NFL Broadcaster Finds True Calling in Yoga

After 15 years as a broadcast journalist, Mary Strong-Sullivan appeared to be at the pinnacle of her career. She went from covering local and national news for NBC and CNN, to the sidelines of Pac-10 and professional football for Fox Sports Net and NFL Network. But after graduating from Loyola Marymout University, enjoying a stint on the AVP professional beach volleyball tour and spinning that experience into a highly successful sports journalism career, Strong still had one burning question. “Deep down I knew I wasn’t living my purpose,” Strong says. “I began asking myself…what is my true calling?”

Determined to find the answer, Strong began asking others for advice. “A friend told me to ask for my purpose out loud and just put it out there,” Strong says. “I immediately asked her what she had been drinking?” she laughs, “but I thought…why not?”

The next morning, Strong walked down to the beach hoping to find a quiet place to clear her head. “I sat in front of the ocean and closed my eyes,” she says. “My thoughts began to dissipate and my mind became quiet. I remember feeling very calm.” Strong realized she had achieved what she studied for years in yoga. “I tried to meditate before, but was unsuccessful,” she recalls. “This time it just happened organically. I was finally in a place where there were no distractions and I could quiet my mind.”

Strong believes her meditation experience set the stage for a vision that came to her later that night. She remembers the details as if it were yesterday. “Before I went to bed I asked for my purpose,” she says. “I had a dream I was walking into a building and saw people practicing yoga. There was a sign as I entered that said, The Green Yogi. I remember feeling very connected. I woke up and wrote down everything I envisioned. It was like I had seen a snapshot of the future.”

Yoga was not entirely new to Strong. She was introduced to the ancient practice during a semester in college. Yoga helped balance her hectic lifestyle and repair her sports injuries, and she eventually became a certified yoga instructor. “I taught classes on and off throughout my broadcasting career,” Strong says, “but I never really thought of it as a viable career. It was more of a hobby.”

Strong spent a year searching for the space she envisioned in her dream. In October 2009, she opened
The Green Yogi in Manhattan Beach, California. Two years, and over 4,000 clients later, her dream is still blossoming, and the skeptics have started to dwindle in numbers. “I still remember my friends and family telling me I was crazy for wanting to leave my career in broadcasting,” Strong says. “I knew that reinventing myself in my mid-thirties wouldn’t be easy, but my gut was telling me it was the right thing to do. I was finally ready to create the life I wanted to live.”

lululemon ambassador (photo by Tai Kerbs)

lululemon ambassador Mary Strong-Sullivan (photo by Tai Kerbs)

Strong now firmly believes, what you ask for you shall receive. “What comes back to us may not be what we expect, but we have to be open to receiving whatever it is,” she explains. “In my case, the answers came in a dream. For others, the signs may be more subtle.”

Either way, she says, the clarity of her vision would not have been possible without quieting her mind through meditation. “I was looking for the answer on the outside, but it was on the inside the entire time. I just didn’t know how to access it,” Strong says. “It was like trying to have an intimate conversation in front of a loud stereo. I needed to turn the music off first.”

Strong can still be found on the anchor desk at NFL Network a few nights a week, but most of her time is spent teaching yoga at her studio and running her business. Her goal, she says, is share the benefits of yoga and meditation with as many people as possible. “I’ve seen what a difference it’s made in my life. Now I want to help others become their best self, and connect with what makes them happy,” Strong says with a warm smile as she sits cross-legged in the outdoor garden of her Manhattan Beach studio. “I finally found my true calling. Even the most challenging moments are joyful because I am literally living my dream.”