This article, where Dr. Brooke Stuart was interviewed by Cathie K, was featured in the Spring 2021 Issue of It’s Just Yoga Magazine. Here, they discuss moving through challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. For the official copy, click here and you will find the interview on p. 10 & 11 (p.8 & 9 in the printed version). IJY (It’s Just Yoga) Connects is a membership club based in Orlando, Florida and their mission is to bring together the mindful, health-conscious community in Central Florida together to share, discuss and enjoy yoga and other holistic lifestyle options.

Dr. Brooke Stuart

Working through this time has to do with people making a choice: Am I going to grow through this, or am I going to be a victim of it? There are very real experiences that make up that victim mentality- but at the end of the day, we have to be open to see the light within it and within ourselves… not just the light at the end of the tunnel.

When people shift into a growth mentality or are experiencing a chaotic time, fitness, among other fundamentals, can become a way to ground and anchor, making their own experience more clear. Whether they lost their job, knew someone who had Covid, or were feeling lonely, isolated, or afraid to live their everyday lives… this is where I find that wellness and tools, such as meditation, were so helpful to anchor this transformation and growth-oriented experience. It’s not just about their choice to change, but these empowered choices also fueled supporting themselves. What they basically ended up doing is investing in the choices that invested in and supported them. This is self-love in action. I am going to grow, and I am going to make the choices that affirm that.

Obviously, some people already had great routines, but within the pandemic, so many of them were broken… the pandemic broke their design. So, even their routines that they relied upon were stripped, like the rug was swept out from underneath them. So their prior everyday routines required a pivot, some flexibility and some resilience. Intuitively, during the pandemic, people who wanted to self-regulate and stabilize were drawn to wellness versus destabilizing activities. Fitness and wellness, being outside, organizing your home, taking time to meditate- these were all practical tools that they could choose and, on some level, at first it might have felt like a survival mechanism, until it turned into something that was deeply gratifying.

Writer’s Note: Dr. Stuart was not immune to experiencing the same feelings as her clients. When everything was “shut down” in mid-March, Dr. Stuart spend the next four days, working almost around the clock, to turn her practice from a mix of in-office clients and virtual clients- to 100% virtual clients. She quickly shifted gears to create a telehealth (virtual) practice to redirect her focus on supporting her clients through these difficult times. In addition, Dr. Stuart cut out various items from her diet and started cross fit last August at CrossFit Orlando. By joining this gym, she was able to continue to be involved in the community by being outdoors and staying active. In addition to cross fit, Dr. Stuart also practices yoga and meditation.