Don’t look at your phone the first thing in the morning: Before you wake up create a vision of how you would like your day to look. What are you going to do? How will you eat? What can you explore? How can you make a difference at work or at home? Spend the morning hours reading motivational books, getting your exercise in, thinking what you want for the day before you pick up the phone. You phone will be there in the 45–1 hour that you leave it alone, and so will all your texts and emails.
For my series on strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Conni Ponturo author of “Falling into Joy” eight simple steps to allow the body to become your best friend. Owner of the highly regarded Absolute Pilates Upstairs based in Woodland Hills, California she works with clients in chronic pain and through movement, a change of mindset, and mediation allows them to change the story of their life. Moving out of pain into joy.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what led you to this specific career path?
After I had my second child, I felt like there was something else I needed to do with my life, my husband recommended that I try Pilates and I fell in love with it. It really was a combination of my dance training and my love of teaching combined. For me it made me feel like I had found my missing link.
What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?
For me it has been first realizing my purpose and that is to help people rediscover the joy that makes them unique and living a life without pain. One can achieve that mission of living on purpose by discovering “What is your purpose?” People get hung up on that question, but it is simply “what do you love to do?” “Why do you think you were put here on this planet? Answering those questions can lead you to your purpose.
Do you have an example of how pain helped guide you to finding you life’s purpose?
I was a dancer from the age of 4 to 21. I was in college at New York University School of the Arts and developed searing pain in my feet. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and told to stop dancing. I was devastated and dropped out of college. I was truly lost for a long while, but when I found Pilates, I found my love of dance and my love of teaching together in one place.
The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?
In the United States we seem to be concerned with the trappings of the outside world. That will always keep you looking for more and feeling dissatisfied. In truth we need to look on the inside for our happiness, not what is going on out there. The question should be how do I feel, what do I want and how can I make a difference?
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I make sure what I post on Instagram, Facebook, emails, and blogs to be the most inspirational I can. To have all of us lifted to our highest potential. It inspires others to think about how they can inspire because we all can inspire. Those are the people I want to surround myself with.
What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
1. Focused breathing: Breathing is something we take for granted because it is an involuntary action. When we practice focused breathing, we get to slow down the entire body and the overthinking mind and become more present. You can do this anywhere sitting or lying down, eyes open or closed. Inhale in for 2 counts, hold the breath for 2 counts and then slowly as if blowing out through a straw exhale for 2 counts. Try this for 6 rounds. Do this first thing in the morning, before getting out of your car, before you are ready to explode at your partner or the kids, before bed. When you are done, and you will feel present.
2. Don’t look at your phone the first thing in the morning: Before you wake up create a vision of how you would like your day to look. What are you going to do? How will you eat? What can you explore? How can you make a difference at work or at home? Spend the morning hours reading motivational books, getting your exercise in, thinking what you want for the day before you pick up the phone. You phone will be there in the 45–1 hour that you leave it alone, and so will all your texts and emails.
3. Joy Journal: This is where you write down all the wonderful joys of the day. The first sip of coffee, the light as it is breaking in the morning, you family, your friends, how you can make a difference in the world, write it all down. The more joy that you notice around you the more gratitude you will feel and that will translate to feeling better about your life.
4. Exercise: We take our health for granted but exercise is the number one way of reducing stress and depression. Studies have shown that walking, running, Pilates, yoga, spin classes, HITT, weight training cannot only alter your body but can make amazing shifts in the brain. I always tell my clients “When you feel better, you deal better.”
5. Become a tourist in your own city: I love this one because there is so much that we take for granted in our own cities, and so much we have not seen because we don’t want to look like a tourist. But why not open the paper and make a list of the places, shows, concerts, museums, parks, hikes that you have never been. Grab a friend and explore and have fun. That seems to be the one thing we forget as adults, the ability to have some fun, explore, and have silly adventures.
6. Joy Playlist: This is where you will make a playlist on your phone of the music that makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs. Music that takes you out of whatever funk you are in to a place that allows you to turn up the volume on your life. It can be a quick fix for a bad day. Put on your joy playlist and before you know it you will have turned that frown upside down.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?
Some of my favorite podcasts are Seth Godin, Mel Robbins, Robin Sharma and Gary Vaynerchuck. My favorite books are “Crushing it” by Gary Vaynerchuck, “Millionaire Underdog” by JT Foxx, Marianne Williamson’s “ Return to love”, and “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The Favorite quote of mine is “Joy is the juice of life freshly squeezed, how will you drink it in?” I live my life by this quote. I can’t wait to wake up every morning to see what exciting adventures I am on, either with myself, my clients or with my family.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am working on an amazing book called “Rise Amazing Woman Rise”. It is about the power of the feminine heart, a project with 7 other women, all leaders in our communities. My chapter will focus on Presence. I love that word and my definition of it is; being aware and excited to be fully in the moment. Standing perfectly still, aware and content to be right where you are. Not looking ahead or behind but standing still, that’s when presence shows itself. Presence is your ability to stand bright and full in each moment.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂
It would be “The Joy Movement”. That living and feeling with abundant joy is something for everyone to aspire too. It will carry you through the darkest of times and into the light. I would start a movement around that right now. We need it now more than ever.
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