Gente de NAHJ: For news yogi Leslie Rangel, the practice is therapy
Yoga has helped Leslie Rangel deal with childhood trauma, burnout, depression and anxiety at different stages of her life.
When a winter storm made its way through Texas in February, the statewide energy crisis that resulted made her anxious and sad because the week-long power shortage and uncertainty reminded her of times in her childhood when her first generation Mexican-American family was homeless. To cope, she turned to yoga.
Rangel, a 31-year-old anchor for FOX 7 Austin, founded The News Yogi, Yoga for Journalists in May 2020 after a friend invited her to lead a yoga class for journalists experiencing burnout amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She has spent 13 years exploring the magic of the practice, which she describes as making time and space to check in with oneself.
Though she was nervous about it and had been sitting on the idea for a while, the feedback she received afterward was unlike anything she could have imagined, she said.
“Wow, where have you been our whole lives?” she said fellow journalists told her. “We need you.”
This week, Rangel led two yoga sessions for journalists attending the NAHJ virtual conference. Yoga has taught her and others to pause and become better attuned to her emotions.
It helps to “notice how you’re feeling,” Rangel said. “Taking a pause and really trying to understand what you can do to find balance in your life.”
Aurora Martínez is a junior at the University of Florida, where she studies journalism. In 2021, she was awarded a grant to help educate diabetes patients in her home country of Nicaragua. She has worked at WUFT News, an affiliate of NPR in Gainesville, Fla., and its Spanish-language counterpart, Noticias WUFT. In the fall, she will return as an assistant producer for Noticias WUFT. Reach her at auroraceciliam [at] gmail [dot] com and on Twitter @AuroraCeciliaM.