Dempsey Marks | 42Yogis.com

Meet Dempsey Marks.

Dempsey is a Los Angeles native who hit the ground running as a kid in pursuit of her love of sports. She played volleyball and softball year-round through high school. But Dempsey’s kinetic lifestyle almost grounded to a halt when she was diagnosed with gastroparesis, an affliction that paralyzed her digestion and diverted her to Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic.

Now, Dempsey is a fitness trainer and yoga instructor. In this exclusive interview, Dempsey talked to me about how yoga helped her get her health back.

Ysmay: How long have you been practicing yoga?

Dempsey: I first tried yoga as a freshman in college. I started out by going to the classes at my university’s Recreation Center and loved it so much that I began sampling all of the local yoga studios’ “first time offers.”

I tried it all—Bikram Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, Restorative Yoga. I eventually found a studio that really seemed like a good fit for me and stuck with it.

I understand yoga really helped get your health back on track. What was that experience like, and how did yoga change things for you?

I struggled with severe stomach problems that left my stomach paralyzed and unable to digest solid food. Yoga has helped relax and strengthen me both physically and mentally.

My stomach condition brought on a lot of anxiety for me, which yoga has helped immensely. It also has helped teach me how to really listen to my body and understand what it wants and needs. Yoga and exercise have been crucial forces in my journey back to health.

Dempsey Marks | 42Yogis.com

What is your favorite yoga benefit?

I began practicing yoga for the physical benefits. I wanted to be flexible and to be able to do “cool” poses like arm balances and inversions. While yoga has given me flexibility and strength, I am much more thankful for what it has done for me mentally and emotionally. I am a calmer and more balanced individual since I began consistently practicing yoga.

When I was really sick, I hated my body for betraying me at such a young age. Yoga has helped me regain a love and appreciation for all that my body is capable of.

Tell me a bit about your approach to fitness and wellness.

I believe in healthy living with balance. Fitness should not run your life—it should be a part of your life. I develop fun and time-efficient workout routines that seamlessly integrate fitness and healthy living into people’s lives.

Working out and eating healthy should not feel like obligations, they should be things you want to do because they make you feel good! And of course there should always be a natural balance between healthy living and having fun!

What are a few quick things someone can do to embrace wellness?

Start or end your day with a 30 minute walk. It’s a nice and relaxing way to unwind from a hectic day. And walking for just 30 minutes will burn about 150 calories.

I also believe in finding a form of exercise that you enjoy. There are so many different ways to be active! You just need to find what works for you so that exercising doesn’t seem like an obligation.

What’s next for you?

I created DempseyFit.com to help and inspire people to live healthy and happy lives. I believe that everyone is capable of living an active, healthy lifestyle. Sometimes they just need help realizing it! Every person I can inspire and/or educate makes it all worth it.

Dempsey Marks is a fitness expert and yoga trainer, and the founder of DempseyFit.com. For more inspiring tips and healthy advice follow @dempseymarks.