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How a Life Coach Trains at Home

New to working remotely? Mar Soraparu has some tips.

Photo: Lisa Predko

She may not have realized it, but leaving her career in finance in 2013 to launch a business as a yoga instructor and life coach left Mar Soraparu well prepared for a pandemic. The 30-year-old already works from her Lincoln Park home, cultivating the habits necessary to navigate days of uncertainty. Here’s how the partner and chief wellness officer at Biân — a luxury private wellness club backed by Boka Restaurant Group’s Kevin Boehm that’s due to open this fall — is staying healthy and maintaining forward momentum in the age of COVID-19.

Soothing self-talk

“The other day, I was feeling overwhelmed. When that happens, I recognize it and own it but don’t let it get out of hand. I ask: What is it I’m focusing on? What is helping and what isn’t? In this case, I decided, I’m not going to try to produce right now. I’m going to let this feeling settle. I stayed in bed for a few extra hours, and when I felt a little bit better, I got back to work.”

Eating plan

“Even before — but especially now — I start the day with lentils, bread, and avocado or a soup, such as squash or split pea. Warming is wonderful for our lungs. In the late morning, I’ll have a green smoothie with Juice Plus protein powder, avocado, half a grapefruit, frozen strawberries, and a mix of green powders with alfalfa, chlorella, and spirulina. I started adding ginger, an ancient healing medicinal root. For lunch I do a large salad with kale, organic chicken, fresh tomatoes, and steamed broccoli. I make a lovely immune-boosting dressing with apple cider vinegar, ginger, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper and blend it with a little bit of lemon.”

Willpower workout

“I love a sweet treat, but I taught myself rationing. I have a bar of dark chocolate that’s 100 percent cacao, but I’ll have one piece and that’s it. It’s sustainable and satiating. It took years for me to get to that point.”

Making room

“I designate different spaces for different activities. I cannot work in my kitchen, because it’s easy for me to get up and go to the fridge. If you work in the same place that you’re also going to watch TV, you’re going to have a hard time disconnecting from each activity. If you have only a small space, designate chairs — one work chair and a different chair for eating.”

Quarantine conversations

“Kind communication goes a long way. It’s very easy to say, ‘I need this. Get out of here.’ Instead, I say what I’m doing and why: ‘I’m going to close the door. That means I need some quiet, uninterrupted time.’ ”

Training routine

“Typically I try to diversify my workouts with Pilates, heavy weightlifting, circuit work, and a ton of yoga. I take a class at Studio Three, where I teach yoga at 5:45 or 6 a.m. Since I can’t do that, I’ve shifted my workouts to midmorning. I’ve been running outside to manage the noise and anxiety. I don’t have weights at home, but I ordered a resistance band. Basics go a very long way — repetitions of pushups, triceps dips on a chair, jumping jacks.”

Breaking to breathe

“Throughout the day I do frequent microwalks or mini meditations — 10 minutes or a half hour with a podcast, music, or just silence. Music is very healing, but right now we’re bombarded with news, so it’s important to embrace silent time so your mind can calm down.”

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