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Life and Work with Deana Panza

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deana Panza.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey and have always been given the opportunity and encouraged to try new things and experience all that life has to offer from a young age. I moved from New Jersey to South Carolina for college because I was ready for some new experiences in my life. I graduated from college with three majors and two minors. I just kept learning because I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do, so I took classes in anything that sparked my interest at the time. When I graduated, I moved back up north and began working in New York City for two different fashion labels; one small, and one corporate. I worked long hard hours and was drastically underpaid. Both provided me with lots of experience in the fashion industry and helped me realize that I no longer dreamed of working in fashion. So, I packed up my bags and moved to Atlanta with very little money in my pocket, no job lined up, no real idea of what I wanted to do next. I was quickly hired to do marketing and public relations for my friend’s tech startup. This provided me with the opportunity to jump into a totally different industry headfirst.

Quickly, this grew into me building a business where I provided marketing services to small businesses around Atlanta. Still, I felt that there was something missing. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. So, I began volunteering as a counselor for the Crisis Text Line. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was giving me the fulfillment that I had been looking for. So, in addition to my work, I started a Clinical Mental Health Counseling masters program online, in case I happened to move somewhere new. Then, I decided to finally add in my yoga teacher training which was a long time dream of mine. As soon as I completed my training, I went right into teaching. I drove to teach my first class nervous and wondering how I ended up with a job where I stand up and lead a group of people when it was actually a huge fear of mine. I immediately fell in love with teaching and haven’t stopped since. Over time, I’ve been able to wrap up my marketing business and fully throw myself into helping others. Now, I am a yoga teacher and am in the final weeks of my counseling internship. I am still in the process of working towards where I want to be but I have come so far from where I was. I work to help people find holistic wellness in their lives. I am actually one of those people that gets to do work that they enjoy.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has definitely not been a smooth road but things rarely are. There were times when I needed to miss big events and completely retreat from my family and friends {even my husband who I live with} that left me feeling so alone. There were times where I was struggling for money and times where I was struggling to find time to rest and just breathe. My advice would be to find time for yourself, schedule it into your calendar. It is just as important as a meeting or class. Make time for it. When you are working towards something big and changing your life you are pushing your mind, body, and soul to the limit. You need to give them the love and attention that they deserve. Schedule in time to do things that put a smile on your face and ease your mind, things that help you sleep at night, things that clear that constantly spinning mind. Taking that time out will help you bring a fresh perspective and a better you to whatever you’re working towards and will make the journey a little more manageable.

Please tell us about your work.
Right now, I am a yoga teacher at Sacred Thread Yoga in Old Fourth Ward and East Atlanta Village. My class style emphasizes proper alignment, a strong connection to the breath, self-awareness, and honoring your body wherever it is at that moment. I strive to bring a sense of fun and freedom to my classes while imparting bits of yogic wisdom along the way. My goal is to have students leave each class with a sense of empowerment, strength, energy, and a deep connection to their mind, body, and soul. My students describe my classes as a mix of “kick your ass and meditative”

I am also just beginning my career as a Mental Health Counselor. Once I have some more experience under my belt, I am looking to open my own practice that specializes in trauma, anxiety, and depression. I am excited to combine typical talk therapy with yoga, mindfulness, and experiential therapy, which utilizes expressive tools like art and music, to assist clients. The goal is to give people an outlet to explore themselves in a way that they feel comfortable with and might even be able to utilize outside of the counseling environment.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve benefited from using?
I tend to read a lot of biographies. I find people’s lives and learning how they have maneuvered their way through, created their own path, and overcome obstacles so fascinating.

I use the Insight Timer app for my meditations and the My Water app to track my water intake. I almost never drink enough.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Off Beet Productions

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