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Laura Bianchi's Mixed Martial Arts Practice

To keep my body in shape and my mind sharp, I began training in mixed martial arts after a serious injury that prevented me from continuing my daily yoga practice. I soon found MMA was so much more than a training regimen.

Part of what makes the “art” of mixed martial arts incredible, is the fact that it requires its students to conquer and excel at a chess match that is as much physical, as it is mental and emotional.  The most skilled in the sport have not only mastered numerous disciplines – boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu – but they have trained their bodies and minds to continue far beyond what many would consider reasonable limitations. The result is as beautiful and enchanting as it is devastating.

I have found incredible similarities in my yoga practice, MMA training and professional work in cannabis business law –  each requiring commitment, dedication, discipline, fortitude, patience, passion and an indomitable will to succeed.

In the MMA community, I have also found an extended family – through the grind, the sweat, the pain, the good days and bad days, wins and losses, an incredible support system naturally evolves. We come from all backgrounds, professions, ethnicities and walks of life. I have been blessed in so many ways, so I find it an honor to pass on those blessings by supporting my fight family, bringing positive attention to the sport and shine a spotlight on the incredibly gifted athletes that fearlessly enter octagons across the world.

And I advocate for the responsible integration of safe and natural remedies into training and recovery regimens, including cannabidiol (CBD).

Laura Bianchi trains at her MMA gym in Scottsdale, Arizona

Laura Bianchi's Yoga Practice

I found yoga in 2003. What started as a physical outlet to increase my flexibility soon became an obsession. I became a devoted yogi, spending hours a day on my practice. I appreciated the physical, intellectual and emotional demands of yoga, plus the fact that I there was always more to conquer. There was always something new to learn, always deeper levels of understanding to unearth. And I loved what the practice taught me about mindfulness and stress management, how I learned to find calmness in the midst of chaos and exertion.

While an injury put a stop to my intensive daily yoga regimen, I will always be a yogi. I use my yoga stretches and teach them to fighters from my gym and others to help avoid injuries. And I call on the inner calm yoga instilled in me to negotiate all kinds of challenges with poise and determination – whether that’s facing down an MMA sparring partner or tackling an incredibly complex legal deal. Yoga, I have discovered, is more than a hobby. It is a way of being.

Laura Bianchi on Animal Rights Advocacy

Laura Bianchi with her Yorkshire Terri, Romeor

Ever since I started bringing home random dogs, cats, and fish that I “adopted” while growing up in Illinois, I’ve had a soft spot for animals. I’ve always rooted for the underdog, always wanted to give voice to the voiceless – and our animal companions are perfect examples of vulnerable souls who need our recognition and protection. These animals love us unconditionally and boast a seemingly endless capacity to forgive. The least we can do is treat them with the care and respect they deserve.

As a longtime member of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other animal charities, I work to find ways to improve and strengthen animal-protections laws in Arizona and beyond. This isn’t just about the welfare of our furry companions. Statistics tell us that people who hurt animals are also more likely to hurt other people. Animal abuse doesn’t just put animals in danger; it potentially puts people at risk, too.

Eventually, I’d love to start a charitable organization that connects at-risk children with animal companions. As I’ve learned from Romeo, my spirited Yorkshire Terrier, the human-animal bond is as powerful as they come.

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