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Using a Pilates, Meditation and Yoga Philosophy to Burst the Pressure Bubble in Life and Work, With Roberta Hughes

RobertaFT

Raj Girn: My guest today is the founder of PeaceFull Living, Roberta Hughes, who is also the lead instructor for this boutique hybrid concept that as the title states, marries the philosophies of Pilates, meditation and yoga to help with pressure buildup, which we all face on some level.

Here is our conversation:

Raj Girn: Welcome to the show, Roberta. I’m so excited and intrigued about your concept.

Roberta Hughes: Thank you so much for having me. I love your show. I was listening to it today. And you always have guests that contribute wonderful content, phenomenal ideas. I get so inspired when I listen.

You just made me happy today. Thank you so much for sharing that. Folks, I know that I have a community here who tunes in from around the world. You just heard it right here with Roberta. I want to just stay off the top of this show that when we talk about this concept, please have an open mind and an open heart.

Because at the end of the day, one thing that I’ve learned through the five-plus decades that I’ve been on this earth is that all the things that we’ve been taught traditionally or the infrastructures that we’ve been conditioned into don’t always serve everybody. We always need to find ways in which we can create an ecosystem that serves us as individuals. Because when you serve yourself as an individual, you can serve the whole community.

“All the things that we’ve been taught traditionally or the infrastructures that we’ve been conditioned into don’t always serve everybody. We always need to find ways in which we can create an ecosystem that serves us as individuals. Because when you serve yourself as an individual, you can serve the whole community.” ~Raj Girn

So with that said, Roberta, I’d love to begin with you first sharing how you came up with this concept of marrying Pilates, meditation and yoga. I really want to know more about that. And then how it then translates and parlays over into releasing pressure. Talk to us a little bit about the concept.

Roberta Hughes, Credit: [email protected]

So I used these three pillars in my life every single day. They’re all mindfulness practices in their own way. Pilates is definitely more of a way to move your body, to challenge your body, to challenge your concentration. Yoga is an opportunity to bring them together as a union. The body, mind and spirit. And meditation is a way to start training, focus, concentration, mindfulness, self-awareness. They’re just all wonderful together.

Absolutely. So what made you feel that bringing all three of them together was the was what you wanted to create as the foundation of your company? Talk to us a little bit about that.

When I first came to these practices, yoga was the very first practice that I learned. And from yoga, I became interested in meditation. And I had those two practices for about 10 years. And I brought Pilates into my life because I was having physical issues with my back, my lower back kept going out on me. I had too much flexibility. I wanted to figure out a way to fix that. Once I became a Pilates instructor, I left yoga and meditation off to the sidelines for quite a while so that I could master the art of teaching Pilates.

And when I did that, I didn’t feel complete, just having that physical experience. And as I started to teach students — most of my students were professionals — and when they would come in, their stress levels were high. And so I just started weaving in what I had learned in my yoga and meditation practices to help bring their concentration to a smoother vibration, if you will. And they would feel better.

“As I started to teach students — most of my students were professionals — and when they would come in, their stress levels were high. And so I just started weaving in what I had learned in my yoga and meditation practices to help bring their concentration to a smoother vibration, if you will. And they would feel better.” ~Roberta Hughes

They were taking things from the studio into their jobs, into their lives, and their performance and productivity were improving. So that’s where I felt like these three tools really work well together and they empower people. They give people confidence and they allow them to do what they want to do in their lives with a better opportunity to manage stress.

It’s so interesting because people are always trying to figure out the magic pill on that. And really, at the end of the day, it is just this direct relationship through an active wellness practice to alleviate a lot of the stress that we deal with. And especially as women because we’re dealing with the home and the work environment.

And I do want to tap into that a little bit. But before we kind of go into that, I want to ask you this, Roberta: What is our relationship with stress that you feel directly manifests in a way that wellness practices is a really optimal way to alleviate the stress or at least bring it down on some level that’s manageable. And what have you found?

In my personal experience, both in my personal practice and with clients, we operate on a very high vibration most of the time, and that resets our central nervous system to a place of a high vibration. Mindfulness practices, yoga, pilates, breathing, those bring the parasympathetic nervous system into activation, which helps to bring our whole way of being our whole energy level into balance as we learn the tools to take ourselves from high to low. The more often we practice, the more easy it becomes to bring ourselves into balance, no matter how much stress comes into our life.

“Mindfulness practices, yoga, pilates, breathing, those bring the parasympathetic nervous system into activation, which helps to bring our whole way of being our whole energy level into balance as we learn the tools to take ourselves from high to low.” ~Roberta Hughes

So let’s talk a little bit, then, about your classes. What would people expect in your classes? Do you have a series of different levels? I’m not going to put words in your mouth. You talk to me.

Absolutely. The livestream classes that I currently teach, I teach a placemat class, a yin yoga class and a gentle yoga class every week. And that’s for whoever wants to show up. And I don’t see the people on the screen. It’s only me. And we can chat, we can communicate through text, but I don’t really see that body. I’m really trying to teach them tools that they can take into their life.

Each month I create a theme, a focus. In May, our focus is on kindness and grace and how to bring kindness and grace into our daily lives, first for ourselves and then for others. Everything that I teach is to teach yourself, to find them within yourself first, to offer those tools to yourself first. Just like being on an airplane, you put on your oxygen mask first. And then you can help somebody else.

So when we think of kindness, if we aren’t being kind to ourselves and we’re trying to share kindness with friends and family, it’s not going to feel authentic. If we think about offering ourselves grace for our mistakes, our missteps, taking responsibility, moving forward, giving ourselves the opportunity to make mistakes and not be perfect, then we can do that for others as well.

Absolutely. And that’s the Holy Grail right there. As you know, often times, especially society, conditions us and teaches us to focus on how we can be a part of the larger ecosystem and what value do we bring to to the whole.

And it’s interesting because a lot of what you’re sharing here, a lot of what pop culture has been talking about over the last little while has been to send to the core, not in community, but in self, so that community can benefit. And this is a little bit about what you’re saying here, which I think is really incredible. I want to ask you this, Roberta: Who are these classes best suited to?

Anybody who wants to have a healthy relationship to stress. Anyone who wants to improve their way of being in the world so that they feel empowered, they feel balanced, they feel at ease and sure in their own skin.

Absolutely. I love that. So I want to ask you this: Who shouldn’t take these classes? I mean, are there any contraindications? Because I want to put that out there as well for people.

Absolutely. Because we are doing most of this virtually and I’m not able to see a person’s body. This is for the classes, though. I do offer private sessions for people who need a little bit more direction and need specific attention. If you have injuries, if you have illnesses, things that are going to put you in a compromised position, always listen to your doctor’s advice. What is your doctor encouraging you to do?

Someone who needs specialized attention should be getting specialized attention. The one-on-one instruction. The one-on-one support. The one-on-one help. I teach many clients one-on-one through a screen and it is very effective. I can see what their bodies are doing. I can have a conversation with them. A virtual class that you’re just logging into anonymously, except for whatever you might want to type in as a comment or a question, you need to have some self-assurance and the ability to take care of your own body and to not be worried that you’re going to do harm.

Absolutely agreed with that. So I want to ask you this: With all the mental health challenges that have shown up and amplified over the past two years, how can your classes be used to combat this on some level? Like what have you seen show up? Because I know that you started this during these past couple of years when we’ve all been going through the same challenges on many levels.

Yes. Interestingly enough, when I first started teaching in this format, it was on Facebook Live, and it was a community service that I did during quarantine. Most of the people who joined in were in their 70s, and they had never taken a yoga class before. And it was something they had always thought about doing, but were afraid to walk into a yoga studio. They were intimidated by that setting. They didn’t feel like a typical yogi as we picture one in our Western culture.

And so they felt really safe at home being on their mat. But then they also felt like they were part of a community. So this little community grew. And before I knew it, I was getting messages like “I never thought my body could do that and my knees are feeling better and my back is feeling better and I don’t wake up in pain the way that I used to.” So it was so rewarding to get that.

Of course. Absolutely. And so, you know, for people who haven’t really stepped into any kind of wellness, but are intrigued about some of the things you’re talking about, what classes would you say would be best suited for them to kind of first start the journey with you?

Both my yin yoga class and gentle yoga class are perfect for beginners. Pilates can be a little intimidating because it is hard work, and if you’re not used to a movement practice, it can feel like too much all at once. Yin yoga, to me, is the best way to begin because it’s a passive quiet practice. It gives you the opportunity to settle into a pose.

But I look at the poses and yin yoga more like a shape, a suggestion, a place to drop into and be curious. Curious about the physical body, the emotional body, the mind, and how these three interact with each other. When things get quiet, when discomfort comes up, it’s the perfect platform to explore your emotions and to work on things that are going to sustain your mental health for a long period of time.

“Yin yoga is more like a shape, a suggestion, a place to drop into and be curious about the physical body, the emotional body, the mind, and how these three interact with each other. When things get quiet, when discomfort comes up, it’s the perfect platform to explore your emotions and to work on things that are going to sustain your mental health for a long period of time.” ~Roberta Hughes

Absolutely. And for people out there who don’t really understand the value of meditation, yoga, even the movement of polarities, etc., how can we bring them in? How can we explain to them how important this is for for them on many levels? What would you say to to the nonbelievers?

For yoga, I think of it as emotional fitness. We have so many people who are always active and they want something to do. This is something to do for your brain and for your body and for your energy levels. If you run at 100 to 150 per cent all of the time, your body will get worn out. You’ll get sick. Your mental health will break down. Your emotional body will not have the opportunity to emote and authentically process feelings.

All of that is going to get bound up and start up inside of you. Yoga and meditation offers this wellspring for you to nourish and energize your whole body, mind and spirit so that you can be active without getting burnt out, without getting sick, without having a anxiety or panic attacks or an emotional meltdown, if you will.

Absolutely. I love the use of your words. I mean, “wellspring.” That is brilliant. I love that because automatically I know visually how I’m going to feel psychologically. Are some of these guided words part of what you do when you do your classes? I want to give people a sense of what to expect when they come into your class virtually.

Yes. So in yin yoga, I’m always offering guidance and I do use words like that: authenticity, curiosity, wellspring and lots of words that create pictures in a person’s mind. The more we can see a picture, the more we can connect to it, the more willing our brain is to buy into it. And oftentimes when people tell me that their brains are too busy and they get too bored, well, you need to give your brain something to do. So I’m here to give your brain something to do, even in the stillness. Yeah, it’s possible.

Absolutely.

And if you’re really curious, Raj. I can guide you through a little meditation if you would like.

I would love that. Are you kidding me? That would be great.

Okay. You ready?

I’m ready. Tell me what you need me to do.

So just relax in your chair and begin to notice your spine and feel the sits bones in your seat. And imagine that those sit bones are like roots growing down into the earth. Giving you a foundation of strength and power. And then your spine is more like the stem of a flower. You’re sitting tall. But it’s not rigid. If a little breeze were to come by, you could feel that bend, that movement.

And then the crown of the head is like the blossom just floating above your shoulders. Take a nice deep breath, breathing in through your nose, exhaling all that air out and feel that buoyancy in your spine. Feel the heart open to the sky. And notice how the breath feels as it moves in and out. There’s this natural softening as the breath leaves the body. Which allows the spine to be even more supple and strong.

And as you’re ready, you can let your eyes open. And let me know how you feel.

Your voice needs to be on an app is all I have to say, lady. You have a beautifully calming, rooted, beautiful, feminine avatar, which really resonates with my spirit when it comes to meditations. If you don’t have an app, can you please add that to your business model?

It’s on my plan and I’m working on releasing it.

Can we talk about that a little bit as well. Can we let people know all the stuff that you do and where they need to go to access this before we move further?

Absolutely. So on my website, you can access Zen Breaks, which is similar to what we just did, a very short guided meditation. That is on my website. You can download it and play it as often as you would like, as many times as you would like. So it’s not an app, but you do have full access. And then I also have guided meditations. So a Zen Break is going to be anywhere from two to five minutes long.

A Guided Meditation is a script that I’ve written, and it takes you all the way into this deep level of rest. So it’s a 20-minute guided meditation. All you have to do is lie down, get comfortable, listen like you’re listening to a story, and I’ll take you in and I’ll bring you out with a lot of visualization and you’ll feel rested without feeling groggy at the end.

And here’s an interesting thing. These 20-minute guided meditations give the body the same rest and restoration as a two hour nap. So for people who don’t have a lot of time, who aren’t getting enough sleep, this is a perfect way to begin. And these are just videos that you can play. You don’t have to sign up for a class. Some of my clients even download these and then they take them on walks with their dog. So instead of listening to a podcast and keeping their brains busy, they’ll just listen to my voice.

“These 20-minute guided meditations give the body the same rest and restoration as a two hour nap. So for people who don’t have a lot of time, who aren’t getting enough sleep, this is a perfect way to begin.” ~Roberta Hughes

I’ve had clients tell me that they’ll press play when they’re brushing their teeth, and their husband is listening with them in the bathroom at night and they’re getting relaxed and calm and quiet before they go to bed. So the tools are there for you to use and to fit into your own life. And that’s the part that excites me, is helping people find ways to fit them into their lives. Because we are busy people and not all of us are cookie cutters. For one person, you can fit it in wherever it works for you. For another, it’s going to be completely different.

Absolutely. And you mentioned something about a Zen Break. The three- to five-minute one. That is perfect for someone like me that’s always on the go. Just to have a moment in between different avatars of my personality that needs to be on. To give myself that break in between the pre and the and the post version of me that may be having to do something. Could be a sales pitch one moment could be having a leadership conversation with my team. And I have to be mindful every single time.

And this really speaks to a lot of leadership personalities where you’re having to flip psychologically, mentally, emotionally or even physically, from one type of a person to accomplish a goal to another type. Those breaks that you just mentioned, that sounds amazing. Can you talk a little bit about that for people like me who are always on the go?

So the Zen Breaks, I have them created for different applications, just like you spoke of. So I have the birthday candle breath that helps you if you’re feeling anxious and you need to just kind of let go of some of that anxious energy. I have another one to help you get grounded and connected. I have a gratitude Zen Break that just really lets you appreciate and watch gratitude like you’re watching a movie to give you this lower vibration. Those are the three that I love the most, but I have probably 15 of them on my website.

Credit: @PeaceFullLiving.com

Okay, so let’s go back to your website. And for anyone that’s just tuning in, can you give the URL again?

Yes, it’s peacefulliving.com and peaceful, full has two L’s.

Absolutely. So let me ask you this. When people go to your website, other than what we just talked about, where do they go for the different types of offerings that you have when it comes to your classes, the on demand and the streams?

There is one location on my website on peacefulliving.com. You click on it, it says classes and it will show you livestream, on demand and workshops. I’m starting to do more workshops. I’ve created one called Making Friends with Stress. This is one that you can purchase and the videos are already there for you. They’re curated directly to help you have a healthier relationship with stress, so more of those will start to show up.

I also am starting to curate content for different leadership companies who are looking for support for their leadership teams. And I can create video content or livestream content or a hybrid of the two to help people achieve whatever it is they’re wanting. Empathy is the big one right now that people are wanting to train up. That ability to be empathetic. And acceptance and authenticity are also things that leaders are learning to train up in a healthy way so that they can connect with their employees in a way that is meaningful and powerful.

“Empathy is the big one right now that people are wanting to train up. That ability to be empathetic. And acceptance and authenticity are also things that leaders are learning to train up in a healthy way so that they can connect with their employees in a way that is meaningful and powerful.” ~Roberta Hughes

And empowering them. I mean, it’s funny because I have this conversation over and over again with so many of my leadership ecosystem, Roberta. And, this whole idea of the last hundred years has really been a top down mentality in how teams have been led. And just in the last few years, we’ve seen leadership really being a bottom up mentality, one that I really believe in. And full transparency, I’ve done it the other way and it doesn’t work.

People need to be empowered. They don’t need just an empowered leader. They need to be empowered as well as having an empowered leader. So it’s really interesting that you’re sharing that you’re doing some of this stuff as well. Can any companies out there, their HR departments who do these kinds of bookings, is there anywhere on your website that they can go and sign up, get more information, anything like that for anything that you have coming up as you start developing these out over the course of this year?

It is coming. So by the time this podcast is released, I will have that. I’ve been doing it more behind the scenes recently because I’m super excited about stepping into this ability to take what I have learned into a corporate setting and do leadership trainings. It’s really a dream come true that people are wanting this type of training because I’ve been doing it for my whole life.

And the fact that companies are realizing that they really have to step into this now, especially after the last couple of years. That in order for them to have efficiency and productivity and better revenue, better income, they have to really take care of the people that are doing the work in their companies on every level.

It’s interesting now that these things are starting to really become impactful because there’s so much research out there that proves that we have to take care of these aspects of our lives and our beings. For people who want to go to your website, what is the model that you have in terms of the class? Do they just do a pay as you go like a pay to play or is there a like a subscription monthly or annually? Let’s share that information as well.

Absolutely. You can really do whatever works for you. You can go class by class. I have a 30-day pass which is 30 days for $30. And then I have a monthly membership, which right now is only $15 a month. So I’m accepting the first 100 members at that level. I’m getting close to that being sold out. So once that is sold out, the membership will change.

And then I do personalized experiences. So someone could go in and just sign up for a personal plan that I curated for them, and we would interview with each other, figure out the person’s needs, what they’re trying to accomplish and achieve. And I would put together the plan either with personalized instruction or video content or classes or a combination of the three.

Wow. That’s very high touch. I love that. That’s just incredible. There’s so many different ways, guys, that you can step into either introducing yourself to a wellness practice, leveling one up or adding to. So that’s the other question I wanted to ask you, Roberta: If a person already has a very active wellness practice that incorporates different modes what advice would you give to them to best incorporate your classes into that mix? What are your thoughts around that?

I would say let’s have a conversation. Let’s see what you’re doing. Let’s find out what’s working for you. Sometimes we have wellness practices that we’re just going through the motions, but we’re not getting the benefit out of them. And we’re doing them because our neighbour was doing them or a friend or a family member or the people at work. So does it fit you? Is there anything that feels like it’s missing and then what’s wanted and needed from this point forward? And I’ll help you fill in the gaps.

I love that. You can’t lose with that. Is there anything that I haven’t shared, Roberta, that you feel people need to know about regarding today’s show topic, which again is using a Pilates, meditation and yoga philosophy to burst the pressure bubble in life and work? Your thoughts?

I would say it can feel like more pressure to add something new. Don’t be afraid to take one step forward and don’t feel like you have to add a lot of things all at once. Lean on me. Let me help you. I’m here to support your journey and your needs, and I can fill in those spots for you and help you find the best fit for your life.

Amen to that. I love it. Roberta, as we get ready to close off, can you leave us with some words of wisdom for those out there who don’t really see the importance of a wellness practice to balance all aspects of life’s demands? Especially for women who are juggling, as I mentioned a little earlier, a ton of home and work related expectations. Give us something there.

We cannot afford the cost of not taking care of ourselves as adults. Nobody else can take care of you but you. And once you start to do that, you will have emotional fitness and health. Your relationships will be healthier. Your ability to communicate will be healthier. Your state of being and your mental health will all feel better and more at ease. Your body will deteriorate over time if you don’t have healthy things in your life to support the longevity of your life.

“We cannot afford the cost of not taking care of ourselves as adults. Nobody else can take care of you but you. And once you start to do that, you will have emotional fitness and health.” ~Roberta Hughes

I’m getting goosebumps. That’s such a powerful statement. Again, one more time, what’s your URL? I just want to close off with that.

Peacefulliving.com and just think full of peace. Isn’t that what we all are looking for? And even if it’s just for a blink of a moment, a couple of times a day, it can transform your whole way of being.

Absolutely. And I’m a testament to that. I’m one of those people that works all the time and actually loves to work. So I don’t even know that I’m not taking care of my wellness practice. And this is why these curated opportunities that Roberta is offering is really important to step into guys.

I know from my own personal experience, full transparency, I’ve been forced to have to do that because certain things have shown up in my life. So if that’s you, maybe a first step for you would be to go and check out what Roberta does. Maybe have a conversation with her and see what shows up for you, or what seems to instinctually make sense for you to step into as maybe your first foray into wellness.

Perhaps it’s leveling it up. Maybe it’s changing it around. Maybe it’s adding to it. Roberta, how can people hang out with you on social? Where do we send them?

Raj, before I go to my social really fast, I just want to say. Anyone can book a discovery call with me that’s completely free. Your first class on PeaceFull Living is always free. And I would love to offer your listeners 30% off.

Oh, my gosh.

They can use code Transform30. And that will be the code on Instagram. I’m @Roberta_PeacefullLiving. I do a wellness Wednesday segment every Wednesday, and that’s a great way to just get a little morsel of information. And I’m on LinkedIn at Roberta Hughes and then I’m also on Facebook @RobertaPeacefullLiving.

I love it. And you guys that code is going to be down in the captions wherever it is that you are picking this up. Just make sure that you go and check it out. You’ve got nothing to lose. And if you’re not sure, just go and hop on over and book that discovery call. It’s free, guys. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Thank you so much for coming on to share the importance of cultivating a personal wellness practice no matter who you are and what stage of life you’re in. And after breaking down the methodology that you’ve created that you’ve stepped into and you realize that really works for people. I really encourage everyone to go over to the website and check it out.

Thank you so much, Roberta. You are just such a gem. I’ve loved hearing your insights. It’s definitely, on a personal level, been very valuable for me and I know that it’s going to be valuable for everyone that’s watching, listening and reading this. Thank you so much for coming on.

Thank you so much for having me. It has been a joy and a pleasure.

Okay, guys. Well, you know, I always say this off the back of every conversation that I have with fabulous people like Roberta. I really hope that you got some great value from today’s show and will share it with everyone you know who you feel needs to get today’s insights, which in my opinion, is absolutely everybody.

I also hope that you will subscribe to my YouTube channel at the Open Chest Confidence Academy. I just want to make sure that you don’t miss any episodes. We drop them every Wednesday. If you’re someone that just prefers to listen, just hop on over to your podcast platforms and download and subscribe to ‘The Transform Your Confidence Show’ for free. And if, like me, you prefer to read and you want to be able to bookmark and just download and make notes on any of the episodes that really speak to you, just hop on over to my blog at the website theopenchestconfidenceacademy.com/media/podcast.

And as I always say, guys, this is your life. It’s up to you how you curate it. Either you will create it and control that and empower yourself or someone else will do it for you. I really hope that it will be you. I’ll see you next week.

To contact Roberta Hughes: Web, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram

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