kitties and my pup. Enjoy a slow breakfast with my husband of homemade hemp milk chia pudding topped with organic fresh bananas, peaches, berries and warm coconut oil. Bike or walk to my job at Moon Juice where I get to chat healing mushrooms, healing tonics and juice. Grab a green juice + tree nut cheese and crackers for lunch from Moon Juice. Work with a private client to modify their diet and prescribe yoga postures to optimize their digestion. Blend a pesto made of basil from the farmer’s market, add baked sweet potato, lightly sautéed kale, raw carrots, fermented veggies sunflower sprouts and lots of seeds for dinner. Spend the rest of evening at the beach or in a grassy park with my pup and husband sharing and reflecting on our day.
What ways do you nourish yourself daily?
Movement, food and a good bath. I nourish myself by consuming food that elevates my vital energy on a daily basis. I work to eat only organic and to prepare my food with love and intention so that my body doesn’t have to process pesticides or unwanted negative energy. I get my heart rate up every day, either through yoga, a long walk or a good run. I have a nightly bath with healing salts. This time allows me to process my day, reflect on what I have experienced and prepares me for the day to come. I am introverted by nature- these rituals allow me to recharge so that I am able to fully show up each and every day.
How do you handle negativity or competition in your work/personal life? In what ways do you support women to rise above this pattern and uplift each other?
My work with DOYOGACREATELOVE Retreats focuses specifically on elevating women. I really work to create an environment where we can all feel safe, supported and loved. When we feel these things, we can take more risks, love ourselves more fully and love others more deeply. As far as competition, I subscribe to the mentality that there is enough to go around for all of us. When one of us succeeds, we all win. I don’t think there can be enough people doing this type of work. The more people who are out there asking people to truly connect to their true essence of love, means we will have a more connected and reflective society- and that’s where I want to be. I want to be around those who step into the vulnerable, who can love without fear, admit when they’re wrong and are always seeking to become wise masters of their life experiences. The more people who are out there asking people to truly connect to their true essence of love, means we will have a more connected and reflective society- and that’s where I want to be. I want to be around those who step into the vulnerable, who can love without fear, admit when they’re wrong and are always seeking to become wise masters of their life experiences.
Tell us about a dream project or collaboration you’re manifesting? What do you desire to (co-) create? What’s on the horizon for you!
DOYOGACREATELOVE was my dream creation! Our first global retreat is February 8-13, 2016 in Sayulita, Mexico– and we just opened registration – details below!
Your parting wisdom + the most transformational piece of advice you’ve received:
Just because things have been a certain way in the past, does not mean that they have to be that way in future. You have the power to create and be whatever you want to be in this life. Bless your past and let it go.