Promoting Lifetime Wellness
Island Wellness Market provides natural and organic products as well as yoga
Wellness is not just about a healthy diet or getting enough exercise – it is also about taking care of yourself mentally.
AMY SAWYER knows this all too well after years working in a high-stress, corporate job that led her to a path of total wellness.
In 2012, she opened Island Wellness Market, “a health food market geared not only toward providing natural and organic products, but also a forum intended to help educate the community on how to live in a more healthy, balanced life,” according to the website.
A few years later, she incorporated yoga teachings to her offerings as a way for others to enjoy what she describes as “profound personal and spiritual growth” because of regular yoga practice.
“Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a helper,” Sawyer says. “As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answers varied between nurse, teacher, veterinarian, doctor, psychiatrist and physical therapist; it was always a career that revolved around helping others in some way.”
Though Amy began her career in the pharmaceutical industry, she had a desire to educate herself on nutrition and holistic health.
“The more I learned about holistic health alternatives, the more I wanted to share what I was learning with others,” Sawyer says. “This whole world of natural remedies existed that so many people knew nothing about! I found myself lingering in the aisles at Tidal Creek, reading food labels and trying different products that were so different from what could be found in the regular grocery store.
Island Wellness Market started as a health food store offering lots of food along with a smoothie bar, vitamins, and supplements, and natural skincare but Sawyer quickly discovered that with food sales came small profit margins and lots of losses, so she began to focus more on supplements and skincare, she says.
“In late 2016, I moved into a shared location with Salty Dog Yoga, let go of the smoothie bar and food, and focused on supplements for health and healing, natural and cruelty-free skincare, essential oils and unique gifts to inspire health of mind and spirit as well as the body,” Sawyer says.
During this time of heightened health awareness, many people are looking for a way to live healthier lives and focus on their own needs both physically and mentally.
“My biggest seller these days is CBD, which is helpful for a variety of issues and ailments,” Sawyer says. “Customers keep coming back for it, along with other supplements for pain, digestion, stress, sleep and anxiety, and essential oils.”
Besides carrying aromatherapy products from Pranarôm and skin products from Mad Hippie, the store supports small, local businesses by carrying Bethesda Hemp, Remedies to Roll, and Re-Eco Design.
Additionally, the pandemic has changed the way Sawyer interacts with her customers, but some normalcy is slowly coming back.
“I usually host various events throughout the year in collaboration with Salty Dog Yoga; however, the pandemic has severely limited us this year,” Sawyer says. “Under normal circumstances, we offer regular pop-up shops in the yoga studio to host local artists and vendors, an annual Vision Board workshop in January, book clubs and various other wellness/yoga combined events.”
Sawyer has been hosting Community Wellness Morning featuring yoga and also hopes to host a holiday pop-up shop later this year as well as its vision board workshop in January.
While health and wellness are important, they are also a commitment that must be focused on. There is no quick fix for unhealthy habits, but there are ways in which well-rounded wellness can be achieved through consistency and attention to what is important in life.
“In order to keep your immune system strong and your body functioning optimally, it needs balance and consistent nourishment on all levels – mind, body, and spirit,” Sawyer says.
That includes implementing preventative measures on a regular basis which can help keep you healthy for the long term, she adds.
“Taking one yoga class can definitely bring an immediate sense of calm and strength but committing to a regular practice is when the real benefits kick in and the magic happens, she says. “Supporting small local businesses once in a while is always helpful, but regularly spending your dollars locally with your neighbors who truly care about your health and your experience is what makes your community thrive.”
To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.
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