Lee Sahlaney Wellness & Pilates - Interview with Lee Sahlaney
After a career as a project management consultant, Lee Sahlaney, Owner and Founder of Lee Sahlaney Wellness & Pilates, transformed her life to follow her dream. She prepared well to be able to follow her passion. Lee Sahlaney attended Pilates Instructor Training programs at the Balanced Body University, and takes continuing education and training in rehabilitation protocols. Lee Sahlaney is a Certified Medical Reiki Master Practitioner, specializing in women’s health. Her continued education has finely tuned her ability to correct the imbalance in other people's bodies and allow clients to work from a much deeper place.
Lee Sahlaney's mission is to help the individual to unlock their body's highest potential. She serves individuals in Pilates studios in the San Francisco Bay Area. She also provides private Pilates sessions at her clients' homes and workplaces. Lee Sahlaney also provides Medical Reiki therapy for women undergoing fertility treatments to become pregnant, women going through menopause, and with people that are pre or post-surgery.
When you are old, what do you think children will ask you to tell stories about?
I think they would ask me what it was like before the Internet? What was it like before we gave ourselves permission to really make self-care a priority? I believe it is a trend that people can now talk about. I think we should honor our mind-body-health connection. This trend is helping people to live a healthier lifestyle than the one they led before. I don't think that we truly gave ourselves that permission early on. Before, it used to be that you were being selfish if you wanted to engage in self-care. However, I believe it is essential for people to take care of themselves since people are working so hard. They have multiple jobs to support themselves and their families. I think it is important to take care of yourself so that you have enough strength to take care of others. You have to feed your own "well” inside before you can take care of others.
What are some red flags to watch out for in daily life?
One of the things that we don't do often enough is paying attention to our bodies. It is called a somatic response. Somatic response is essentially paying attention to your body as you're going through your day. If you suddenly feel a tightening in your chest, a tightness in your stomach, or tightness in your jaw, then take a moment to really notice it. Take a deep breath and say “ok, what is going on here? Am I reacting to something and what might that be?” Sometimes just noticing that can redirect your attention to the deeper issue rather than falling into a stress response. It could be from yelling at the kids or getting angry in traffic. Those are some examples of red flags. So, pay attention to your body with subtle things when you're moving. If you feel pain when you're moving, honor that instead of thinking, "I am just pushing on." Ask yourself, why is my foot hurting me or why is my hip hurting me? Then you can get help with that before it becomes a bigger or a chronic issue.
What person has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
The person in my life who has influenced me the most is my father. He genuinely instilled in me at a very young age how important it is to have a mind-body connection and having healthy physical practices like running and exercising. Furthermore, he taught me how mind-body connections correlate to healthy mental and emotional outlook. He had a very strong work ethic. In fact, he was a rural physician and performed house calls until a month before he passed. He was in his eighties and loved connecting with people. That is another thing that he taught me - connecting with people and listening to what they need as well as what they want. It is important to not give anyone a one-size-fits-all solution. Truly, he looked at taking care of oneself and how it all interrelates.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
For the people that I have worked with and the people that I have helped and touched their lives, I want them to know that they have the ability to take a holistic approach to their health and well-being. They don't have to rely on someone else to do it for them. You may need someone to show you the way and to train you. But, you have your inner power and inner ability and love for yourself to be able to take care of yourself. You also have the ability to pass it on to your children, friends, and community. If you can share with people and help them understand how movement and self-care can make you feel good you can ultimately help people handle stress and improve their vitality as well as health. The ability to notice these subtle changes in your life brings about laughter, which is an essential part of life. Ultimately, it all comes back to self-love and self-care and honoring your body. And sharing that with your love ones.
What is one of the biggest life lessons you've learned? (personal or professional)
My biggest life lesson is that it is important to know who you are and what your values are. Which means that you might not be comfortable working with everybody. It is okay to say no to people. It is okay not to work with everyone who may have initially appeared to have the same values. Not everyone is going to be a good fit. It is okay to intuitively recognize that and turn down the work. It is important to consider if you are the best fit for one another. Perhaps referring them to another person would be in the best interest of all.
What are you currently most excited about?
I have been practicing Medical Reiki and working with women's health. I work with women undergoing fertility treatments to help them become pregnant. I work with women going through menopause. I work with people who are going through surgeries. I have been doing that for a number of years now. I love it. I have a real passion for what I do. I am also really excited about building my practice and expanding to offer more Pilates and movement-based therapy. I will offer more rehabilitation-based sessions to people who are experiencing chronic pain or coming out of acute injuries. I have undergone a lot of training to help work with people in this way.
My own personal experience of going through an injury has given me such an understanding and compassion about what people go through emotionally as well as physically during a recovery. I am really excited about building out my practice to include more clients who need rehabilitation work. It is essential to understand the emotional impact of recovering from an injury or surgery. I think that in order to help people be healthy physically, we need to also work with them wherever they are emotionally.