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Why a Valentine's Day Breakup Was the Best Thing That Happened to Me

In 2014, I got out of an eight-year relationship after catching my boyfriend with a stranger while on a couples cruise for Valentine's Day. I wasn't sure how I was going to come back from that until I met someone who I really clicked with later that year. Unfortunately, even though I really wanted a relationship, he didn't. After being on and off for months, he decided to end things with me—once again on Valentine's Day. (Seriously guys, I can't make this stuff up.)

 

OBSESSED WITH MY NEW @REEBOK GEAR  #TheseLeggingsAreLyfe  Lux bold Leggings FTW 

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At that point, I was just so sick of everything. I had just gone through a break-up again. As a result, I wasn't focusing on my job and was on the brink of getting fired, and I was simply in terrible shape both inside and out.

I figured I needed to do something different. I was doing everything for everyone else and neglecting myself in the process. So I decided I'd start doing some hot yoga to, you know, relax. After a quick Google search, I decided to go with Lyons Den Power Yoga mostly because I thought their logo was nice.

As I stepped into the class, the lights were dim, and I thought "Ah, this is perfect—just what I want," and in walks Bethany Lyons, our instructor. She flicked up every light and said: "Nobody is sleeping tonight." I had no idea what I'd signed up for.

By the end of the class, I was drenched in sweat after completing one of the hardest workouts of my life, but I was totally ready for more. That's why that night I signed up for their 40 Days to Personal Revolution Program, which involves six days of yoga a week along with meditation and self-inquiry work.

 

 #GunShow

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Shortly after starting the program, I quickly realized that on top of just working out consistently for 40 days, it forced me to carve out time for myself, which I desperately needed. I learned to build my own yoga and meditation practice, which started at 15 minutes and grew to a solid hour. Because I was doing absolutely nothing for myself before that, incorporating all of that into my life was a challenge but something I learned to appreciate deeply. (Related: How to Make Time for Self-Care When You Have None)

At the end of those 40 days, I had hoped that I'd wake up magically transformed into a strong supermodel and all my problems would poof! be gone. But while my body definitely changed, the biggest breakthrough was how empowered I felt to take on my life—how I learned to find comfort in the uncomfortable and actually enjoy the present moment versus struggle through my day. (Related: The Best Yoga for Weight Loss, Strength, and More)

After finishing 40 Days, I continued practicing yoga regularly. Five months into my practice, I signed up for the Lyons Den Teacher Training with Bethany, who was the reason I'd become so attached to yoga in the first place. Again, I really didn't know what to expect, or even if I actually wanted to teach—but I knew I wanted to learn more about yoga.

While training to be an instructor, I was invited to a CrossFit class with Kenny Santucci at Solace New York. I decided to give it a try and remember thinking "Oh I do all this yoga now, so I can totally handle this." I was so wrong. Within 20 minutes I was hyperventilating and legitimately thought a whole hour had gone by. It hadn't. We still had 40 minutes to go.

Long story short, Kenny kicked my butt. Last year, I became a full-time member and have been drinking the Bootcamp/CrossFit kool-aid ever since. Classes with Kenny are like another type of yoga, except with dumbbells and AC/DC jams. He pushes and inspires me every day to step out of my comfort zone and never settle for anything less than my best. (Sounds like something you'd like to try? Here's how you can CrossFit into your workout routine.)

I love the sense of community in group fitness classes. There's something about being in the trenches and taking grenades together; that camaraderie is everything for me. People in these classes are there for you (and they don't even know you!), which provides a sense of family, especially if you're going through a tough time. Commitment to my personal growth and that of the people around me is what empowers me to keep going—whether that's pushing through another Chaturanga or doing one more kettlebell swing.

Today, I practice and teach yoga at least four times a week and spend six days doing CrossFit. Both practices have transformed my way of thinking and thereby transformed my body and my whole life. I have so much gratitude, love, and admiration for these two communities. It's because of them that my outer body is a direct reflection of what is happening on the inside.

 

Let's go party people! Tomorrow 6AM / you + me +Jams / Holla mañana #DENCHELSEA @lyonsdenpy (: @vyckz )

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Now, it has almost been three years since my break-up. I look back at it now and am so thankful because it was one of the best things to have ever happened in my life. It's because of that experience that I stepped into my own power and learned to love myself.

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