Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘I had a 10 percent chance of getting pregnant even with IVF because of my age.’

Lisa Pineda, Garden City

“I met my husband later in life. I’m a serial monogamist. I was really into my career, and having a family didn’t cross my mind. When I was ready to start a family, it was a struggle for me. Being the natural girl that I am, I was really reluctant to go down the IVF [in vitro fertilization] path.

“After trying to get pregnant for a year, visiting a doctor, having the doctor tell us some devastating news — I had a 10% chance of getting pregnant even with IVF because of my age — I knew in my heart this had to be wrong because I had gotten pregnant and miscarried before.

“When I found out that I got pregnant, I couldn’t believe it at first. I had been so disappointed along my fertility treatments that I kind of numbed myself. Every time I went through the process, I was so scared to find out the test results. The first step was one intrauterine insemination and that resulted in a miscarriage. The second one was another IUI, and that failed. Because of my age, my husband and I wanted to fast-track everything.

“When I did one IVF, I got pregnant. But because IVF is so stressful and so filled with anxiety, I couldn’t trust that it was going to really happen. When I finally met all my milestones and I graduated from the IVF clinic, the doctor literally told me, ‘You don’t have to come back.’ That’s when I finally felt relieved and overjoyed and grateful that it was going to become a successful pregnancy.

“I am a yoga instructor. Luckily, I was able to use the tools in my back pocket to help me go through some of the toughest times when I was going through IVF.

“When I miscarried, it was me getting back on the mat. That gave me the opportunity to get grounded and to center my breath. It gave me the opportunity to trust my body. Yoga is this calming practice. That’s what my body needed, especially to get pregnant.

“My book is dedicated to all the women and men who are struggling to build a family, whether they are trying to conceive naturally or using fertility treatments. Yoga, meditation, breathwork can help in so many ways. It offers the best guidance based on my personal experience with IVF and helping hundreds of women overcome their fertility struggles and actually achieve pregnancy.”

I like to tell anyone who starts yoga to not think that it’s about the physical postures. It’s about simply showing up.

“Eventually, I quit my corporate job and started my own yoga business. From there, I basically started teaching women who were pregnant and women who wanted to feel better after the pregnancy. That’s when I was trying to conceive. I took a break from yoga.

“After I had my son, I made it my mission to give back and start my Yoga for Fertility business. The yoga community here is so tight-knit. They share a deep connection here on Long Island. I think that because of this shared experience of something intense that the potential of bonding is high.

“What I love about teaching on the beach is that I’m grateful that I get to share this gift of yoga with students who can find freedom from their mind. They don’t have to be experienced. The physical postures bring them back to the breath, and they’re able to connect more with themselves. This is a stressful life we all live.

“Finding freedom from your mind and being able to give yourself that connection with yourself, it’s unlike any other workout. Practicing yoga on the beach, you’re connected with the elements of the wind, the beach, the water, the beautiful sunsets. Practicing yoga on a Long Island is like no other place.

“I like to tell anyone who starts yoga to not think that it’s about the physical postures. It’s about simply showing up. It’s not about touching your toes or bending your body like a pretzel. It’s about clearing your mind through the physical postures and getting back to the breath. Yoga is about the breath. It helps us to clear our mind and stay present.

“I like to tell each student — whether they’ve been practicing for quite some time or if they are new — that they just simply have to show up. It’s not about perfection. Yoga is a practice and it’s constantly evolving. That’s the beauty of it.”

Interviewed by Tracey Cheek