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Emile Perez is a long time yoga and fitness instructor who enjoyed a loyal following in West Hollywood, California. But when the Pandemic hit, Perez, like so many other fitness instructors knew she was going to have to move her classes to an online space in order to survive. What has emerged is Sequential Body, an online yoga and fitness platform. And while it wasn’t easy learning how to shoot, edit and get high quality video streaming together overnight, Perez committed herself during the early months of quarantine to honing these skills. Today her online classes are as full as they used to be in pre-pandemic times and Perez is happy to be able to provide her students with movement so they can connect with their bodies and their minds.

Perez’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:

Sequential Body came to light out of necessity during the COVID-19 Pandemic. I wanted to offer a top-notch experience to my existing yoga students during the initial phase of quarantine, to be able to effectively combat fatigue, anxiety, depression, and worry we were all experiencing at home. I wanted to supply them with the tools to move, breathe and connect with their bodies and spirit. With everyone being at home, I knew there would never be a better time to create an online platform to engage with yoga students all over the globe.

For me, it always comes back to my mission and our “why.” With everything thing I do I focus on answering these core questions: Does this serve our community? Does it make lives healthier, happier, and more balanced? Does it meet our core tenants of craft, clarity, and confidence? When you know who you are and what your purpose is, it’s easy to stay driven and focused on that mission. If that mission is met, I believe I’m successful.

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My biggest success to date is being able to launch during COVID-19. Before the pandemic, I knew my strengths as a public speaker but lacked the technical, marketing, and PR capabilities to build my brand past a certain parameter. In the initial days of quarantine, I did my best to educate myself on creating a business, including the technical abilities needed to be able to stream live classes as well as the filming and editing that go into it.

I also took the time to educate and learn from key people in marketing on how to do email campaigns, make ads, and get organic press. None of these skills or information was something I had any interest in before, but learning it has been highly valuable. Through many months of trial and error, we are finally on a smooth path to success.

One of my top challenges is overcompensating. This is something I see commonly in Americans (including myself). There is this need to take being our ‘best’ to an extreme and then burning ourselves out. Whether it’s clean eating, exercise, or being positive; oftentimes we become obsessed with this idea of doing our best and in doing so we avoid the actual underlying issues that we are suppressing. We are programmed and designed in our Western culture to hide our feelings under a rug, to appear perfect and in doing so we don’t actually address the issues we are trying to hide and avoid.

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To be optimally healthy we have to address the shadow parts of ourselves that got us to where we are and get super honest about our issues. It’s only through transparency that we can actually grow and evolve into our highest potential and healthiest selves. I’ve had to remind myself throughout launching Sequential Body that less is sometimes more. 

My most important role model is Brene Brown. I love how intimate and raw she is while being able to speak interpersonally to people. She risks being vulnerable and making mistakes in an effort to connect and crack people open. I value her words because it sounds less like preaching and more like a one-on-one conversation with a friend. I think that she has a true knack for public speaking and life-coaching that engages the audience without speaking down to them or trying to sound superior.

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