Women In Wellness: Dayna Yvonne Jondal On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine
8 min readJan 23, 2022


Get a coach, mentor, or a therapist you trust. I would love to normalize ongoing (and preventative!) self- development. There’s simply no replacement for an objective mirror and person who’s exclusively committed to helping you know yourself better and thrive. If you have a goal, or just enjoy learning, find a mentor or someone you trust in that arena to help support your development. It’s an act of love.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dayna Yvonne Jondal, M.A., NBC-HWC, RYT-500, a Pillar National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach.

Dayna offers Integrative Health Coaching and Yoga Therapy to individuals and companies looking to build mental fitness, resilience, and learn communication strategies that strengthen relationships. She has a M.A. in Integrative Health & Well-being Coaching, is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, and is an Advanced Teacher of Therapeutic Yoga, en route to become a Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT). When she is not coaching or teaching yoga, she enjoys developing curriculum and training new coaches with organizations such as Emory University and Mindbodygreen.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Yes! I used to be a math & philosophy major in my undergrad years, which means I was often stuck in my head. During my first year of law school, my body sort of collapsed from stress. I was suffering from panic attacks and anxiety. Around that same time, I discovered yoga, which helped me to get out of my head and start inhabiting my body. Yoga offered me a direct, experiential way of knowing about mind and body that slowly but dramatically improved my health. Over the course of several years, I kept learning, found my way into the Masters program in Integrative Health & Well-being Coaching, began a yoga therapy training program at Kripalu, and eventually healed my panic attacks with holistic lifestyle medicine and functional nutrition strategies. I’m interested in everything philosophical and well-being related — the rest is history!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Great question — I think one of the most interesting stories was when I began working with autoimmune patients. Those patients really got me more interested in functional medicine and nutrition because so many of them had multiple sensitivities and were managing flares. I’m glad I discovered the world of functional nutrition because it’s been incredibly helpful in healing my own anxiety. On the other hand, I sometimes see a lot of sensationalism in that community and I now have a much more balanced, values — centric, person- first approach to how I coach. Some things in life are just hard, sometimes sickness is unavoidable, and we have to meet people where they are at. There are a lot of cultural and economic barriers to simply “being well.” I like to remain optimistic but I think I’m a lot more realistic and compassionate about the challenges folks are facing than I was at the beginning of my career.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The biggest mistake I made was being too preachy about wellness. I think we all agree there are issues with healthcare. In my case, it was transformative and energizing to experience a successful, inside — out healing experience. Finding new perspectives is fun — discovering a different way of thinking about health is exciting. After my positive experience, it was tempting to want to take the pulpit about everything that’s challenging with conventional medicine and offer a more holistic, integral, consciousness- based approach. The thing is: so much of that excitement is still taking place in an intellectual plane, not the somatic/ experiential place where health and healing often occurs. I still love ideas and feel nourished by them, but I try to maintain a balanced, integral worldview. Lifestyle medicine can be delivered in a variety of spirits — I sometimes see it being delivered as a “cure all” that echoes the exact same marketing scheme it was meant to reject — it feels like a “one ill, one pill” model, where you’ve replaced pills with the latest biohacking scheme or protocol.

The lesson for me is that everyone is susceptible to various forms of suffering, no matter how committed they are to their health and wellness. While I absolutely believe you can have a HUGE impact on your health and resilience through the choices you make, I also understand that there’s no immunity from life itself, and that’s why it’s important to connect with values and one’s sense of meaning and an authentic Self or sense of purpose.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

As a formally socially-awkward math major, I think the last decade for me has been about reclaiming the importance of healthy relationships in well-being. One of the major areas I enjoy coaching around is helping people to learn compassionate communication strategies where they can self- connect more deeply to their feelings and needs, and share those experiences with the important people in their lives. What I’ve seen is that this builds trust, intimacy, and — in a work context — a more authentic leadership style and work environment. Some of my clients have gotten promotions, probably because of their ability to actively listen and manage a team conversation in an articulate but open-hearted way.

The other area of my work is yoga therapy, and I recently started working in a behavioral health setting. While I’m newer at yoga therapy than coaching, I hope to offer the wisdom of this tradition to populations that wouldn’t normally be able to experience and connect with it.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  1. Get a coach, mentor, or a therapist you trust. I would love to normalize ongoing (and preventative!) self- development. There’s simply no replacement for an objective mirror and person who’s exclusively committed to helping you know yourself better and thrive. If you have a goal, or just enjoy learning, find a mentor or someone you trust in that arena to help support your development. It’s an act of love.
  2. Hydrate better. Honestly, I see dehydration as a major issue for most of my friends (and clients!). You can sometimes tell just by glancing at their skin whether they’re well hydrated or not. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces (i.e. if you’re 130 lbs, that’s 65 oz. daily). Try to prioritize making sure the water is filtered, and aim to go beyond just water when you think about hydration. Vegetables and fruits are hydrating. Add a squeeze of lemon or drink some green juice to get a deeper hydration in the morning. You can also keep some electrolyte packets handy or opt for bone broth. In addition to ingesting your water, make sure you keep your skin hydrated with an appropriate oil. My rule of thumb for skin health is “if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your body.” My favorite oil for a self- massage routine is coconut oil.
  3. Sleep more. There will never be a sexy replacement for healthy sleep and Circadian rhythm. Explore your sleep hygiene and eliminate the barriers to healthy sleep — whether that’s managing light, temperature, stress, avoiding conflict before bed, etc.. Everyone needs to know their optimal number of hours, wake time, whether they’re getting into deep rest stages, etc. If you’re techy, check out Eight Sleep — I contract with this company and they specifically look at sleep health by incorporating biofeedback technology.
  4. Safety matters. Do you feel safe in your life? A lot of us perhaps take for granted that we think we are generally feeling safe, when in reality our nervous system is experiencing constant threats from relationships, work, and the news. If you are not sending your nervous system a regular message of safety, it’s time to re-evaluate what “inputs” are coming in through your five senses and take steps to send yourself a message of safety. This is where nourishing relationships can be especially helpful, since our family and partners often help us to feel happy, social, and cared fo. Beyond that, guided imagery, taking control of nutrition, etc. can all help to send a message of safety.
  5. Start becoming aware of environmental threats to your health. I’m very happy to see that terms like “endocrine disruptors” are becoming part of the parlance in the health world. We know that being healthy is no longer just about what we eat and whether we exercise.. We need to be awake to the environments we spend time in and what the hazards are. Are you practicing proper hygiene? Do you have air and water filters? Is anything off-gassing? Are you using natural fibers with clothes and linen? Is there fragrance in any of your candles or personal care products? Are you drinking out of plastics? Do your vegetables have pesticides on them? We all need to start thinking about not just what we eat and interact with, but the environmental hazards of that thing. Heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, pesticides, etc. are all real threats to our health and hormones, and are instrumental in turning genes on and off that determine our overall health, ability to lose weight, etc.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would find a way to bring “mood food” boxes to those suffering from mental and emotional health disturbances. I believe that “Food as Medicine” should be a first line intervention here, but that many struggle to keep up with the financial and time demands of eating in a way that would keep them healthy, happy, and stable.

Another movement I could get behind is eliminating air fresheners and dryer sheets, which offer little benefit and are often filled with endocrine disrupting compounds!

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Before and while you help others, help yourself. Many who are drawn to the helping professions are Wounded Healers. We need to commit to our own self-work in order to really show up for our clients.
  2. Don’t be afraid to listen to your intuition. Don’t be afraid to question it, either.
  3. It’s okay to change your mind about things. I can’t remember who quoted this, but you don’t have to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.
  4. Health is a value — let people choose what they value, and explore what really matters to them.
  5. Become aware of the difference between promoting health and delivering moralistic judgments about what people should do.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Honestly, it’s hard to choose between mental health and environmental changes. I believe they’re interrelated. Re-connecting to the natural world and feeling ourselves as beings that actually belong and are designed to be here would help a lot of mental health issues. From a yogic perspective, disease can arise from a sense of disconnection. Dianne Connelly has another way of saying it — she says “All sickness is homesickness.” I find that pretty profound and it relates to really feeling Earth and our bodies as a home.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

You can join my mailing list at daynayvonne.com and follow me on Instagram @daynayvonne. Also be sure to follow www.withpillar.com and instagram.com/withpillar

Thank you for these fantastic insights!



Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.