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Valentina’s journey with caravan



Can you tell us about your journey and where you are today?

I am a born and bred Miami Beach girl now living in Manhattan, where I study Economics and Psychology at The New School. My background is half Haitian and Dominican, and half Italian and Ukrainian. Having grown up in a very diverse environment and under a single parent household, I was exposed to various real life situations which has helped grow my maturity and resilience. Before entering high school, I was a professional ballerina and competitive rhythmic gymnast for 10 years. This was one of the best periods of my life and I am so grateful I was able to love and be passionate about these very unique sports. Soon after my career with these sports ended, I was suffering from intense insomnia and anxiety and was recommended to try yoga. At the time, I was only 13 years old and had never done much yoga before. I instantly fell in love with this practice as it helped to ease my anxiety, allowed me to continue practicing flexibility and strength, and provided me with an opportunity to connect with myself/whoever else I was practicing with. From then on, yoga has continued to be my passion and has guided me towards greater self-awareness throughout my high school and current university years. Today, I feel grateful, alive, and present.

“As much as possible, I believe in living life to the fullest, surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good, doing what makes you happy, and finding beauty in the simple things.”

What is your experience with wellness?

Wellness has always been a part of my life and has been a long, curving road. Prior to my discovery of yoga, at the age of 13, I was not aware of the practice of wellness and self-care. This lack of awareness in combination to several difficult situations I experienced during middle school, led me to endure a year of insomnia and high levels of anxiety (as mentioned above). Through self-reflection, meditation, yoga, and daily acts of healing, I was able to return to a more balanced state of wellbeing. Seven years later, I look back on that period of my life with a smile and a gracious heart as I now realize that it truly shaped who I am and has helped me to value self-care. Throughout high school, I was quite joyful, experienced many unforgettable moments, and utilized yoga to guide me through it all. Similarly, during my first two years of college and living on my own in NYC, I have had a really fun time being adventurous and trying new things. I am about to begin my third year of university, and I look forward to all the new experiences life will bring me and to see how my practice of wellness can help me respond to these situations. To me, wellness is undefinable and is up to the individual to explore and play with depending on where they are in their lives. Wellness can be intentional but also unintentional, and I feel that’s the beauty of it because, in the long run, we all inevitably grow and evolve closer to our destinies.

What are some of your favorite CARAVAN classes and why?

I have had such a fun time exploring Caravan’s vast variety of class options over the course of this past year. However, from the ones I have tried, the following are my favorites:

(1) BARRE – This three part series is great for balance, isolated strengthening techniques, and elongating the body. Because of my background in ballet, I am not surprised that I really enjoyed this series as barre workouts are inspired by ballet. In this series, we simply use a matt and body weight to explore and strengthen the different areas of the body.
(2) MOVEMENT FOR TRAVEL – Having started traveling at a very young age, I found this series to be extremely helpful as we are provided with specific poses and movements that can be practiced while traveling in real life. The instructor brings the poses to life by providing a few sample situations where you may find yourself using the pose. This series focuses on how to stretch while on the go.
(3) 3 MIN OCEAN BREATH – Throughout my 7 year journey with yoga, I have also grown to be fond of meditation as the two inevitably connect. Normally, I practice meditation anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes depending on my schedule for the day. I like this ocean breath practice because we use the flow of the ocean as a source of inspiration to activate intentional breathing. This can then be used when practicing meditation on your own.
(4) YOGA FOR ANXIETY – We all experience moments of anxiety every now and then, so I recommend trying this three part yoga series. This flow provides particular movements entailed to relieve any feelings of tension and stress. It also helps circulate blood flow, and grounds your mind and body into the present.

How has incorporating wellness into you daily routine improved your lifestyle?

Incorporating wellness into my daily routine has helped provide me with something enjoyable to look forward to everyday and has helped me cultivate stronger, more positive relationships. Wellness begins from within but naturally flows outward to our daily social encounters. Because I prioritize self-love, I am then able to be a better friend, daughter, sister, co-worker, etcetera. Like many other things in my life, my wellness routine is free flowing and varies depending on the day. This allows me to try new things, be creative, and discover new passions. For example, my family and I are currently emphasizing our eating habits on plant-based meals. Additionally, I am now starting a natural hair care routine. My motto is to live, love, and laugh, and believe that everything works itself out in time.


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