We had the good fortune of connecting with Arroya Karian and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Arroya, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I feel I could have a fairly long-winded answer for this one, so I’ll do my best to keep it concise. I have always been passionate about helping others. As I got older, I realized how knowledgeable I am about the physical body and fitness (from years of being a dancer and athlete), as well as how deeply connected I am to utilizing movement to build mental resilience and encourage self-love (thanks to my own struggles with mental health). My own experience as an artist, athlete, and human who struggles – led me to obtain several fitness certifications and conceptualize Mindful Meetups. It’s a way for me to give back to others and hopefully inspire people to prioritize their own health and wellness. Mindful Meetups is a product of quarantine 2020; however, the concept began nearly a decade ago. Growing up active and eventually achieving a BFA in Music Theater had me convinced that regular activity was just a typical part of life. It didn’t take long, after graduating college, to realize maintaining physical activity and healthy habits would be a lifelong commitment. How do you stay active and take care of yourself when life’s obstacles persistently get in the way? You find ways to move “mindfully”. And you “meet up” with those who will hold you accountable. I enjoy sharing my personal experience because it validates the struggles I’ve had and allows me to motivate others to discover their own inner power in creating healthier and happier lives. It’s all about being realistic and setting goals – finding attainable ways to move towards those goals – and constructing habits that allow you to maintain (and build upon) your progress. These discoveries have been so powerful for me and my own growth – it only made sense to share with others.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think what sets the Mindful Meetups brand (and myself) apart from other fitness coaches, is my dedication to attainable fitness strategies, self-love, and mindful living. I grew up in theater and sports but my passion has always been dancing. While I love performing, I struggled with generalized anxiety and panic disorder for a majority of my life. Those struggles often left me focused on the “what ifs”, dreading the future, and held me back from fully enjoying my life. The one thing that always brought me joy (and still does) – is movement. No matter if it’s onstage, in the living room, or down the street – I just love to move! Upon graduating college with a BFA in Music Theater and Minor in Business, I found maintaining an active life in the “real world” was more challenging than I had ever expected. I would take classes, go on hikes, ride my bike, or visit the gym, but I often found myself falling into the rut of no motivation. Even though I preferred being physically strong, it was difficult to maintain regular activity while feeling like my days were consumed with job hustling. As I became busier working in the live entertainment industry, I found myself becoming more sedentary (ironic, I know). And as my activity level dropped, so did my mental health. It became strikingly clear to me that daily movement was not only key to my physical strength, but more importantly to my moods and mental resilience. Everything is connected. Looking back on my experience as a professional dancer, as well as dance and fitness instructor, I realized the challenge of sustaining daily activity was not a problem I was experiencing alone. The struggle is widespread. So I focused my attention back into teaching and breaking down complex movements, poses, or postures to make them more accessible for others. Movement should be fun and it should feel good. It’s not about having to make time everyday for a full-blown workout, but rather finding mindful ways to stay active on a daily basis. I LOVE inspiring others to incorporate fitness into their busy lives in ways that makes sense for them. I’m all about being inclusive, compassionate, and realistic. I believe health and wellness start from within and if we want a healthy and happy life, we have to first learn how to listen to our bodies, address our needs, and continually check in with ourselves to ensure we are mindfully caring for our minds, bodies, and souls. Focus inward. Find your why. Live day by day. This type of mindful living is what gives our health longevity.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I was born and raised in Long Beach, Ca – and while I went away for college, it wasn’t long before I was moving back to my hometown with my now husband. I adore Long Beach. The diversity, the community, the love for everything artistic and/or outdoors… it’s just a great city live in. If my best friend were visiting me here, we would definitely make the most of being outside and connecting with nature and the community. We would make multiple stops at the beach (or beaches I should say) and probably surf with my dad, likely take a day trip up to the mountains and/or desert, and eat at as many local mom & pop restaurants as we can. A few of my favorites are Casa Sanchez (a Karian family tradition), Nick’s Deli, and the Crooked Duck. I would also be sure to squeeze in a trip to the Long Beach Aquarium, picnic in some local parks, and maybe even drive the new Gerald Desmond bridge (the build was supervised by a middle school classmate of mine – how cool is that!?!). Our week together would be full of walks, talks, and simply soaking up the sun.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would not be where I am today without the incredible love and support from my parents. They have always pushed me to find my own truth and passions in life. Even when things got (and get) difficult, they have a consistent way of showing me love. Showing me pride. And supporting my journey (no matter how messy it gets). To add to that, I’ve been blessed with an insanely supportive and brilliant partner who has not only believed in me despite my struggles, but has also created a beautifully non-judgmental space for us to grow together. And last but certainly not least, I want to shout out to the incredible friends I have. They say those you surround yourself with are what you will become and I’m beyond proud of the strong, inspirational, and dedicated inner circle I’ve associated myself with over the years. People like Donna DeLia (founder of Beauty YOUniversity) who has been my own accountability buddy as we both launch new businesses. Without love and support, where are we, really?

Website: https://mindfulmap.lpages.co/mindful-meetups-offerings/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mindfulmeetups/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MindfulMeetups

Other: Email – Support@mindfulmeetups.net

Image Credits
The yellow dress (of me twirling) – PC: Kait Winston. And the main picture of me smelling the flower – PC: Claire Esparros.

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