By: Alex Muehlberger | Contributor
Former cigarette, alcohol and nightlife enthusiast Sonia Rangel altered her mindset to transform not only her body and spirit, but her also entire life.
Rangel told Baylor students on Thursday that in her junior year at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, she dropped out. Later, she developed scoliosis from an unhealthy lifestyle of party nights along with waitressing and bartending. She was also struggling to figure out her life’s purpose.
“One day I was about to turn 30, and I literally asked God ‘What is this life for? What do I do? How do I do it?’” Rangel said as she recalled a 3 a.m. cry for help.
Rangel, now a fitness and wellness expert, told students that answers do come to you if you pray for them. She said her greatest blessing was the opportunity to work at a vegetarian restaurant while surrounded by positive influences—people who were living healthy lifestyles. There, she met a coworker who invited Rangel to her first yoga class.
“They were thriving.These were educated people who had a masters in poetry and were standing in tree pose, and they were happy,” Rangel said. “I didn’t really care about a title or what car I drove, I wanted to feel good in my body and especially in my heart.”
Phoenix Ariz., freshman Rylee Seavers said that the emphasis Rangel placed on college students feeling good as a result of working out inspired her.
“I try to eat right and workout, but it’s a good reminder to hear how much it can improve my overall concentration and health,” Seavers said.
She told students that her greatest yoga takeaway was the power of focus. Prior to yoga, Rangel never believed that she could focus on anything for more than five minutes. She learned to tune out the noise and silence her “monkey mind.” Her posture changed and her mindset followed.
“I started to get really strong and all the pain started to go away,” Rangel said. “After a few months, I was a different person. I started partying less, doing yoga more, getting better sleep and I quit smoking.”
For Round Rock sophomore Arion Crenshaw, overall health has always been a vital aspect in his life. He said that his parents placed a major emphasis on the maintenance of a healthy mind and body.
“It gets hard in college to maintain both health and fitness while balancing school, but I have to remember that if I have time to drive through Wendy’s, I have time to work out,” said Crenshaw.
At 36, Rangel returned to college focusing on health and wellness while minoring in photography. After a desire to promote a healthy lifestyle to others, she partnered up with a mother of two children, Cheryl Syer, and combined their skills. They run All Over Fitness in Northwest Austin.
“You have to love yourself above all else and take care of your body,” Rangel said. “Your body is the physical manifestation of your thoughts.”