Health Coach Feature: Yohanna Mannelqvist Shares How She Has Integrated Movement into Her Health Coaching Practice

May 14, 2020

Yohanna Mannelqvist is a London fashion executive turned yoga teacher and wellness coach based in Tulum, London, and Stockholm. She is a proud graduate of IIN and also trusted as the official Yoga Ambassador for Lululemon Nordics.

After overcoming burnout and an eating disorder, she is now empowering other ambitious men and women worldwide with the tools and wisdom to live fully and freely through yoga, one-on-one coaching, exclusive retreats, and events.

Q: What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?
A: I was a corporate fashion executive in London and living a fast-paced and glamorous lifestyle filled with travel, parties, promotions, and shopping. My unsustainable lifestyle eventually took me into a dark place, and I hit burnout and struggled with an eating disorder. My hardship led to a spiritual awakening, and I embarked on a path of healing and self-exploration. Fast forward a couple of years, and here I am fully devoted to the world of well-being and yoga.

Q: What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?
A: I decided to leave my fashion career and embarked on a journey across the globe alone. I completed my first yoga teacher training course and then found myself in Tulum, Mexico. At this point, I had started sharing my journey authentically through Instagram, and I received a lot of heartfelt responses. I came to realize that so many other people could relate to my challenges and that they also wanted to create a new way of life. My wish to guide others through this process led me to researching coaching certifications. Once I found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I felt that I had hit home as I deeply resonated with the holistic approach to true well-being and that it goes far beyond what you put on your plate. All areas of our lives are interrelated, and they need to be working in harmony to create a balanced life.

Q: How has your life changed since becoming a Health Coach?
A: It has totally transformed my career and life. I started coaching right after graduating, and my client base has been at capacity from day one. I did not have a coaching practice before taking the course, so it laid out the entire foundation of my business today. The course gave me the tools and techniques needed to proactively work with clients.

Q: Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you? 
A: The topics that I found especially interesting were on our microbiome, adrenal health, hormonal balance, sleep quality, mind-body medicine, and plant-based nutrition. These are all relevant areas to my own well-being and topics that I frequently discuss with my clients today. I still go back to modules and handouts to deepen my knowledge in areas that come up as I keep on coaching and expanding my practice.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you now? 
A: I live a nomadic lifestyle based between Tulum, London, and Stockholm, so it really depends on where I am in the world. The great thing about being a coach is that I can work from anywhere as my clients are mostly online.   

I always start my day with a morning practice, and it includes journaling, meditation, and setting intentions for the day. I am committed to practicing yoga daily, but the time of day varies depending on my schedule. I always read or listen to an audiobook to stay inspired and on top of my knowledge. I love nature and try to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Q: What makes you and your practice unique? How did you start integrating movement into your practice?
A: My one-on-one coaching takes the clients on an inner journey of self-discovery through authentic conversations, journaling, movement, and meditation. My integrative approach to sustainable well-being combines modern personal growth techniques, ancient yogic teachings, mindfulness practices, and nutrition.

I was already teaching yoga when I began my coaching certification, so it has been a natural integration between my coaching practice and movement. Combining the two practices is what I believe creates magic as our bodies store all emotions, and we embody wisdom through movement.

Q: How do you help your clients be successful? Is there a recent example that stands out for you? 
A: My goal is to guide my clients to balanced, meaningful, and thriving lives so they can live freely and fully. I act as a mirror to my clients and acknowledge what is being said but can't be heard. I make my clients feel heard, seen, and valued by showing up with my full presence and compassion. I teach them tools and techniques they can use even when they have completed our coaching, setting them up for continued well-being and inner success.

I recently supported a client in overcoming her digestive issues. She came to me without hope as she had seen doctors and nutritionists without any progress despite diets and medicine. Our approach to her disturbed gut health was different as I looked at her life as a whole – not only her nutrition and diet. A few months later, we had established a food ritual for mindful eating, worked on her stress at work, and increased her self-confidence. She was left feeling happier and lighter with a perfect digestion and metabolism.

Q: You’ve been teaching online yoga sessions. How has this been rewarding for you?
A: I started teaching yoga online via Zoom since we were hit by Covid-19, which means that my whole business is digital today. It has been incredible as it has kept me connected to my existing yogic community globally but also introduced me to many new amazing yoga practitioners.

The feedback that I have received from students is amazing, and I can understand that my yoga classes have helped them during this very stressful and uncertain time. The demand has been so great that I will continue to teach online even when quarantine is over, and I am now looking to record yoga videos online, too.

Q: How has yoga/fitness helped you manage any stress or anxiety in your life?
A: Yoga has been the most important part in my healing process from burnout and an eating disorder and continues to keep me grounded and connected every single day. The practice has taught me so many tools and techniques that help me navigate life with grace, ease, and compassion. I often step on my mat feeling anxious, but I always leave feeling calm and collected. It totally shifts my mind-set and reminds me that I create my reality from my perception and thoughts – holding me accountable to my own well-being and happiness.

On a physical level, it helps the body move out of the fight and flight response and into rest and digest mode. We need to consciously introduce practices that slow us down to allow healthy bodily functions and reduced stress.

Q: Why does movement (yoga/fitness) matter to you?
A: Not only does it cleanse and strengthen my physical body, but it helps me find peace with my inner-mind chatter that is constantly wanting to judge, criticize, and analyze. Yoga connects me with my higher self and reminds me of what is important. It shows what my heart cares for and my intuition calls for.

Ancient yogic philosophy brings so many teachings that are more relevant than ever in our externally obsessed and success-driven society. It teaches you that you behold all the wisdom and answers you need, you just have to remember where to look – which is not outside yourself but simply within.

Movement is such an important part of our overall health. Like Yohanna, you, too, can incorporate movement into your daily routine and health coaching practice. Check out our seven-day fitness challenge and find out what type of movement makes you feel your best! 

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