What does it take to turn courageous ambition and bold dreams into reality? Perseverance and a will to forge ahead in the face of life’s inevitable obstacles are some solutions. In line with our mission to celebrate success and inspire others to persist in achieving their goals, we highlight Sylvia Feliciano, a global trailblazer changing the face of leadership.
Feeling unfulfilled and uninspired by society’s definition of success, Feliciano decided to seek more from life than just personal achievement. She found it in a place she didn’t expect — a yoga studio. After trying yoga nidra — a state in which the body is completely relaxed, and the practitioner becomes systematically and increasingly aware of the inner world — she discovered something different about herself. “In this healing state, I realized the power of unshakeable peace and equanimity — no longer being controlled by limiting beliefs, emotions or feelings,” she recalls. The unexpected discovery of her true nature changed her so profoundly that she decided to share it with others.
During a yoga teacher training course, Feliciano came to realize her unique gift: her voice — a voice that she had unknowingly used to heal herself and others throughout her entire life. She had first expressed it through song as a member of a youth church choir, then through workplace projects around race and social justice. Now, she uses it as a guide to inner peace through her yoga company Solace Mind.
Feliciano launched her business to bring healing to others and to shed awareness on underrepresented demographics in the world of yoga who face trauma — people of color, children, and the military. She also provides stress management workshops as an enhancement to workforce and community wellness programs.
All that I am and all that I ever want to be depends solely on me. — Sylvia Feliciano
Feliciano began her journey of personal empowerment through a formal education and traditional measures of success. Fortunately, it will not end that way. “I have realized that taking home hefty paychecks will not be my professional legacy,” she says.
“My greatest professional achievements have been the calls for mentorship and guidance and the nods of respect from colleagues who knew I could relate directly to people in need through a shared life experience.”
Feliciano’s yoga community consists of people in need from all religions, racial backgrounds and economic groups. Many suffer from everyday stress, trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Some are military personnel, high-flying jetsetters, single mothers, suburban fathers, and those from marginalized communities who have never been taught emotional intelligence or how to access self-care.
Sylvia has made a career of speaking up for those in need, but she’s not trying to be a voice for the voiceless; she believes there is no such thing. “I have been told that my true gift is that I create safe spaces for people to use their own voice,” she says.
Solace Mind is Sylvia’s way of teaching people how to nurture and restore themselves back to their true nature. “Learning to accept ourselves just as we are, with no judgement, is truly transformative. Solace Mind is my way to show people how to heal themselves — to find that personal empowerment that is present in every body and every mind.”