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Health Through Community

Follow @healwithleslie on Instagram to follow her healing journey

By Leslie Scotland-Stewart - January 25, 2022

It’s November in 2020 around 5:00am​ and the temperature is barely reaching 25 degrees. One by one I drag each stationary bike from the warmth of the studio into the cold dark morning thinking, “is this really worth the effort?” The choice was to either bike outside and breathe the fresh cold air, or wear a mask while working out inside. And then the students start arriving.. We joke about not feeling our fingers and whether the tiny speaker would wake up the neighbors with the pounding beats that led us into forgetting what was happening in the world for at least 45 minutes.

When I look back today at those cold mornings and think about the 15 or so people that would make the trek every Tuesday, I know in my heart it wasn’t only about the exercise. It was about connecting with our tribe in a lonely time. And it was about doing something good for our bodies when there seemed to be so much out of our control with COVID and our mental and physical health. Community took on an entirely new and important meaning.

From the first day I walked into an Endorphin cycle/row class 7 years ago, the energy of the Endorphin members was like nothing I had ever seen. I went to that class hoping to sell the business some advertising and I walked out with an entirely new perspective on fitness. I remember trying to go back to my gym after that class. I jumped on the stair climber and all I heard was Chris Lindley’s voice telling me I could push harder than I thought. Needless to say, my membership was cancelled. Over the next couple of years, my body and mind completely transformed as I committed to going to classes 5-6 times/week. Yoga, HIIT, HELLTH, Strength, handstand workshops. It was completely addicting, and I was able to deepen my physical capabilities in so many areas from endurance, strength, and even flexibility. I was stronger in my 30s (and 40s) than I had been in my 20s!

But something amazing happens when you are struggling to make it through that last set of burpees at 5:00 a.m. You create a hard-core bond to the people next to you. You watch each other win, and fail, and sweat, and laugh, and sometimes cry. At first only within those walls, and then it blossoms into your tribe in life. I have made some of the best friends from spending time in this community working on our health. We’ve traveled to Maui and Costa Rica together and made incredible memories, all while kicking ass and pushing ourselves.

I got the itch to help others on this journey and soon started coaching. It was bumpy at first because I wanted so badly to make sure people not only had an amazing class, but knew I was pushing as hard as they were. Eventually, I just let go of that and started speaking from my own heart and just ENJOYING the music, sweat, and people. And this cracked open yet another new possibility for my life. I was realizing my passion was to help people discover their own power and bliss. I wanted the world to experience what I found deep within myself by coming to Endorphin classes.

Endorphin has continued to be my tribe over the years and is the place I have turned to in the darkest of times. Through stressful jobs, through divorce, and now through this pandemic. The movement is definitely a huge part of keeping sane. There’s nothing quite like pushing beyond what you perceive as your physical limits and the high that this gives you. But it was the warm smiles, the stupid jokes, and the strong hugs that have truly lifted me up.

Endorphin gives their teachers the space to bring their own style and with that, you get a wide variety of movement and classes. I continue to find new paths and opportunities as a teacher because of my time here. I even got a few people meditating regularly through mindfulness workshops. I now know that I won’t ever feel truly fulfilled until I’m spending my career helping others heal and grow. I’ve enrolled in an Integrative Healing Arts Practitioner program and am working to transition out of corporate life to do this full time! 

In a time where even exercise is bringing us in front of a screen more often (I won’t name names), I know in my soul that nothing compares to gathering with your tribe to sweat! We don’t need more time looking at a screen in solitude. We need the connection to other humans for our mental and physical health. At Endorphin, you will push yourself harder, you will connect, and you will grow in so many ways within this community. To the Endorphin tribe, thank you!

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