Often when people hear that I am a Yoga teacher they then straight away expect me to be a healthy lifestyle junkie too.
‘Oh you probably don’t drink much…’
‘You of course eat so healthy!’
‘It has meat in it so you probably can’t eat it, right?’
Well clearly… Considering I’m writing this article seated at a bar, having a Lychee Martini and Chips…
Unfortunately or not, even after practicing Yoga for over ten years now I never grew to suit the social expectation of being a Kale-Smoothie-Guru. More like: I’m trying not to have too many beers before class.
Not that I didn’t have my fair go at a vegetarian diet and various detoxes over the years but Yoga was never a matter of what you eat for me. I believe that Yoga is a lifestyle and not only a form of exercise and I am following mainly traditional forms of practice. But lifestyle is not only what you eat! Lifestyle is how you live your life. And what I like to present through my teaching as a Yogi lifestyle is living life authentically.
Yoga is all about getting to know yourself better. After having a long hard look at myself through my practice for the past decade, I figured that being a vegetarian or a walking-healthy-recipe has nothing to do with the real me. I am more all about the brutal truth that comes as an epiphany after having too much coffee or a midnight junk food snack. I like those little sins; I enjoy eating baddies just as much as I enjoy my regular Yoga practice. I don’t think that being vegetarian ever made me a better person. Learning my body, observing my mind and forgiving myself, however, definitely transformed my life. As been said before me: everything I like is either too expensive, not healthy or not texting me back…
As a teacher, I like to cultivate the idea that you don’t have to have it all together to be a Yogi. It makes much more sense to live your life just the way you always did before joining your favourite Yoga studio. I am actually much more impressed to see those practitioners that haven’t fallen into the pretentious add-ons to true Yoga but just stayed themselves and sticked around to learn what ‘Myself’ really means, without stressing themselves with an over-priced organic shopping list.
Yoga is here to support you, to help you live your life with love, kindness and true connection to your authentic self. YOUR life: that same one you always have been living. You are not meant to change your life to fit Yoga. Yoga is your anchor that is there for you, always, reminding you that your authentic self is divine! Sorry if I don’t believe that you can ruin divinity with a few burgers…
I am not saying that sticking to a healthy diet is wrong. In fact, over the years I developed my own idea of what ‘a healthy diet’ actually stands for. I am gladly sharing with you here the routine that I believe to be healthy for my body but that also keeps me sane and happy. Following this diet, I don’t feel guilty for not being the best role model but I also don’t feel like I am punishing myself. So here is what I do:
I eat ‘baddies’ all year! That’s the fun part… But then I am doing a strict cleanse twice a year for a period of 21 days, Autumn and Spring traditionally, (Ok, sometimes only autumn when I am single and need a drink to survive the holiday season…).
This is how my cleanse goes:
I don’t eat: (everything that I think is heavy on my digestive system and everything I am sure to be over-eating during the year)
- Gluten Products (aka: pasta, bread, cuscus…)
- Animal Products (aka: meat, fish, eggs, milk produce)
- Processed foods and various preservatives
- Coffee and tea that contains caffeine
What I do eat?(Heaps!)
- Grains (aka: rice, barely, buckwheat…)
- Legumes (aka: lentil, beans, chick peas, peas, man beans)
- All fruits
- All vegetables
- All green leaves and herbs
- Gluten Free Organic Pasta
- Non Dairy Milk
- Coconut Yogurt
- Herbal Tea
- Squeezed Juices
- Organic Soy and Tofu
- Raw Cacao (can be sugar or coffee replacer)
- Organic Rice Malt Syrup (replaces sugar or sweeteners)
- POSITIVE ENERGY VIBES
Twice a year, for 21 days and that’s it! This secret formula for a healthy lifestyle keeps me from being ‘hangry’ but also still reminds me to test the limits of my body and challenge myself. During my cleanse, I feel that my body is much more capable to go deeper into practice; but as I am not perfect, I am happily trading touching my toes for a Saturday night out during most of the year.
Some habits I actually surprisingly stuck with! These days I actually prefer Organic Cacao Powder with Rice Malt Syrup over Coffee with sugar. So you never know… you might just try it for 21 days, end up loving it and turn into a happily healthy person!
Remember that one size doesn’t fit all in this so you are welcome to try out different variations for this cleanse. There are so many techniques of fasts, juice detoxes and diets. Explore and choose something that works for your authentic self!
To conclude, Yoga is not about what you eat. It is about staying close to yourself and your own truth though. So if your truth is to be religiously sober, vegetarian and never sin with sugar than that’s a great path to be on too – it is YOUR path! No judgments.
You are doing awesome.
Do you want to join Anna at her upcoming cleanse?
Our next 21 DAY YOGA AND DETOX CHALLENGE kicks off on Monday, November 12th.
This is a great way to test your limits and get ready for summer! Check out all the details and sign up HERE.