Take Back Our Power – Create Your Own Health Authority

shannon-headshot-smallIt is my great honor to introduce you to Shannon Sodano. Her riveting post is a great personal tale that can help you heal yourself by taking back your power! With a fresh and friendly personal style, Shannon guides people to use food and movement for a heightened sense of health and happiness.  She leads corporate seminars on health, teaches yoga and fitness classes, and hosts healthy cooking evenings and retreats in and out of NYC. You can find more information at www.shannonsodano.com.

Giveaway! On June 11th, Shannon kicks off her outdoor yoga classes with live cello music in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. The first two people to share this post and tell us in the comments will get free passes to one of these classes in June or July! View www.playintheparknyc.com for complete schedule and details.

Take Back Our Power – Create Your Own Health Authority

By Shannon Sodano

The Wizard of Oz is a story many of us are familiar with. Dorothy gets swept away from Kansas during a tornado and goes on a journey in search of how to get back home. Along the way, she meets an endearing group of characters who are all searching for something of their own. The Scarecrow is in need of a brain, the Tin Man wants a heart, and the Lion is looking for courage. The Wizard of Oz claims to have everything they are looking for, yet he turns out to be a regular person without any magical powers to help solve the characters’ problems. What at first seems disappointing turns out to be an empowering lesson: Dorothy and her crew don’t need anyone to give them what they’re looking for; they’ve already had it within themselves.

I encountered my own fair share of wizards a few years ago when I was eagerly seeking a cure to an injury that ended my collegiate running career prematurely. My injury stopped me from doing what I so badly wanted to do – keep running – which was the very thing that had gotten me injured in the first place. I sought out countless doctors and therapists, each of whom claimed his method would make me run again. I became frustrated as I turned from one authority to another, gaining neither peace of mind nor more physical mobility. Eventually, as I got more and more disheartened, I began to realize that no one could fix my body for me. This was something I needed to do myself.

Fortunately, I was also able to see my situation from the perspective of a health authority as I studied nutrition at my university. My classmates and I spent four years delving into the details of what to feed the body and when, only to uncover more contradictions with more education. In one of our very last classes, we learned that the same people who sourced our health information were those who produced many of the foods that the government recommended we eat every day. We not only needed to take what we had learned with a grain of salt, but we had to question whether or not we would choose to follow the guidance of these authorities.

Collectively, today, we are getting our health information from sources that claim to have the “one and only” answer for lasting health. We have been led to believe that without magazines, government guidelines, private trainers and nutritionists, our health cannot sustain itself. When new health advice emerges, we tend to forget about prior ideas and approaches, wanting to accept the new idea as our one and final answer to a myriad of health challenges. With new and often contradictory health information emerging rapidly via modern mainstream media, how do we know what to believe?

Putting our trust in these authorities can leave us feeling discouraged, confused, guilty, and intimidated. This needs to change. This change can only happen when we acknowledge that, like the heroes of the Wizard of Oz, the answers lie within us. In truly listening to the needs of our bodies, we become the source of our own authority. Our bodies know what’s best; the key is that we become sensitive to what they’re telling us.

This is easier to do than we think. Spending time moving our bodies, surrounding ourselves in nature, and practicing some form of meditation makes us feel fully present and connects us with our physical health. Additionally, a health guide can be a positive force in our lives if they encourage us to partake in physical activities that bring us joy and strengthen our health as a positive by-product. This approach transcends ideas of what is considered ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ for our health and empowers us to be our own health authority. For health that will last a lifetime, let’s remember we’ve had access to it all along.


  1. Sandi Mitchell

    I have to concur with your article. I have been plaqued with a myriad of “mystery” issues (in ICU 2 days with a life threatening heart arrythmia that the physicians could not tell me why), so I did my own research after no physician or test could tell me why. I was told I had to just live with it. I did a little bit of life review of things that my mom had told me about myself when I was a child + reading up on what was in most processed foods and did a bit of experimenting with diet. Final result…NO arrythmia! In my research about most foods and what is in them, my conclusion is this. Most of the stuff that they put in our foods that they deem safe and FDA approved is chemically filled garbage. MSG, Aspartame is like a deadly thing for me and I am sure is an underlying culprit in a great many other immune conditions that many people suffer from and the epidemic of obesity that is plaguing this country. MSG has no value other than to enhance flavor of substandard foods and tell your brain that its good and you need more of it! Other countries ban these kinds of things in foods because of the danger to people. But in the name of money and big business, these things are laced in many of our foods. I bet if people got educated on alot of these things and demanded change in the industry standards, we would see less health issues and maybe even weight issues and more health. I have worked in the medical field for 20+ years and the drugs that most physicians prescribe are taught to them by people with marketing degrees. I would rather not be given medication based on what some drug rep with a marketing degree has told my doctor, so he prescribes and basically experiments on us as patients until it kills a certain amount of people and then they take it off the market. I know I sound like a radical, but I have seen and heard it all. You cannot just delagate your body for someone else to manage..it might be what might ruin your life in the end……
    So I guess you can call me a medical heretic on some levels. Medicine in the cases of trauma are excellent but as far as health management, as sadly lacking these days…..that’s my two cents worth..

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