Today we’d like to introduce you to Robyn Baker.
Robyn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My name is Robyn Baker (formally Robyn Yamanaka). I’ve worked in the fitness industry for the past 15 years, 6 of which were during my struggle with anorexia and exercise addiction. I began my fitness career as an indoor cycling instructor while earning my BS in Kinesiology at California State University Fullerton. I’m currently a certified personal trainer through NASM, a certified indoor cycling instructor through Schwinn, certified on whole body vibration exercise through Power Plate International, a certified Pilates instructor through Polestar Pilates, and a member of the Yoga Alliance with my 200-hour yoga certification through YogaWorks.
I developed anorexia when I was 17 years old and was hospitalized at the age of 18. The 10 years following my first hospitalization were a struggle, to say the least, and I eventually became addicted to exercise which led me to become a personal trainer and give up my dreams as a professional performer in musical theater. However, despite my loss, I am beyond grateful for where my path has led me to today; inspiring others on their journey toward true, holistic health and spreading awareness about body positivity and body acceptance.
The most difficult part of my recovery has been finding a way to maintain a healthy and recovery-centered relationship with exercise. After many slip-ups and minor relapses, I created a method called Intuitive Exercise, which utilizes mindfulness techniques, meditation and intense self-inquiry practices in order to have a healthy and body positive relationship with exercise and movement.
Nearly 5 years ago I began my own body positive and recovery-centered fitness studio, Asteya Fitness, as a way to honor my own recovery while still working in the fitness health industry and teaching others the method of intuitive exercise and embracing a Health at Every Size practice. I embarked on this business venture after multiple negative and harmful experiences with other health professionals who told me that eating disorders are not a serious problem and that weight loss is the most important factor in determining one’s overall health. To this day I cannot disagree more with this ideology and I want to work to change the fitness and health industry to understand who harmful this belief can be to all people.
Today, I work and play in Orange County, California with my two children, husband and crazy cats. I was recently published in the book, Yoga Rising, where I share my story of how yoga empowered my eating disorder recovery. I’m a community member of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition, a contributor to the mental health website, The Libero Network and an activist working to help stop fitspiration. I remain committed to my recovery and hope to bring the method of Intuitive Exercise to all who struggle to find a healthy relationship with exercise in their eating disorder recovery. I’ve appeared on various television programs including the Tyra Banks show and the CBS Early show to spread awareness of eating disorders and exercise addiction.
Has it been a smooth road?
Besides staying is eating disorder recovery and working in the fitness industry, my biggest challenge is staying positive in my attempt to stay in integrity with my work and how I run my business. In the health and fitness industry, weight loss sells. This is sad by all-to-true reality. I am privileged to not only be on the thin side of the body size spectrum, but I also exist in a body that is considered white (although I’m half Japanese) and able-bodied. I have many advantages and I fully acknowledge this.
To not capitalize on my body size and ability in an industry that does this at every opportunity is challenging, but it is the only way I can stay in integrity with my eating disorder recovery and everything I believe in. I could easily objectify my body in order to increase my bottom line but I refuse to do this because I know it will be more of the same marketing and media that only plays into the eating disorder mindset that I experienced and so many others do as well.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Asteya Fitness – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My fitness studio, Asteya Fitness, is the only body positive fitness studio in Orange County, CA. We have no mirrors and no scales, tape measures or anything else that you’ll find in a typical gym or fitness studio setting. We practice a Health at Every Size perspective in our approach to exercise and wellness and encourage all who come to the studio to refrain from the body-shaming talk.
I specialize in working with those in eating disorder recovery who want to redefine their relationship with movement and exercise in a way that will support their body image and recovery efforts. At Asteya Fitness you’ll find private, yoga, Pilates and resistance training sessions, as well as group yoga therapy classes, sound bath meditation, and specialized workshops geared toward improving one’s relationship with one’s body.
I’m most proud that Asteya Fitness has stayed true to my original vision of providing a safe space those struggling with negative body image a place to move and develop a new and more empowered relationship with their body just as it is.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the diversity that Southern California has to offer, but I am not proud of the lack of representation of this diversity in the yoga and fitness world. Representation of the diversity of race, gender, body size, ability and sexual orientation needs to be reflected in the yoga and fitness world if we ever want to make movement and exercise something that is accessible for everyone.
- Private Pilates Sessions (60 Min) $80 per session
- Private Yoga Sessions (75 Min) $85 per session
- Group classes are donation based (suggested donation of $15 per class)
- Address: 151 Kalmus Drive Building C, Suite 120
- Website: www.AsteyaFitness.com
- Phone: (949) 542-6015
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/asteyafitness/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Asteyafitness/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hapagirl99
- Other: www.intuitiveexercise.com
Sarit Z. Rogers