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How A Wellness Smackdown Got Me Back On Track


Vendor activation at Wellness Smackdown (Image: Suncear Scretchen)

When Ain’t I Latina? EIC Janel asked me to cover Jovanka CiaresWellness Smackdown event, I jumped at the chance. As a certified Holistic Health Coach, I love checking out the wellness scene. I’m used to witnessing these events as a spectator, as opposed to participant. But this time was different — I woke up that morning with a pretty wicked hangover. The last thing I wanted to do was leave my bed and a Law and Order SVU marathon for a 10am event in the city.  As it turns out, it was exactly what I needed.

Jovanka’s wellness soiree was the exact spiritual, mental, emotional and physical checkup I needed to get back on the healthy track. To be honest, I had ventured pretty far off thanks to a heavy bout of seasonal depression.

Along with physical discomfort, a hangover can also bring a lot of guilt. So the morning meditation was helpful in eliminating the mental abuse I kept giving myself for having one glass of wine too many. I needed to clear my head, which helped open me up to receive the messages that I needed to hear.


Wellness Smackdown Live (Image: Suncear Scretchen)

Afterwards, a diverse panel of women dropped girl power gems that left me feeling empowered and ready to let go of self-deprecating thoughts and practices. Although they all represented various sectors of the wellness world, they all urged us to take care of our emotional selves and tap into our feminine energy. Thought leader and Transformational Catalyst Lainie Love Dalby encouraged us to “love and treat our bodies as sacred vessels.”  This quote is a sobering yet powerful reminder that we are earthy representatives of the Higher Power, who wants us to look and feel our best in order to fulfill our soul’s mission.

After fueling up on green juices, nutrition bars and the energy of fellow wellness junkies,  Jovanka took the stage and challenged us to be a “CEO of your destiny”. The connection was made between the body and success when she hammered home the notion that “health is your biggest form of wealth” and, without it, you cannot “make an impact [in the world] and enjoy your life.” She then presented a check list and asked us to get clear on what we want for ourselves and more importantly what we are saying yes to.


Jovanka’s bubbly yet tough love and encouragement created an energetic atmosphere that was healing and inspiring. When she exclaimed, “sitting on the couch is a luxury; working out is a necessity” I knew that I was meant to be here and not home watching 24 episodes of detectives Benson and Stabler.


As a health coach, I was familiar with the subject matter. However, the event reinforced why I feel this is a calling and a refresher, as we all can fall off the healthy living wagon every now and again. I left feeling energized and ready to move forward in helping to spread the health and, in the words of panelist Lanie, entitled to “sparkle shamelessly.”

Click here to watch our interview with Jovanka Ciares! 

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