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Actress and Author Alyson Stoner on Using Movement to Empower and Reconnect the Mind and Body

Photo: Courtesy of Adam Battaglia

Alyson Stoner has been in over 200 movies, TV shows and other productions. But these days, her biggest role is being a mental health advocate.

The 30-year-old has written a book, “MIND BODY PRIDE: The 7-Step Guide for Deeper Inner Connection.”

“I wanted to provide a place for queer folks to reconnect their mind and body, and uncover the story that they internalized, so that they can feel free to start telling a new story,” she says.

Stoner, who identifies as pansexual, wrote the book after started studying the disproportionate challenges that queer folks face in terms of mental and physical health. She learned about the higher rates of violence and suicide, and that many in the LGBTQIA+ community feel like outsiders in society.

The book explores the mind-body connection, helping readers reconnect with themselves, self, release stress and embody their authentic well-being. 

The feedback is awe-inspiring: “To hear that people feel free to be themselves and to reclaim their story is the best news, and it is totally the path that I want to continue on,” she says.

Connecting to her why

Stoner grew up in the spotlight. Her breakout role was dancing in Missy Elliott’s “Work It” video.  She was a Disney star after that, including roles in “Camp Rock,” “The Suite Life of Zach and Cody,” and “Cheaper by the Dozen,” among others. 

These days, she’s still voice acting and is active on social media. She’s also a host on the “Simplexity” podcast.

“I had a very chaotic upbringing, so the best thing I can offer myself currently is structure and civilization,” she says. “Having space for consistency, reliability, and I currently have a personal practice of meditation, movement, and reading every day.”

She’s intentional about setting time aside for her self-care practices but she’s flexible about the duration and intensity. She stays motivated by focusing on her why – that her well-being helps her better serve others.

“I’m trying to let go of the perfectionism around self-care, and return to the truth,” she says. “I know these habits are helpful and they yield to meaningful growth. So it’s worth continuing to apply energy towards them.”

Feeling confident

The actress knows how tough it can be growing up and understanding what’s happening in your mind and body. 

She says it helps to ask yourself, what would make you feel more confident? Lean in to your answer.

For example, Stoner researched the science of how her thoughts and feelings operated, so she wasn’t surprised or embarrassed by them. Some find an artistic outlet to help them release and process emotions in uncomfortable moments. Others tell someone they’re struggling so they don’t have to face things alone.

Movement Genius

Stoner wants to make personal transformation accessible, affordable and relevant for everyone.  She encourages people to, “know that you are deserving and worthy of health and well-being, in a way that works authentically for you.”

Her company, Movement Genius is a healing virtual space that anyone can access. It’s dedicated to providing movement-based practices for people to improve their mental and emotional health. 

The non-athletic classes, which are tailored to natural body language, are designed alongside clinicians and psychotherapists, to ensure that they have therapeutic senses. For example, there are classes for people to do while seated at their desk, as well as a looping meditation, and open guided movements. 

“We’re in our first round of people trying the classes, and see the transformation taking place in real time is so encouraging and such a phenomenal indicator of our ability to heal and to actualize our fullest potential,” she says.

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