In a recent crusade to get more sleep, Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga and author of several books including Make Your Own Rules Cookbook, kicked the screens out of her bedroom. Her phone charges in the kitchen at night, and movies and TV shows are set aside for daylight hours only. Between the blue light and the mental stimulation, scientists agree that staring at a screen before bed before bed can mean suppressed melatonin levels and less sleep.
Despite the busy schedule, demanding travel, and evening classes, yoga teachers know the importance of making their own food. From eating the best immune system boosters to nourishing the body and mind, homemade food is key. “It feels good when I’m making my own meals,” says Stiles, “but I also feel more inspired and creative through the process of cooking and putting things together."
Whether it’s a strict diet, a rigid routine, or an unrealistic expectation, yoga teachers avoid the extra things that add stress to already busy lives. “Sticking to routines can add stress to life,” says Lauren Imparato, yoga teacher and author of the bestselling book, RETOX. “My life pattern changes pretty much every day depending on work travel and family, so I keep my routine to very basic but extremely powerful things.”
World travel, writing books, teaching back-to-back classes––yoga teachers are incredibly busy. But they never make excuses and skip a workout. Stiles always makes time for a quick sequence of poses. If she can’t fit in a full yoga class, she hops on the mat in her office for five- to 10-minute breaks between work to undo the kinks and refocus.
As a former restaurant cook and the creator of Karmavore Superfoods, yoga teacher Brian Miller knows a thing or two about food. When he travels, snacks take up nearly a third of his suitcase. You won’t catch him or Imparato without a snack. “I go everywhere with a big bottle of water,” says Imparato, “and I always carry at least one snack in my bag, be it some almonds or munchies for a quick pick-me-up!”
Ignore Their Bodies
Do you know what foods make you feel amazing or how much sleep you really need? Stiles, Miller, and Imparato say they do. They spend so much time listening to their bodies during yoga and instructing their students on how to tune into theirs that it becomes difficult to ignore health problems and daily needs, such as knowing when to take it easy or what a food craving is really trying to tell them.
Sure, they have to check their emails and go to the dentist like the rest of us, but they also know how to prioritize the things that bring them energy and excitement. “If you love it and enjoy it,” says Stiles, “it’s something that will bring you life and energy.”
Live In The Extremes
While green juice and clean eating can be a great thing, you can take it too far. That's why Imparato says she avoids a super strict diet, and she firmly believes in living life without guilt, stress, or regrets.
Balance between doing what you love and what you have to do is just as important for Miller. He teaches that life is more than the 9-to-5 grind. “Balance is the most important thing in life,” says Miller. “It’s what keeps you happy.”
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