A couple of winters ago, in the midst of a difficult break-up, I registered for a “40 Days to Personal Revolution” workshop at a yoga studio in Avondale. I was reluctant at first, but ready for something new that promised self-renewal and transformation.

Enter Eddie Suero, yoga teacher and life coach. He and his wife, Sarah, led the workshop. Everyone in the group was given the book “40 Days to Personal Revolution” by Baron Baptiste and instructed to complete a couple of chapters each week. We were also challenged to practice yoga six times a week, radically change our diets, meditate every day and journal each night. Once a week, we met at the studio to share our trials and our triumphs. We also had regular one-on-one consultations with a life coach. Eddie was mine. He helped me explore my fears, and dreams and he showed me how to become more centered. I can attest that the program was a success and the new habits I learned lasted far longer than those first 40 days.

“That’s because transformation is all about establishing new practices,” says Suero.

Renew Your Life
He currently teaches at Big Fish Yoga in south Jacksonville Beach and runs a consulting firm for life coaching (Grounded and Co.). He is an expert on the subject of personal renewal.

At Big Fish, Suero works with owner Mary Lyn Jenkins, who, he says, “has created a warm environment with an amazing energy” in the studio. She knows how the practice of yoga can be a transformative thing, but she also understands that it’s not an easy process. “If you want to experience a real shift, there has to be a commitment,” she says. When it comes to making changes, in general, one of the great misconceptions is that many people want things like self-help books and diets to do the work for them. “You have to make the changes yourself, not just buy the book.” The same is true of yoga. You can’t just show up to class, she says; your presence alone will not make the changes you desire.

Suero agrees. “In the realm of transformation, we use the concept of practices.” You have to adopt new habits and make them actionable. The first building block of the process is self-awareness. In order to make changes, you have to be well aware of your current thought patterns and habits. Ask yourself, “When do I hold back? When do I fall into self-defeating patterns? When do I fall into judgment?” This is where yoga serves as an effective tool, and Suero believes that “the mat is a metaphor for life.” The biggest take-away from yoga, he says, is the enhanced self-awareness it provides.

“I don’t believe in resolutions,” says Suero, “because resolutions tend to fade.” Instead you need a goal that can be achieved with clear, actionable practices; a vague promise won’t do the trick. Jenkins recommends that when it comes to transforming physically and mentally through yoga, practicing three to four times a week is necessary. However, she also points out that even one class can make a small shift in a person’s life. Whenever we make drastic changes to our daily habits, the new practices can feel difficult and never-ending at first, but the reward of self-renewal is worth the work.