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I’m sure, by now, many of us have heard that rather infamous quote that’s been circulating around. Although the author of the quote is not mentioned, it has still wildly resonated within our hearts and sparked inspiration in many of us. It says, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” Why do those four short sentences carry such significance to us? I believe it’s because when it comes to knowing strong women, we don’t have to look far to find them.
Whether it’s the women who’ve raised us, the women before us, or the women around us—we can all find a woman that we admire who has also directly influenced the trajectories of our lives. So, in honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating strong women—throughout history and in the modern-day – who inspire and teach us.
We asked our employees to tell us about these women. Here’s what they said:
I take in a book a week, but a book that I have appreciated most recently is “Lead from the Outside” by Stacey Abrams. She has appeared for me as a new model leader that is part public servant, part executive, part philanthropist, part community organizer and part matriarch.
Most of us try hard to place people in buckets. And what is surprising and refreshing about this book, and her work in general, is that it’s impossible to put it in any existing bucket. By using all her leadership identities, she has been successful in driving toward outcomes that many thought to be impossible. This is inspiring for me because I am certain that my leadership path is divergent and that I often call on a broad range of energies to achieve results. I used to think I was an outlier, and maybe I am. But Stacey affirms that if I am an outlier, I’m not the only one.
I’m inspired by Naomi Osaka because of her amazing character and the way she uses her platform to stand up and speak out about what she believes in. She has taught me what it looks like to have physical, mental, and emotional strength both on and off the tennis court. - Diane Dah-Young Hahn
My biggest inspiration has always been Surya Bonaly. I was always fascinated by ice skating when I was a child, but seeing a beautiful, graceful, dark-skinned woman pioneering in the space always thrilled me. Her ability to perform elements that no one else could and make them look effortless, whether judges awarded her points for them or not, drove me to do my best, whether I was recognized for my effort or not. Just like Surya, my success is mine and no one can take it from me or dull the shine.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What Ruth has done to foster and ensure representation, resonated with me at an incredibly early age. I learnt from her that each of us have a role to play in the improvement of our communities and society at large. Her public service is akin to so many, however, her gender allowed her to open dialogue and change laws that will continue to cause positive ripples for decades ahead the world over. I would like to see a world where our children go about their day with equity for all, and without limiting beliefs, to finally be at one with our fellow humans regardless of gender and creed.
There are many women to admire throughout history, and who are making history today. The most directly influential to me was my grandmother. A member of the first nursing class graduating Boston College, an Army Lieutenant during World War 2, and mother of seven; I admire her confidence and tenacious spirit. From the importance of being close to family, to the difference between passing judgement and setting personal boundaries, or how to make chocolate cookies – she taught me almost everything I know about the person I hope to be.
My mom inspires me daily. She is very caring and so selfless. She raised 5 children on her own while my dad commuted to work in the Silicon Valley. She always chooses her children. She's taught me patience, to always try your hardest, and to pick yourself up and try again if things do not work out.
When I think of all the amazing women throughout history (and there so many!), one who comes to mind is Maya Angelou. Her civil rights activism, along with her overall tenacity for optimism and hope throughout her life continues to inspire me each day. My favorite quote “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” is framed on my office wall as a reminder to see past the surface of what we see, hear and do and look deeper to understand, listen and connect with others both personally and professionally.
It’s hard to choose just one. Jane Fonda and her environmental activism is inspiring. Not many celebrities are willing to go to jail for their activism. Laverne Cox has been so strong and vocal in her representation of Black trans women.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg is also a favorite. I never got to meet her but her strength, and determination to make our nation a more equal one has always been an inspiration.
I had an opportunity to see Maya Angelou speak during my first year of college, and she really changed my life. She made me see that there was a lot of injustice in the world that I wasn’t paying attention to, and she was the reason that I decided I wanted to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
Debora Burgard, PhD, FAED (otherwise known as Dr. Deb) inspires me endlessly with her decades of body activism and work as a psychologist + eating disorder specialist. I admire her tenacity and perseverance in fighting for representation of marginalized communities within the movement. Her lessons are infinite!
A woman who inspires me is Ava Duvernay. She is a powerhouse in the movie industry as the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe and the first African American woman to win the best director prize at the Sundance Film festival in 2012. As a community leader she uses her talents to tell the stories of the black experience and uplift the voices of black filmmakers. She is also completely unapologetic in her fight for inclusion and diversity for women in the director's seat by allowing up-and-coming female directors to direct episodes of one of my favorite TV shows Queen Sugar. Ava is a living example of how creating an environment for women to work together and be seen with the same equity, can spark a positive change.
I was trying to be thoughtful of who I admired (and not too cliche) and it came to me. Of course, it's my younger sister! Her name is Maki and although she isn't as well-known as Michelle Obama or Princess Diana, she's affected my life in ways I can't even name. She's the most thoughtful, resilient, purposeful, and intentional person I know. And whenever I've wavered on anything, all I need is her advice to know I'm headed in the right direction. She's 7 years younger than me but she teaches me so much about the kind of person I hope to be.
I’m inspired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. I was first so impressed with her when she brought her newborn with her to The UN General Assembly. I used to go with my principal there every year in my past life, and I was so moved by the example she showed for working women, and hoped she opened a lot of men’s eyes. Prime Minister Ardern is proof that in countries where there is a woman leader, the response to Covid has been more effective. She is a genuine leader that stresses solidarity and is a shining example for all leaders everywhere.
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.