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Women In Wellness: Heather MacKay and Mary Reaston of Yoga Your Way On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

As a part of my series about women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Heather MacKay and Mary Reaston.

Based in Southern California, Heather and Mary are female entrepreneurs, certified yoga professionals who have experienced and taught yoga internationally. They have dedicated their careers to breaking down the barriers that can serve as impediments by building a brand to bring heath, wellness and fitness to every BODY.

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?

We met 4 years ago while embracing our love of the water doing stand up paddle board (SUP) yoga in the Carlsbad lagoon. We are different as night and day in age, appearance and physical ability. Heather has been a yoga and fitness practitioner for over 20 years while Mary was a newbie. We had both been through many yoga classes where they catered to expertise and youth, excluding all others. We realized this needed to change and we decided to become the leader of this transformation. In addition, yoga and wellness are costly endeavors and out of reach for the majority of the population. Our goal in creating Yoga Your Way was to offer many different options for health and wellness centered around yoga because yoga is the embodiment of mind, breath and body — creating a holistic approach to getting healthy and fit. Of significant note, the seed for Yoga Your Way started in late 2019 and we all know what happened in early 2020. Covid made us more determined to create this health and wellness enterprise.

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?

At the end of 2019, we had created Yoga Your Way and we had just landed our first agreement to provide in person yoga for the Girl Scouts of San Diego and their parents. This was an exciting time for us as this was our first meeting and pitch we made for our services, and we landed our first pitch with a home run! We were set to start offering our services in March 2020. Needless to say, our victory was short lived. The world was shutting down and this could have been the end of Yoga Your Way. The old saying, “necessity of the motherhood of invention,” is especially true in our case. In order for our vision to survive, we had to come up with a new model, and we did. In less than three months we had developed our unique online platform, yogayourway.fitness, to offer yoga and fitness for everybody 24/7/365. This is a completely unique wellness platform. The core principle at Yoga Your Way is affordable wellness for every BODY. We designed the platform as the cornerstone of our brand offering a distinctive experience.

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?

Instead of trusting ourselves to market and sell our brand, we initially relied on outside sales people and their vision, not ours. This was a mistake we luckily made at the beginning. When we found that they wanted to charge excessive prices, taking away from our fundamental core values, we decided to drop them and took on the responsibility for our brand and sales. We learned a valuable lesson: in order to have a successful company you have to define your values and stay true to them no matter what the outside influence is. If you are true to yourself, that will show through to your customers and THAT is one of the major keys to increasing sales.

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?

We started out with our online platform, and from that platform we have built a successful international company. Our initial vision was to bring health and wellness at an affordable rate to every BODY. The first step in the process was developing our online platform. After we launched our platform, we also launched our SUP Yoga classes in southern California, and our wellness retreats. We realized that in addition to offer the services, we wanted to be able to empower others to facilitate our ideology. This year we have branched out to offer Yoga teacher training that is well grounded and affordable. Also, part of our key philosophy is giving back to our community. We offer year-round community events and fund-raising for local charities. A program we are particularly proud of is our complimentary Creating Memories events for families with life threatening illnesses.

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.

Take at least 15 minutes per day for yourself for reflection and decompression so you can continue to be there for others. If you are ever feeling stressed focus on your breath and prolonging the exhalation to calm your mind and body. Gratitude is the attitude! Everyday find and focus on at least one thing you are grateful for. Pay it Forward! Something as small as holding the door open for someone — kindness is always paid in kind. Surround yourself with positive energy. That includes the people you associate with. Positivity is a buffer for negative energy.

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

Self Love! Taking care of your body, mind and soul ~ your way. Everyday do something to enrich your physical and emotional wellbeing.

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

1.Be true to your values. Your business will always reflect upon you. If you’re true to your values it will shine through in your mission and it will help you build and define your brand.

2. Don’t let outside influences sway you. The best example we have is outsourcing our sales. They tried to sway us for increased pricing which went against our core principles and delayed or growth.

3. Surround yourself with positive energy and people. Creating an atmosphere with positivity will help you overcome any obstacles that may come your way.

4. Always be kind. You never know what kind of day someone is having and your bit of kindness could make a difference in their world. Kindness ties in with #3 and creates positivity.

5. To tie everything together, attitude sums it up. Gratitude is the attitude! If you focus on what you are grateful for it keeps negativity away.

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

Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the future generations to meet their own needs. It’s not just for the environment, its embedded in most of our core principles. It’s very dear to us because sustainability is truly a holistic approach, as is our approach to wellness

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

www.yogayourway.fitness

Instagram @yogayourway20

Facebook @yogayourway20

Tic Tok @yogayourway

Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.

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Candice Georgiadis

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