By LJ Maull
Getting up and moving your body is just as important in the workplace as it is off the clock. That’s what Stephanie Erazo, founder of Prana Wellness, embodies both in her daily life and in her journey to bring wellness to corporate offices around San Diego and the world beyond. The current pandemic has only been a stumbling block in her mission to enrich the lives of employees and businesses everywhere.
A Chicago native graduating from Spelman College, Stephanie soon began her career as a producer for CNN, where she thought she would stay for the rest of her life. Yet, the corporate atmosphere could not contain her passion for fitness and exercise, which manifested frequently through her hosting boot camps, workouts, and various other fitness events and activities. Eventually, Stephanie’s love of moving her body compelled her to take a brief sojourn to India to learn yoga from masters and gurus, becoming qualified to bring her knowledge to the states for the benefit of companies everywhere.
But, why would someone go to such lengths to enrich the physical wellbeing of employees? When asked, Stephanie responded that working at CNN was a stressful experience with not many outlets, and lack of any physical outlets or guidance left her unprepared when things got hard. “I didn’t even know what a panic attack was,” she said, thinking back on it. Being able to provide outlets for other employees, so they don’t have to go through that stress and anxiety as she did, has been a major drive in her continued pursuit of corporate wellness.
COVID-19 has significantly altered the course of her goal but has not stopped it. Although the pandemic has reduced the number of employees in the office, that hasn’t stopped her from pivoting to an online format. It was always on her agenda, but she “had to change her two-year plan to a two-month plan,” when it became apparent that in-person classes would not be an option.
Although Prana Wellness offers classes via Zoom, an online meditation class, and many more digital offerings, it has been hard to pitch business when people are both not in their places of work and too busy to worry about physical health overall. “People know they need wellness, but they aren’t concerned with spending money on wellness,” particularly when they have to worry about working, raising children, and adjusting to life during self-quarantine. Fortunately, as a recipient of the Black Business Relief Fund, Stephanie was able to use the relief money to invest in digital marketing and training coaches, enabling her to meet people where they are at and kickstart her plans to move from San Diego to the world beyond.
Despite circumstances, Prana Wellness firmly believes that corporate wellness is the future, either virtually or in the office. No matter what, it is important for employers to care about employee health, both for a more productive workforce, and a greater quality of living overall.