by Mandy Ingber: With the fit bodies of Hollywood’s elite so prominently displayed, it’s easy to feel discouraged by the fact that this type of silhouette seems entirely out of reach…
Because I work out with brilliant women like Jennifer Aniston and Kate Beckinsale, who are known for their killer physiques, I get a lot of questions along the lines of “what is the secret?” The secret is that you are no different than they are. By virtue of being a living, breathing human being, you are comprised of the same core components as your favorite celebrities. These are:
- A body: a physical body that needs to be cared for
- Willpower: a mind that functions as a compass
- Emotions: feelings that will motivate you
My goal is to guide people in transforming themselves into healthier and happier versions of themselves by harnessing the power of these core attributes. In my trainings and in my book, I provide healthy tips to help people retrain their minds and bodies, restructure their habits, develop positive self-talk, and channel their emotions toward bringing greater mindfulness to their lives.
To get started on this journey, I recommend that people follow five simple steps to help make self-love (or wellness) part of any daily routine.
Yogalosophy: The Five Steps
1. Love Your Body Now
Your body is already perfect. I know this can seem like a radical thought, but consider this: The body you want is already in the room with you — it may just be hiding under a layer or two. When you start realizing that your perfect body is already with you, you’ll notice a change in how you talk to yourself and push yourself. Instead of ignoring or beating yourself up, you’ll be more positive — which will encourage you to stick to your wellness routines.
2. Commit to Short-Term Goals
Too many of us make lofty goals with faraway results, such as “I need to lose 20 pounds this month.” But these types of goals can be discouraging if we don’t see immediate results, setting us off track. Choose instead to focus on short-term goals that offer immediate gratification and provide positive reinforcement for your mind. These little markers and milestones will help motivate you to stick to your path, which will ultimately lead to the achievement of your larger goals.
3. Make Healthy Choices
The foods you eat play a major role in achieving your holistic health and wellness goals. We tend to feel that we need to go on different diets to make an impact on our weight or appearance, but many of these diets fail us because we’re eating foods we don’t enjoy and feel forced to eat. When we instead choose foods that are good for us and that we enjoy, we can eat and savor each bite, improving our attitude toward the food.
I recommend that my clients eat whole foods that are close to nature. One of my favorite snacks is apples dusted with cinnamon, salt and a dash of cayenne to kick up your metabolism. KIND bars are a great option if you’re on the go, as they’re made with ingredients you can actually see and pronounce. They’re a great vegan option and contain no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
I’m also a big fan of green juice. My favorite blend is made with 100 percent green veggies such as celery, spinach, parsley, kale, romaine, and cucumber. I notice that this particular blend makes me feel healthier, aids digestion, and is a great way to fit in a few extra greens.
4. Visualize Your Best Self and Give Gratitude
The mind is a powerful tool, especially during a health and wellness journey. It’s important to use this tool in order to visualize, declare, and ritualize what you want to gain from a given experience. To do this, I recommend creating a vision board for yourself. This collection of images, quotes, drawings, and other sources of inspiration should represent every facet of your life so that you can picture a healthier version of your holistic life — not just your body.
Another key aspect of your practice should be to show gratitude for what you have and what you have been blessed with each and every day. Studies have shown that cultivating contentment reduces your stress levels, and reducing stress can result in weight loss and a positive shift in mindset. An easy way to create a habit for appreciating things in life more fully is to create a simple gratitude list. Write down every day five to ten things you are grateful for, even including a few things that don’t seem positive to you. As life unfolds, you will find that your biggest challenges were your greatest gifts. Exercise some faith in that.
Another great way to express gratitude is through movement. To open up the body and mind to all that the world has to offer, I recommend doing a crescent pose with palms open:
- Begin by stepping one leg back, keeping the front leg at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your knees align directly over the ankle. Your feet should be railroad-track distance apart (so, not like you’re on a tightrope). Square your hips forward.
- The back leg is firm, kneecap is lifted, heel pressing back. With your hands by your hips, externally rotate your shoulders by opening the palm to sky. Imagine you are receiving all of these amazing gifts, and hold the words “thank-you” in your heart. Breathe.
- Lift your sternum upwards as you allow your sacrum to get heavy and sink downwards. Breathe eight times.
- Step up the back leg to meet the front leg, switch sides, and repeat the pose.
5. Give and Receive Support
It’s important to have support when embarking on a personal revolution. Being a member of a community will provide you with a group to turn to when you need support in any facet of your life. Whether you join an online community or turn to friends and family to help you in your journey, leaning on a community when in need will encourage you to open your heart, be vulnerable, and receive encouragement that will ultimately lift your spirits.
Sometimes, our bodies also need support in order to recover from physical exertion and reestablish the connection between our physical and emotional selves. One of my favorite poses for promoting rejuvenation and relaxation is a supported bridge pose using a yoga block:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle, feet parallel on the floor and about a hip-distance apart. Take several breaths; feel your body supported by the ground beneath you.
- Once settled, press your feet evenly into the mat and lift your spine off the floor, pressing your hips up as you root down through your feet.
- Place a yoga brick under your sacrum to support your lower back (at whichever height feels most comfortable to you).
- Take five deep breaths, remove the brick, and slowly lower down one vertebra at a time.
Now it’s your turn to embark on your own yogalosophy journey. Whatever your personal goal is, remember to love yourself throughout the journey and embrace all the things that make you so special. Remember, also, that having the body you want begins with loving the body you have!