Yoga Enterprise

A Journey to Wellness

Dena Dodd Perry wears a silk satin top and pants by Sally LaPoint, Neiman Marcus Northbrook Court. Photography by Robin Subar / styling by Theresa DeMaria / hair & make-up by Leanna Ernest from Distinct Artists

YOU WOULD BE It’s hard to find someone who embodies more health and wellbeing than Dena Dodd Perry of Lake Forest. Perry describes herself as a healthy lifestyle engineer, working as both an inclusive health advisor and a certified yoga teacher. Over the years she has brought her wealth of knowledge to bear in a variety of ways, most recently being the author of the newly released Detoxelicious, a ten-day, powerful, yet practical, self-help book that offers detox instructions.

While this multitasking woman has now spent her life helping others on their food-fitness journey, she graduated from Northwestern University with an engineering degree. But she was always drawn to the sciences, which now definitely come into play.

She grew up in Detroit as one of four children and studied biology in high school. “That gave me a leg up when I got to the northwest,” says Perry, especially when she started teaching other students. “I’ve always been a great STEM lawyer.” The pride is evident in Perry’s voice as she shares that many of these students are now doctors themselves.

“I was thinking about medical school,” says Perry, but she was disappointed because it was unaffordable and decided to become an engineer instead.

This fortuitous decision led Perry to meet her husband Jeff while they were both in the management consulting industry. They have three children – two sons in college and a daughter in high school.

Motivated to find solutions to some of their personal health problems, Perry can now help guide others on their own wellness journey.

Perry was always physically active; She plays golf, plays paddle tennis, and runs. And during one of those activities, most likely while running, there was a fragment stuck between her L4-L5 vertebrae that was excruciatingly painful and caused severe sciatica.

Perry shares when she met neurosurgeon Dr. Jonathan Citow saw, “He said, ‘I can definitely fix this. You should be able to return to all of your normal activities. Just don’t lift anything over 45 pounds repeatedly for the rest of your life. ‘So this basically changes life, doesn’t it? But during the exit interview, he said, “You know, as long as you keep stretching and watching your weight, you should be doing well.” And I said, what about yoga? He said yoga was great. “

This is how Perry’s yoga career began. “I’ve been teaching for five years. I completed 200 hours of yoga certification and an additional 300 hours of advanced training, which culminated in my yoga work. “

Before the pandemic, Perry had many corporate yoga clients. She went to various companies and taught classes. One of her longtime students is Tony Asghari, a senior mechanical engineer at Continental Automotive in Deer Park. “Your classes are fantastic,” says Asghari. “She always comes prepared. In addition, Dena is very sporty and brings you sportiness in a calm, relaxed and consistent manner. She is a energetic person and she is really well grounded. “Some of Asghari’s favorite aspects of Perry’s classes were” the way she spoke, her intonation, her flow, her intensity and character, her happy nature. I never try to miss a class. “

Perry is currently unable to teach in person due to COVID-19 restrictions. She is currently teaching virtually at Vivaya.

Perry wears a black tulle top and skirt by Akris Punto, Neiman Marcus Northbrook Court

“My account is @DenaDoddlife on Instagram Live, and that’s where I try to emphasize that we are on this journey. You look and feel better based on the food you eat and your yoga fitness routine. I’m a big believer in yoga fitness just because of the situation I found myself in. And I believe that my gift to the community is to share my journey, to inspire them to heal their own bodies in any way they see fit. “

Yoga and exercise are only part of the equation. Perry is also committed to healthy eating. A few years ago she took part in a workshop given by Dr. Vesna Skul, a Chicago-based functional medicine physician. “My yoga business is important. But what I eat is also important. I had already completed a blueprint cleanse clean that was liquid for two days but found that I got a severe headache. And I’d lose three or four pounds, but I didn’t like that side effect. “

Perry prefers what Dr. Skul suggests – a vegan, organic, plant-based plan for 10 days. This cleansing aims to restore the cells and is highly effective in antioxidants.

“In a way, the book is a 10-day mindfulness, eating, and fitness detox program where we encourage people to order the detox cleanse. This is supported by US News & World Report. The process is called Recognize, Reset, and Realize. Realize what is wrong with your body. Let your doctor examine you. Then reset. This is on page 32 of my book, and you will reset yourself through detox with the help of tested supplements. And then you realize results and evaluate your cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. “

Dr. Skul says she and Dena clicked the instant they met. “She asked what I thought my patients should do. And that takes responsibility for your own and your family’s health by doing the best you can. We live in such a polluted environment that I have been advising my patients for decades instead of curling up in a fetal position and calling it a day. I accept the need for targeted cellular detoxification through foods and supplements. “

Dr. Skul is enthusiastic about Perry’s book Detoxelicious. “I think it speaks for itself. It’s beautiful, well-written, and easy to follow. I think having it as a tool and then having conversations with either a fitness lifestyle coach or a doctor who can beautify and personalize it is very valuable. “

“Even if you are addicted to fast food or carnivores, you can be vegan for 10 days,” says Dr. Scul. “Especially when – usually on the fourth day or so – the clarity comes and you can see really remarkable and fantastic results with this type of food. Then you can reintroduce clean animal protein into your lifestyle while staying away from the clear culprits that make up many people’s diets and that cause the most health problems. “

Looking back on her own journey, Perry says, “These things in life happened for a reason, and I think it led me to take a more mindful approach. It got me down this path of open-mindedness with endless possibilities including food and fitness. “

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