VIVE caught up with Sarah Anne Stewart, Co-founder of Bliss Out Wellness to hear about what inspired her to take on a career in health and wellness. The first time I met Sarah, she had a calm, receptive, welcoming presence and an energetic bright smile. It completely made sense that she was onto something special as a health and wellness coach.
We’re excited to introduce Sarah as a contributing author for Joie De VIVE Magazine for beauty maven wellness tricks on how to nourishes our mind, body and healthy head of hair from the inside out. We caught up with her to hear more about her journey.
Can you paint me a picture of where you’re from and how you arrived in New York?
When I was a very young, I was scouted to model. I honestly had no interest in fashion at the time - I was extremely shy, a tomboy, and never wore makeup. But I convinced myself to take the opportunity because I thought modeling would give me the chance to get out of my small town and travel the world. Eight years of on-again-off-again modeling meant a lot of moving, and eventually I ended up with a contract to move to New York. My lifestyle began to change - fad diets and partying became the norm. My habits began drifting from the holistic world of how I was raised and several years later I hit rock bottom. With help from some powerful mentors and finding my way back to the holistic world, I realized I didn’t need modeling as a platform to travel and share my story. I backpacked the world for a year and a half, went back to school, and then launched my company.
When did you know you wanted to pursue career in Health and Wellness?
My real “aha” moment was when my father cured terminal cancer thirteen years using alternative medicine. I admired my father’s courage in the choice he made to choice to not use Western medicine and undergo the rigors of radiation and chemo. Our family hired a vegan and raw food specialist who provided an intense juicing and vegan diet plan, supplements, daily yoga and meditation. After seven months the cancer was completely gone. It was within this experience that I realized, “If cancer can be cured with nutrition why can it not be prevented?
What does ‘wellness’ mean to you?
Wellness is about having an all-encompassing lifestyle that is in complete balance – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Understanding that the mind and body are not separate is so important for achieving true “wellness.” Wellness is also about understanding the universal language of love. True self-love and acceptance is a sure way to inspire a wellness transformation and weight loss because it gives us purpose and a reason to live. Wellness ultimately is an all encompassing lifestyle that is in complete balance every single day.
What has been your biggest epiphany when it comes to how you manage your own spiritual growth and development?
One of the most important things I have learned during the past twelve years of studying, researching, traveling the world and interviewing people who have healed themselves is that true healing really begins by reprogramming the subconscious. This has lead me to strongly believe that meditation is one of the most important components of living a wellness lifestyle and healing any health challenge. I have my own daily meditation practice and also love attending meditation classes in the city.
How do you harness New York’s energy in a positive way?
I use the energy and constant movement of New York as encouragement to try new things - especially within the context of health and wellness. Whether this is attending a wellness expo, exploring a new teacher’s practice, trying a new fitness class, or dining at a new farm-to-table restaurant, the city has opened me up to so many different experiences. We are constantly evolving and growing as humans, and our lifestyle should reflect that. Searching for new experiences to expand our awareness and push us out of our comfort zone is so important and even helps strengthen my coaching.
You live the full life of a young professional woman in NYC. How do you decompress?
I love NYC and I believe that I am meant to be here (at least right now, at this point in my life). Because I work with clients everyday, it is really important for me to keep my energy balanced and grounded so that I can give them dedicated support. The key to decompressing for me is carving out time in my calendar for self-care rituals, finding hidden escapes within the city, going upstate to be in nature and planning trips each month to regroup outside of NYC. A daily meditation practice and consistent yoga has also been very important in my life.
Tell me about one of the most beautiful places you have been, why were you there and, how did it influence your practice?
I spent a year and a half backpacking across the world and have spent a lot of time overseas throughout my life. All of my adventures have changed me - opening my eyes to how American’s have a somewhat limited mindset on health and wellness. Several of us think the “western” world has all the answers but traveling around the world offers profound insight into other healing modalities. For example, I lived with a family in Peru who taught me about medicinal plants. While traveling through Thailand, I spent time with a woman in the rainforest who taught me how to cook medicinal foods, picked straight from her garden, to heal the body. While in India I learned about meditation for health and about the subconscious patterns that create sickness. In Australia I learned about Reiki to my understanding of energy work. In Germany, I discovered that mistletoe is curing cancer patients. Traveling has led me me believe that we, as a culture, need to be open to possibilities of healing beyond just pharmaceutical drugs.
Some of your favorite things about New York City?
It is often hard for me to understand how people live in NYC yet see so little of it. When I first moved here, I fell in love with the city and made a choice to not sign a lease, but to move to a new neighborhood every 4-5 months. Now I have a permanent place in West Village but moving around let me explore so many beautiful neighborhoods. I fell in love with walking around late at night or on a Sunday when it is quiet and no one is on the street - discovering places I never new existed. I also make a rule to (or, at least, try to) not go to the same restaurant twice over the span of two months. I have become a huge foodie, and there are dozens of farm-to-table options I love exploring. As much as I love NYC, I also love getting out and enjoy the convenience of the city’s transportation. I try to get out of NYC once a month at least, so, when I come back, I can fall in love with the city again. I love biking the west side highway, attending wellness events, or just grabbing brunch with my girlfriends on a Sunday. Simple things that make living in NYC so special.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
One of my coaches once told me that, at our very core, we all know that we are destined for pure bliss. However, finding bliss can be difficult when we have been taught for our entire lives to live based on society’s rules of success. I feel that, in order to find true happiness, we truly must “un-teach” ourselves what we have been taught. I am a strong believer in the idea that meditation is the best way to reconnect with what feels right from within and that it can be break blockages that have prevented us from accomplishing our dreams. Shutting down our minds will give us the answers we are looking for. It will open space where we can finally say to the world, “This is who I am. And yes, I am still human, growing learning and making mistakes. But this is who I am at my core. Here I am.”
One of our favorite things is a great hair day. You have such beautiful hair, tell us do you indulge in the occasional blowout?
I do! I travel so much so I always have my hair up in a ponytail and don’t wear makeup very often, so it’s fun to come back to New York and get a little dolled up. I’ll indulge in a blowout before going to a charity event or a prominent wellness expo.
Sarah Anne Stewart can be reached through