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Cindy Rogers of ‘Yoga Pose’ on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

Health and wellness is the only thing that makes women feel exceptional about themselves. Without it, we die inside and out, we get sick, we get lethargic. Our kids grow up and we think our lives are over, it’s not. That’s when life really starts. Once again, we have to reinvent ourselves and self care […]

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Health and wellness is the only thing that makes women feel exceptional about themselves. Without it, we die inside and out, we get sick, we get lethargic. Our kids grow up and we think our lives are over, it’s not. That’s when life really starts. Once again, we have to reinvent ourselves and self care is key.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cindy Rogers.

Cindy Rogers is the co-founder of Yoga Pose, a free digital resource that teaches yoga as a holistic approach to healing. Cindy partnered with her son, Cobb Rogers, on this project to make yoga accessible to all after battling with mental health and addiction. Now, they publish daily content and yoga pose tutorials that are searchable by symptom. Today, Cindy shares her tools for aging and dealing with mental health and physical ailments.

Listen to music from your decade, the decade that made you happy — listen while you walk — phoebe snow and I’m dancing- today was good

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

I grew up in New Jersey, but am originally from New York City. I have lived with mental health issues since the age of 12. I grew up in the early 70s and, for me, it was a decade of numbness. Drugs were very prevalent, and I was raised by my older siblings. My siblings brought me up. Much of my younger life was defined by quaaludes, cocaine and marijuana — that’s just how we lived. As a young kid, I definitely had a learning disorder, but back then they didn’t treat kids like me. I was left untreated and had very little structure in my life, I was never forced to go to school, so instead, I became a child of the revolution. As a result, I self medicated because I had so much fear of people knowing who I was. I was different.

I looked for anything that was fun and comfortable. I finished high school with a GED that my dad bought for me, but I never had any formal education. When everyone else went to college, I went to hairdressing school. This is where I found “my people.” They were creative and different. And I felt comfortable and safe. There was a huge gay community that welcomed me and led me to the nightlife in New York City. This is where I landed at Studio 54, a hideaway for people who had a different expression of life. We were called “Club Kids,” and we went every night. We danced, we did drugs freely, and there were all kinds of people there, it was like a secret society. I was 18 years old when I started working at the club and it was heaven for me. I cut hair during the day and worked at the club during the night — this was my life for 33 months. Until AIDS popped up. We didn’t know what was happening. People, our friends, started to look scary and sick. Beautiful people were dying of this unknown disease. So what else was there for me to do? I went to rehab in New York City, but it was not like it is today, it was secretive back then, you didn’t tell anyone you were there. I got out sober. And a reinvention began.

I lived in New York City, I joined a gym. I got relief from getting my body and mind stronger. I started eating right and not going out at night. I got in really good shape that made me feel more powerful than ever, and at the age of 25, I decided to move to the mecca of bodybuilding, Golds Gym Venice. I got an apartment, and this was a new chance for me. Nobody knew about my past, I could start all over again. I became a trainer to wealthy celebrities, lawyers and athletes. No credentials were needed back then, just the right personality. I felt like I was going to survive, and I made enough money to stay in the beautiful beach town — I was not battling my addictions anymore. I met my husband at the gym, and I had a family, two wonderful kids.

For five years, I struggled to fall pregnant. So I know the pain of not being able to have kids. I had Invitro five times. It led to a lot of disappointment, finally I fell pregnant with a frozen embryo, it was a miracle 30 years ago.

So there I am: family, husband, career — everything’s finally okay. But, when my kids got older, that creepy addiction slipped back through again, with vengeance. I talked my husband into trying things he’d never tried before. Of course he liked it; it was MDMA, a miracle drug. Until of course, you overuse it.

I felt guilty and shameful for using around the kids, sometimes even with them. It was not good parenting. It was all fun, until it wasn’t. I started to see myself for who I was and I never thought I could get sober.

Around this time, I had a life-threatening horse injury. I fell off a horse at our family farm in Georgia, breaking my back. My life became just a rollercoaster of painkillers and medication.

The overwhelming feeling of letting my kids, my husband and my parents took over, and suicide became a part of my story. I took two bottles of pills, thinking nobody needed me. I was definitely going to die, but my husband had a gut feeling and came home early, he saved me. Ambulance, fire trucks, police, my kids saw it all.

I woke up from this traumatic experience and something happened. The impulse to take drugs has lifted. I wanted my life back at the age of 56 years old.

The pain from my horse riding injury was too much, and I couldn’t live with it. I eventually lost the ability to walk and was rushed to Cedar Sinai Hospital where I underwent grueling surgeries. On Monday, I had neck surgery, and on Wednesday, I had back surgery. Then I was placed in an induced coma for 23 days. I don’t remember much from this experience, other than a blur of white walls and fire.

When I got out of the hospital, survival instinct kicked in. I wanted to walk again. This is when I found my new life. I started going to physical therapy every day, which led me to yoga. It was the only thing that made me feel better. I started meditating, doing yoga, eating right, and I was around other like minded people.

After almost six years of doing this every day, I felt in control, I felt strong. I realized that I could help other people with their problems of addiction and mental health. It became so clear what my calling was, and I needed to do this to become a better woman, a better mother and a better person.

I feel strong today, and I now have a big tool box that I use every day to grow and recover. Women like me need schedules. We need to make time for ourselves and self care. I just went on a six month retreat on my own to really reflect and better understand my mission, and I finally now understand. It is my goal to use my story and my method to help women age with grace. I want to help women that have my same problems regain their lives.

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?

The best story I can share is when six sober women, my sponsees, came to my farm in Georgia as part of a retreat. We meditated, we did yoga, we shared stories, we hiked, we ate, we sang, and we danced. My message to you is that you can find happiness as you age. For me, it’s as simple as playing music from my own decade, and dancing and singing along, that’s how I tune into my happiness.

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?

I didn’t suffer with all of the “what ifs” that other women my age battle through. I learned to go with my gut, try different things, not to get stuck thinking I was old and life was over. I constantly reinvented myself.

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?

My husband gave me my life back. My kids forgave me. And I feel loved.

My professional career started again when my son came to me with a project, Yoga Pose. He approached me one day, and said, “Mom, there’s a website for sale called ‘yogapose.com.’ Let’s share your story and help other people like you.”

Ok perfect. Now 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?

Health and wellness is the only thing that makes women feel exceptional about themselves. Without it, we die inside and out, we get sick, we get lethargic. Our kids grow up and we think our lives are over, it’s not. That’s when life really starts. Once again, we have to reinvent ourselves and self care is key.

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.

These are the things that I do on a daily basis, I like to think that they are part of my self-care toolbox.

  1. I wake up in the morning and meditate
  2. I spend time outside, usually on a 5 mile walk. It’s a lot like meditation for me and if I don’t do it, I don’t feel well
  3. I eat really clean food
  4. I stretch and go practice yoga. I do the poses that are best for me, that help with my back, alignment, focus
  5. I love my family — because love is all you’ve got at the end. Love, kindness, compassion.

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

My movement is to help gather people at meetings where they can open up and tell their stories and be honest with each other. The only way I think that you can get better is to tell the truth and unload your stories. This is a movement of today. We are all experiencing trauma from COVID, we need people to talk to, we need to help each other through this time, this is one of the hardest trials for women, you must fill your time, you need to get on your schedule of my five things. You need to have your five wellness activities. Don’t just lock yourself in, don’t become a recluse, get out of your head, and go on a walk.

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

I wish someone gave me direction when I was young to get an education. Nobody gave me direction, I was just on my own, so my one thing is that I wish I’d gone to school, I wish I had an education — I have a street education but I do not have an academic one.

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

Mental health. But I care about all of these, but mental health is my top concern, because without mental health, people can’t survive.

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

Follow along with YogaPose.com. We give a lot of personal insights and support mechanisms to help our followers grow and heal. Sign up for our newsletter on the site, or follow along on social media on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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