“5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, with Val Minos and Dr. William Seeds

I believe convenience, time and lack of discipline are three blockages that can be hard to work with. Changing habits takes a discipline and if a person is not committed it’s easy to deviate from a healthier routine. Being busy, which is part of our culture, can make eating healthier and spending time getting exercise […]

I believe convenience, time and lack of discipline are three blockages that can be hard to work with. Changing habits takes a discipline and if a person is not committed it’s easy to deviate from a healthier routine. Being busy, which is part of our culture, can make eating healthier and spending time getting exercise a little harder because it might be more convenient to just grab food out, rather than taking lunch or forgoing exercise to work longer or sleep longer.

As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Val Minos. Val has been practicing yoga for 18 years and teaching for over five years. When she teaches she tries to create an experience for students that will leave them feeling strong, powerful and flexibility both physically and mentally. She currently teaches private and group yoga classes and is a holistic wellness coach both online and in-person, while also spending time writing on her blog where she speaks to yoga, holistic nutrition and wellness.

Thank you so much for doing this with us, Val! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

Istarted swimming and dancing when I was 8. When I was 10, I started running and have been a distance runner ever since. Spending much of my life as an athlete, yoga seemed like the next step which has allowed me to slow down, listen and enhance inner and outer strength and flexibility.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

When I was a public educator, I would teach yoga to my kindergarten students. It turned out one of my students dad’s, who was single, was interested in yoga because his 5 year old would tell him about the poses she did in school. We ended up bonding over our similar interests in yoga and wellness. Eight years later, he’s my husband and we practice yoga together while our four year old jumps all over us!

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

When I started teaching yoga and fitness classes I was really bad at keeping my left and rights straight. I would say left when I was stepping my right foot forward and have to correct myself. It’s gotten better but now I have decided to laugh and make little jokes about any mistakes or mixups. It helps my students to see that I’m human and that I don’t take myself too seriously.

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

After spending almost two decades working in health and fitness as a school classroom and physical education teacher, yoga instructor and holistic wellness coach on top of living with an autoimmune disease, I have found that family, friends and fitness class students have asked for help. Living with Celiac Disease means I have to be careful with my dietary choices and I have days where I need to tone exercise down. I’m able to support clients in picking up the intensity to get results while allowing for self-care and down time.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I taught yoga, mostly for free my first year after teacher training mainly because I lived in a small town that only had two yoga studios and too many yoga teachers to count. I took a year off from my full-time job to have a child and focus on making private yoga my new career. Being super pregnant and later having a newborn, proved to be very difficult in starting a brand new business all on my own. I ended up getting a very flexible yoga teaching position at a local recreation center. It turned into the best opportunity. I build many relationships that ended up allowing me to continue to grow my yoga business by teaching private groups and at a local private golf club community. I owe the coordinators at the recreation center a lot for taking a chance on a pregnant lady with a dream!

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

I believe convenience, time and lack of discipline are three blockages that can be hard to work with. Changing habits takes a discipline and if a person is not committed it’s easy to deviate from a healthier routine. Being busy, which is part of our culture, can make eating healthier and spending time getting exercise a little harder because it might be more convenient to just grab food out, rather than taking lunch or forgoing exercise to work longer or sleep longer.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

  1. Setting aside time to practice being grateful, either through journaling, meditating or just stating it at a meal time with family, is a great way to start to shift the mind. Acknowledging things that are going well in life can really help keep a positive outlook on the day.
  2. Spending a few moments focusing on breathing in and out fully using the lungs and belly can help bring more mindfulness to daily activities or during stressful moments. When life gets stressful or overwhelming, breathing usually changes to a more shallow breath. Taking a moment to notice can make a huge difference.
  3. Journaling can improve mood and mental health in that writing out your feelings can have an effect on how you handle difficult situations. When my Grandmother died I had a really hard time with it because she and I were very close and it was after a recover from a life treating illness. So it shocked the whole family. I was never really much for writing feelings down but I found that doing this helped me process unresolved emotions and feelings. Keeping things bottled up is not great for the body.
  4. Drinking a 4–8 ounces of water first thing in the morning can improve body function. After a whole night of sleep the body needs some replenishment, much like eating breakfast in the morning to bring the body and mind into optimal functioning.
  5. Using coconut oil or avocado oil for cooking. Many people use vegetable oil or margarine to cook with so using a healthier oil that has a higher smoking point can reduce the amount of carcinogens in foods. Don’t believe the negative “hype” about coconut oil, it’s still a healthy cooking fat but for higher temps or oven cooking use avocado oil as it’s smoking point is the highest.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

Numerous studies have been done showing that exercise helps fight many life threatening illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Exercise can also help improve cognitive function for a time after exercise. It also boosts mood!

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

Strength training, aerobic exercise and stretching is very important for aging. Specific exercises would depend on the person and her/his current activity level. Walking or biking might be a great way to start with aerobic exercise. Starting with simple body weight exercises like push-ups, planks and air squats would be a great place to start for strength training. Yoga or pilates are good places to start for working on flexibility.

In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?

Making sure to stay hydrated and add protein right after or very soon after playing sports or working out can help keep the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) from kicking in at high gear. Adding some active recovery or massaging of sore spots can also help bring some relief as well. The most important thing to remember is to continue with physical activity!

There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?

Food as medicine and having Celiac Disease means I can’t eat gluten but I also have other sensitivities so I’ve found sticking to a grain free diet is the most helpful for me to maintain optimal health. Diets are hard to stick too and many people end up restricting food too much so I tell clients to make little sustainable changes that can be lifelong not just short term.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

“Born to Run” has been one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years. I enjoy books that have real stories that inspire me to be better. Running has been a big part of my life and reading that book gave me the confidence to train for and run a full marathon, which is something I never thought I would do.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Using yoga and wellness practices to bring more awareness to the crisis our Earth is in. Being someone who is into health and fitness, taking care of myself goes hand in hand with taking care of the Earth. Consuming less, re-using and actively staying away from plastics and toxins as much as possible. If we put toxins into our body, we are basically undoing all the good from focusing on health and wellness.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Being like a tree, let the dead leaves drop”. -Rumi

I’ve always had a hard time letting things go. Keeping this in mind has allowed me to move forward, face things that seem scary or difficult and pursue my dreams.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Honestly, there is not one specific person I admire. There are traits I see in successful people that I aspire to like honesty, drive, willingness to help others and who don’t apologize for their beliefs. People who stay true to themselves no matter how successful they are.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

I’m on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook.

Instagram: @altyogavibe



Facebook: @altyogavibe

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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