“We can never fully grasp the reach of our own drop’s ripples. Some people will let us know how we have affected them; some will remain a mystery.”
Meet Sumara Montalvo, an Essentrics® Instructor from Montreal, Canada. She first discovered Essentrics while suffering from debilitating back pain while living in Switzerland. Her experience with the powerful healing effects of this program inspired her to become an instructor and share Essentrics with her local communities. Read on to learn more about Sumara’s journey and discover how Essentrics transformed her life and the lives of those she teaches.
What initially sparked your passion for Essentrics®?
My mother has been a fan of Miranda Esmonde-White’s Classical Stretch® for years. Around 9 years ago, my mother gifted me an Essentrics workout DVD by her daughter Sahra Esmonde-White, hoping I would also get hooked on the feel-good benefits of this special workout technique. She was correct!
It’s amazing how such a simple gift can be so transformative. Can you share with us how Essentrics® helped you overcome challenges and improved your physical & mental well-being?
I spent several years of my daily life completely dictated by my back pain. I had to go on sick leave from my desk job, had been prescribed meds, did many rounds of physio, regularly sought out massage therapists and acupuncturists for some relief, bought every cream, patch or accessory for back problems… I spent more money than I care to admit trying to solve my pain issue and none of it gave me long-lasting relief. I would feel better for a little while, but it always came back.
Worst of all was my feeling of deep shame to be plagued with this as a young adult, especially during a time of my life where I normally should have been thriving. I felt I was a burden to my husband who worried about me when I had to stay home to rest my back. I felt I was not a good mother on those days I did not go out with the stroller because it would have hurt too much.
I did try other types of exercises usually recommended for posture but they either made my pain flare up or were too boring for me to stick to! With Essentrics®, I felt time would fly by and I could feel some instant relief after class.
I immediately recognized it would be good for my pain management.
The only thing holding me back for a while was my lack of consistency. But once I fully committed to practicing Essentrics® regularly, I was utterly surprised to discover that my back pain could be 100% completely healed. I remember jumping up and down and telling my husband when I realized I had experienced my first 14 days without pain! I didn’t even believe that was possible!
That’s an incredible transformation! Can you tell us more about how Essentrics® influenced your own personal fitness journey and eventually led to you becoming an instructor?
The calling I felt to change careers was very strong. It was clear to me that by becoming a certified Essentrics® instructor, I had the opportunity to change lives, or at the minimum, share a workout that will make people feel good in their bodies.
I started teaching virtually in summer 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. I was still living in Zurich, Switzerland back then. It was thrilling to introduce Essentrics® to a new market where it was relatively unknown.
I have since moved back to my native Montreal, Canada, where I teach group and private classes. I teach in both English & French. I also recently got my dream job working for the Essentrics company as the Flagship Studio Manager.
Essentrics® has led me to living my best life!
Transitioning careers during a challenging year is impressive. Now that you’re back in Montreal, how has being part of the Essentrics community impacted you?
I started my instructor journey in the German-speaking part of Switzerland where Essentrics was unknown. I joined a women’s entrepreneur group while living there which helped spread the word. I think it is fair to say there is a whole bunch of Swiss people who know Essentrics now because of me!
Since I moved back to Montreal, I still apply that same small business mindset which is needed to put myself out there to get more people to discover the benefits of Essentrics. I like to post content on social media as well to give a wide audience a glimpse of what this special workout technique has to offer. As a studio manager, I am fortunate to work on expanding the Montreal Essentrics community on a wider scale.
Can you tell us what excites you most about being an Essentrics instructor & what keeps you motivated to continue teaching?
I like to call Essentrics “feel-good fitness.” It’s a gentler approach that doesn’t make you feel like you’re punishing your body. It promotes something positive without relying on shame or fear-based marketing tactics. This is the kind of fitness revolution I want to lead and support.
That positivity certainly shines through in your approach! What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start their own fitness journey with Essentrics®?
Essentrics can be incredibly beneficial for our overall well-being because it focuses on connecting with how our body feels right in this moment – its signals, respecting its limitations, appreciating what the body can do today, being reminded of how that serves us, etc.
That positive change in dialogue creates a ripple effect which enhances a person’s mental and physical health. Working out because we are honoring what our body can do in the present moment is tremendously more effective than exercising out of fear.
My favorite kind of transformation to witness in some students happens on the inside. Some show up with beliefs that can make them feel uncomfortable to join a group class because they are very hard on themselves. They are afraid of how they will be perceived in class due to their age, weight, or lack of mobility. I love seeing these students face their fears and regain confidence as they grow throughout their Essentrics fitness journey.
It’s inspiring to hear about your experiences and the profound impact Essentrics® has had on your life and the lives of your students. Before we wrap up, can you share a memorable experience or success story of students you’ve worked with?
When thinking of what impact our life and actions have on others, I like to use the image of a drop hitting the surface of the water, creating lots of tiny ripples. We can never fully grasp the reach of our own drop’s ripples. Some people will let us know how we have affected them; some will remain a mystery. Sahra Esmonde-White’s ripple reached all the way to my tiny village in Switzerland when I got inspired by her DVD. Today as an instructor, I am in awe of the impact my teaching can have on others, no matter how big or small.
I had a student with chronic neck pain due to a herniated disc who was able to become pain-free. She is a multi-disciplinary artist who now can work more freely, her neck not bothering her anymore when she has her nose down in her work.
Another student who was seeing a PT for pelvic floor tension pain which was radiating in her hips had previously given up on exercise altogether because the forms she had tried had only exacerbated her issues. She was able to enjoy moving again with Essentrics while getting rid of the pain that was hindering her for the first time in years.
A senior student had broken her ankle many years ago and was resigned that she would never be able to regain any mobility in part of her toes of that foot again. Her stiff toes were affecting her balance. We literally jumped for joy when we saw her pinky toe wiggle after a few weeks of footwork exercises.
There are rewards to enjoy in every class. On a smaller scale, watching a student take a big exhale and relax their shoulders, noticing how they seem to feel better than before we started, will always be profoundly satisfying!
Find an Essentrics Instructor Near You!