“We’re all made of energy.”
Shannon Werner reminds us, as we get a firsthand look into her Barre, Pilates, and Wellness studio Relevate. Whether one remembers this teaching from their high school science courses or not, it’s hard not to believe when coming face to face with the uplifting spirit of Shannon herself.
Relevate is located in San Diego’s University City, near the UTC Mall. With its natural light and open space, one can expect to feel at peace when stepping foot inside -- after all, “Relevate” means “to return to good spirits”. Relevate was born when the previous barre studio Shannon managed and taught at closed its doors, and she immediately saw this as an opportunity to create a new home to celebrate community. Picturing a welcoming environment where both men and women can feel comfortable participating in a Barre class, even if it’s their first time, Shannon opened Relevate. She aims to leave her students feeling inspired not just by the class experience, but also by their own effort, ability, and inner strength. Relevate is not just a movement studio - it also focuses on spiritual, emotional and mental wellbeing. In addition to Barre and Pilates classes, Relevate offers Transformational Nutrition Coaching and Reiki Energy Healing, a practice where Universal Life Force Energy is harnessed to heal and balance the mind, body, and spirit.
With a mission to use fitness as therapy and promoting post traumatic growth here at Virago, we of course were intrigued by the idea of Energy Healing and were excited to learn more as Shannon explained to us her experience with Reiki.
Reiki is a Japanese Energy Healing technique where practitioners transmit Universal Life Force Energy through their hands to the recipient. Shannon explained that Universal Life Force Energy is the essence of our physical being, consciousness, and spirit. Life Force energy moves through our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies, and can often become stagnant or blocked, which can lead to physical manifestations such as injury, imbalance, or disease. Reiki Energy Healing allows that “stuck” energy to flow freely once again. Reiki not only calms the nervous system and assists with healing physical symptoms, but also leaves the recipient with a feeling of wellbeing and deeper connection to him- or herself. Shannon explained that she was first drawn to Energy Healing through her studies of Yoga and Spirituality, and later experienced Reiki’s powerful healing potential first-hand when she was offered a treatment by a Reiki Master who was also a dear friend. Instantly, she felt a spark of interest and intrigue, but it wasn’t until a few years later that Shannon dove in deeper as a Reiki student and practitioner. Shannon shared that Reiki allows her to reconnect with herself and keep her grounded during times of challenge, and she loves that it is a practice she can administer to herself as a form of self-healing. Most of all, she loves being able to share Reiki with her Relevate community. Shannon believes that wellness is found at the intersection of physical, emotional, and spiritual balance, and she infuses her classes with uplifting mindset/life coaching in addition to teaching movement to help train the body AND the mind. As energy work is a natural extension of physical healing and wellbeing, Shannon loves sprinkling in Reiki, Sound Healing, and other healing modalities into classes and workshops as a bridge for individuals to experience it a way that is approachable and accessible.
“We all go through challenges, and feel pain or alone at times, and we need community more than ever.”
Shannon’s understanding and empathetic nature has allowed her to create a welcoming environment for individuals to move, breath, learn, and be in community. At Relevate, you’re encouraged to always listen to your body, connect with your heart, and love yourself unconditionally as you move through the class, especially when experiencing a challenging exercise. This is what really ties Virago Fitness and our FIT Program to Relevate. We believe in the power of fitness as therapy, and encourage people to fight through their struggles one breath at a time during their workouts. It’s not about looking good or getting that bikini body, it’s about feeling good about yourself and allowing yourself to break those internal barriers or mental blocks so to speak.
“You have a body. You have a bikini. Awesome, put the two together and rock it out!”
Shannon reminds us of this while explaining to us that her studio is welcoming to all no matter what shape or size you are, or what state of mind you’re in. It is Shannon’s top priority to welcome and encourage you before and during class, and leave you feeling renewed and inspired when walking out the door.
Understanding and accepting this mentality when it comes to fitness is so helpful and life changing. If you’re in need of a positive change or looking for a way to cope with any life stressors check out Relevate in San Diego and remember that Fitness Is Therapy.
JESSICA BLANCO | JOURNALIST INTERN
Jessica Blanco is a student athlete graduating this December 2019 with a Bachelors Degree in History. Her journey as a student has led her to us as she has experienced first hand the therapeutic benefits of fitness.
At the age of 7 Jessica began playing tennis, but 11 years later when it was time to leave to college she decided to leave sports…