About 12 years ago, Aussie transplant Emma Uvena was in bad shape. Her own words—life was hard, money was tight and she was relying on alcohol to fill her cup. She didn’t like who she was becoming, and its threat to her potential to do great things; so she got sober, unlocked her own happiness. Now, she inspires others with free recovery yoga classes and teaches the value of goal setting and achievement through yoga classes at Peach Out Power Yoga, Strongside and community classes for other young moms looking to fill their own cup.
How does staying in shape affect your mental health?
There’s nothing better than setting a goal (whether meditation or an Ironman), dedicating fully to it and then achieving it. Mental health goes hand in hand with achievement and self-fulfillment. It’s a matter of practicing patience, exercising discipline and then reaping the rewards of reaching my highest limits.
How do you encourage others struggling with addiction?
Sobriety isn’t easy. It truly takes a one-day-at-a-time mentality. You have to admit that you have a problem and then ask for help. Believe that change is possible and learn to live for yourself enough to know that you truly deserve better.
How do you embrace being over 40?
I do me. My mantra is “Forward is a Pace!” It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you keep taking steps forward. I could care less about fitting in and instead honor who I am and what I bring to the world. Every day is a gift to share your light, and I love sharing mine.
Do you have a favorite quote that you live by in this season of life?
“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” That quote by Audrey Hepburn encourages me as I’m rocking grey hair and wrinkles. I refuse to give into the unrealistic beauty standards of today, just like I’ve refused to restrict foods or diet. The goal right now is to just be.
What inspires you to give back to your community?
I love offering yoga classes to everyone, from toddlers to elders. I offer chair yoga, stretch, slow flow, breathing techniques, power flow and meditation—something for everyone. Offering yoga to people in recovery as a means to help them gain control over their nervous system and to encourage them to open their hearts and minds to find more peace and love is my true passion.