“Here are three lifestyle tweaks will support your journey towards better wellbeing”, With Dr. William Seeds, Sophia L. Ramsijewan and April Klimkiewicz

Meditation is our third lifestyle tweak, and the beautiful thing about meditation is that you don’t need any special equipment to do it. Meditation is the practice of bringing your mind back to the breath or to another intentional focus point. It’s not being able to fully focus on something whenever you want, it’s the […]

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Meditation is our third lifestyle tweak, and the beautiful thing about meditation is that you don’t need any special equipment to do it. Meditation is the practice of bringing your mind back to the breath or to another intentional focus point. It’s not being able to fully focus on something whenever you want, it’s the act of acknowledging when your attending is being pulled away and intentionally releasing the competing thoughts as you bring your focus back. Meditation is more the practice than the state of being, and this is what makes it accessible and useful to everyone. Meditation allows us to go into a deeper state of soul work and healing from within and bring that into our present.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sophia L. Ramsijewan and April Klimkiewicz of Lotus Flower Corporate Wellness. Sophia is an Acupuncture Physician with a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and April is a Yoga Instructor with a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. They have combined their areas of expertise to create a comprehensive and holistic wellness organization serving corporations throughout South Florida.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

Our pleasure! We’re delighted to share our story with you.

We met many years ago when Sophia’s husband who previously worked with April at a local university suggested we meet. We were each starting our businesses at the time. April had just launched Bliss Evolution, which has two focuses: career counseling and yoga instruction, and Sophia was practicing acupuncture and Chinese Medicine and soon to launch SLR Acupuncture. We hit it off immediately because we are both passionate about guiding people in creating wellness in their lives. We realized we had to work together, but at that moment, we weren’t sure how. In 2017, Sophia proposed a joint yoga and acupuncture event, and that was the beginning of Lotus Flower Corporate Wellness. Now, we have a variety of events, lunch and learns, and programs to choose from to support corporations and employees with tailor-made solutions for holistic wellness that suit each organization.

Sophia got into acupuncture through her family. Her mother, whose background is in nursing, took an interest in Alternative Medicine when Sophia’s younger brother had medical complications as a baby. The doctors said that he would not be able to walk properly, and Sophia’s mother did not want to believe that so she found alternative methods to help the baby. Through her research she was introduced to Reflexology. She learned more about this therapy and was able to treat the baby over the course of eighteen months. At the age of three, Sophia’s younger brother had his annual follow up visit with his doctor. The three year old was running around the office as any other toddler, and the Doctor could not believe his eyes. He thought that he had the wrong chart in front of him! After seeing the impact and change Alternative Medicine had on her brother, Sophia knew that was the path for her to follow. Sophia is passionate about educating and raising awareness about the many benefits that Acupuncture provides. With her passion and drive, Sophia has helped many patients on their journey to achieve overall health, wellness, and peace of mind.

April started practicing yoga as exercise when she was in college. What she didn’t realize at the time was that the yoga instruction she was receiving would benefit her on a deeper level for years to come. She was able to handle stress better and meet a need for self-reflection and connection that she didn’t realize she would get from practicing yoga. She became certified and started teaching Hatha yoga, while simultaneously pursuing a career in career coaching and counseling. April has worked at universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Houston, Downtown (UH-D), and Nova Southeastern University (NSU), as well as in Human Resources for Starwood Hotels and Resorts before starting her own business, Bliss Evolution, in 2015 and joining with Sophie to create Lotus Flower Corporate Wellness.

Cross-cultural research has shown that work-life balance is correlated with greater job satisfaction, greater life satisfaction, and diminished mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. When organizations offer work-life balance solutions for employees, such as our physical plus energetic plus mental wellness events, programs, lunch and learns and so on, we anticipate greater employee retention because employees will find they are receiving positive benefits and will be happier inside and outside of work. With employees who are aware of coping mechanisms for difficult moments, as well as tools to help them start each call or interaction with a fresh perspective, we anticipate better employee mental health, commitment, and happier members of our local community. We are passionate about teaching people about the intersection of mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellness and strive to help people learn how to incorporate wellness into their busy lives every day.

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

Our favorite lifestyle tweaks are all things that have a big impact. Yoga movement is the first one, and this can be as simple as practicing yoga at home, as part of a yoga class. Yoga is about where you are with your body’s flexibility, strength, balance, and relaxation at any moment, and the reason we find this lifestyle tweak so important is that it’s accessible to anyone, now matter where they are on any given day. Yoga stretches the external body & releases tension patterns stored in the body, so if it’s just a few simple stretches and deep breaths, or an entire yoga class, we recommend yoga as a lifestyle tweak.

The second lifestyle tweak we recommend is acupuncture. Acupuncture works on the internal level releasing energy patterns that are no longer serving you. Acupuncture gives us access to the energy pathways in the body, so we can unblock them and allow the energy to flow more freely. This often results in a release of tension we carry in our bodies, as well, so it is an important lifestyle tweak we believe will support people in their paths to healing.

Meditation is our third lifestyle tweak, and the beautiful thing about meditation is that you don’t need any special equipment to do it. Meditation is the practice of bringing your mind back to the breath or to another intentional focus point. It’s not being able to fully focus on something whenever you want, it’s the act of acknowledging when your attending is being pulled away and intentionally releasing the competing thoughts as you bring your focus back. Meditation is more the practice than the state of being, and this is what makes it accessible and useful to everyone. Meditation allows us to go into a deeper state of soul work and healing from within and bring that into our present.

All these three tweaks together combine to target the three layers of mental, physical, and energetic work.

This is why so many ancient arts of healing have physical, mental and energy work elements grouped together. Chinese medicine has Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Kung Fu and manipulating the Chi energy with physical and breathing elements. Indian tradition pairs yoga movement with pranayama breath and energy work. The combination of physical, mental, and energetic work is something the west is now beginning to research and understand better, and our goal is to bring those benefits to those we work with.

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

One of the most interesting things that happened for us was after one of our yoga and acupuncture events. Someone at the event stayed after to talk to us and let us know about the benefits they received from joining in the program. We were just listening and chatting and sharing some tea and snacks when the person said they wanted to share something important with us. They let us know about a trauma they had experienced as a young person and how engaging with yoga and acupuncture during our session had unlocked something for them in their healing journey.

This person was someone who had done deep work on this trauma in the past, and was open with close family members and friends about the incident, but was able to share that the session reminded them of the moment of forgiveness they had during the incident and that this moment was the single moment in their life that allowed them to go from being a victim to someone in control of their life’s trajectory. We were so happy to know that we had created a safe space and a space of healing for this person to share and release another layer of trauma.

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?

It took us a long time to go from our yoga and acupuncture retreat spa day to realizing there was a Corporate need in our local community, and we wish we had realized sooner. Lotus Flower Corporate Wellness came out of a community need.

Like we mentioned earlier, we realized we needed to work together, but we weren’t sure how, so we started those yoga and acupuncture events that we’ve been hosting once a month. From these events, we had the great opportunity to serve someone who worked in Human Resources in a local organization who shared that she wanted to bring the benefits from our program into her company. We had been so used to serving individuals that we might never have thought of the opportunity to reach more people through serving local businesses and organizations. It was really synchronous that we met that HR representative and were able to take her suggestion and run with it, creating programs not only to serve her organization, but others also.

If we had realized sooner that we could serve the need in our community, we could have gotten started years ago, so I guess the biggest lesson is to remain open to what comes your way, and be willing to change and move with the direction life wants to take you.

When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

One of the things that we offer through Lotus Flower Corporate Wellness is Lunch and Learns where we focus on specific health and wellness topics. Work-Life Balance, Acupressure-Stretch-Refresh, and Mindfulness are just a few of the topics we cover to bring people into awareness about the connection between the mind and body when it comes to mental health and wellness. With April’s background in Mental Health Counseling and Yoga, and Sophia’s energetic background in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, we are able to take a comprehensive, holistic approach to wellness and serve our clients on a deeper level across multiple wellness areas.

By teaching just one person physical tools as well as mental coping mechanisms and unblocking energy pathways to diminish stress, it becomes a ripple effect throughout the community.

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?

It’s definitely each other! We are delighted that we met each other and have been able to co-construct some really wonderful events, programs, and now, this corporate wellness business together. We admire the deep knowledge of each other and highly value what the other person brings to the table. Neither one of us could have done it alone because the other person brings a depth of knowledge in a completely different arena, but we both have the same overall goal: to give people the tools they need to implement wellness in their lives.

By working together, we have access to more tools. We each have been able to grow by bouncing ideas off each other and brainstorming together. We have grown so much since we met in 2015, and we are so excited to see where Lotus Flower Corporate Wellness takes us in the future!

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

Our Movement would be to teach individuals the tools of stretch, yoga, mindfulness, and acupressure so they can start healing at home, on their own and have agency over their own health and wellness.

The beauty of holistic wellness is that each person’s needs are different and the variety of tools available puts the power of healing back into the individual’s hands. We each get to be our own advocates for our health. Allowing this be the first line of defense when it comes to any ailments or disorders that are showing up for people means that healing can start right away.

For example, if you know you need to get to acupuncture, but the session you have scheduled is next week, in the meantime, the thought of suffering and falling into a spiral of “I can’t get better until I get to see my acupuncturist” changes to “there are lots of things I can do to assist in my healing so that I can get the most benefit from seeing my acupuncturist.” You realize you have tools at your fingertips to calm yourself down mentally, and begin your physical and emotional healing.

If you can do nothing but take big deep breaths, you’re still aiding in your healing so you get the most benefit out of acupuncture or yoga class when you do go. It is a very powerful place to be in to know that you have access to tools of healing that you can utilize at any moment.

Once people take agency in their healing and wellness, we can teach them what would be the most impactful methods to deepen their healing through stretch, yoga, and mindfulness. We would teach them how to take their stretch further, and about the acupuncture points so we can tailor treatment specifically to their needs.

What are your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

This is a great question. When starting off, your mind goes in so many directions with all the possibilities available. There are so many things to think about, and there isn’t an entire staff to help you get things done. Narrowing down what you want to do and making the decision to just do it is our first piece of advice. Making the first move can be the hardest move, but you’ll never know if you don’t try, so give yourself a chance to succeed, and just do it!

Our second piece of advice has to do with fear. When starting out, self-chatter can get in the way and deter you from actually making any moves forward, and this comes back to the fear of not knowing where you’ll be in the future based on the decisions you make now. By staying within the limitations of fear, you are doing a disservice not only to yourself, but also to the world because you are denying others of your talents. Stepping out of your fear can be the hardest thing to do. Take the power away from fear by reframing the situation in your head. Instead of thinking you might fail, remember you’re being of service to others who might be worse off for not having access to your unique talents. This takes your ego out of the equation, and that’s when the real work gets done. Just beyond the point of fear is when you get to impact the world!

Thirdly, we are amazed (and excited!) to see that health and wellness are being interwoven as a fine tapestry with everyone’s daily lives. People have more awareness about things that benefit them and help them grow, as well as the negative impacts of stress and untreated mental illness. Years ago, we never could have guessed that the things we were interested in mastering would be perceived as so useful by the world around us. It is an amazing time we are living in!

Do you have a “girl-crush” in this industry? If you could take one person to brunch, who would it be? (Let another “woman in wellness” know that you respect her as a teacher and guide! )

Our all-time, long-term role model is Oprah. Who doesn’t love Oprah! She’s so wonderful at communicating and allowing people to share their authentic selves with the world. We love how she focuses on seeing what we all have in common as well as the differences that allow us to make unique contributions to the world. She has the great ability to bridge that gap and bring communities together as they see themselves in the topics she discusses.

We admire that Oprah’s goal is to reach people who want to learn more about spirituality, about health and wellness, about personal development and psychology, and provide a platform to educate people interested in bettering themselves.

We also sign up for the free Oprah-Chopra meditations that are offered for people looking for a deeper connection with themselves, others, and our world. We really admire Oprah and the work she does to allow people to see the beautiful gifts inside of them and discover a way to share them with the world.

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

We hold mental health and the importance of the awareness around mental health near and dear. We strive to help each individual, by meeting them where they are at on their journey to health and wellness. We consider the tools and techniques we teach them to be a guiding light through their challenges. Being trained at the master’s level as a counselor, April has access to tools and techniques to assist people on a deeper level, as well. We’re both passionate about the holistic approach to mental health and wellness, and this is one big reason we started Lotus Flower Corporate Wellness!

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

As of right now our main mode of contact is through email, and we keep all our updated information on getting in touch, our upcoming yoga and acupuncture events, and our offerings on our website: lotusflowercorporatewellness.com.

We’re taking a grassroots approach to contracting with local organizations, and it’s important to us that each organization that works with us feels supported and is able to customize a program that suits their culture, their employees, and their needs. Because there are only two of us at the moment, we’re spending our time in face-to-face meetings with local organizations. By building a program that suits their specific needs we are able to allow our reach to grow organically.

Bliss Evolution and SLR Acupuncture both have instagram accounts that can be followed @blissevolution and @acuwithsophia.

We update those accounts with Lotus Flower Corporate Events that are open to the public.

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

Our pleasure. We really appreciate the work you’re doing to highlight the stories of Women in Wellness, and we are honored to be featured. Thank you!

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