Love Peace & Soul Retreat Celebrates Five Years Of Health & Wellness
by James Coulter
Cortez has been performing yoga for four years. He is a certified instructor with the Veteran’s Yoga Project. In addition, he has been offering yoga instruction at the Cortez Training Center, an affordable holistic health and fitness center in Tampa.
At the center, he teaches yoga and other techniques, including personal training, self-defense, massage, cardio, kickboxing, and other forms of non-traditional forms of health and fitness through a holistic approach.
His mission has been to reach out to veterans and families alike. He knows from first-hand experience how yoga can help decrease stress and increase overall mental health.
Often, he teaches yoga at the center. Sometimes he hosts it at events such as the Love Peace & Soul Retreat in Downtown Auburndale last Saturday.
“This event is amazing,” he said. “I love what this event represents: community [and] bringing people together. all of the vendors are holistic. [We are] really out here having a great time networking with a great sense of community.”
Cortez hosted one of the two outdoor yoga classes at the health and fitness event in Downtown Auburndale City Park last Saturday. The Love Peace & Soul Retreat also showcased several local vendors offering their products to promote holistic health and wellness.
The event also included live music, food trucks serving vegan soul food and Jamaican cuisine, and free haircuts provided by Jairus Rutherford, owner of Second 2 None Barber Shop.
Love Peace And Soul Retreat was hosted by Pieces to Peace Counseling, a local mental health counseling service. Its facility originally opened in Auburndale, but due to a fire, it was moved to Lakeland.
Antoinette Pollard, founder and owner, hosted last week’s event to celebrate their five-year anniversary and educate the community about mental health and men’s health. As June was Men’s Health Month, Pollard wanted to raise awareness about men’s health issues, especially for the black and brown community.
Overall, she appreciated the turnout for the event. She was personally torn between whether she loved the yoga classes or the wellness discussion panel. Either way, she loved seeing her local community come together to be educated on the health issues that affect them and the men in their lives.
“I think this event was a great way to celebrate by giving back to the community,” she said. “Our guest speakers had an attention on men’s health and the importance on mental health, they are doing a good job conveying that message…We are glad the community was interested enough in this topic to show some support and collect resources.”
Also part of the event was a health and wellness discussion panel, where many local experts and individuals offered their perspectives on common health issues.
Larry Moore of Heartland Rural Health from Highlands County and his other panelists discussed the importance of mental health as it pertains to black and brown people and other people of color. They also discussed seeking out mental health assistance, using medication, and “how important it is for your physical [health] to line up with your emotional.”
“We talked about the need to listen to younger generations, what would be best for them,” he said. “The one thing I would like to take away from this event is that young people have a voice and it should be heard.”
Diane Moore, a psychologist, attended the event to help bring awareness about mental health and educate people on the importance of knowing about their mental status.
She appreciated the turnout for the event, and she loved seeing so many people come to learn more about their mental health needs.
“The takeaway point is getting in touch with your mental health,” she said. “We are trying to incorporate the community because the community needs help in this day and age, and it needs to know that it is support in different areas.”