Ask any actress in Hollywood who their favorite yoga teacher is and most likely you’ll hear the name of fitness guru Mandy Ingber. In her 18 years of teaching, she’s attracted clients like Jennifer Aniston, Kate Beckinsale, Brooke Shields, and Helen Hunt. The New York Times best-selling author has taught people around the world how to get their yoga on. We caught up with Ingber, before the launch of her latest book, Yogalosophy For Inner Strength: 12 weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy to talk all things yoga and living a healthy lifestyle.
You live in Hollywood how has yoga grounded you in that world?
The best thing that yoga has given me is the ability to be present in my body. Whenever I feel myself getting overly excited or tense, I bring my awareness back to my breath. That is the most grounding action. Awareness is useful in any situation. I also believe that understanding that I have all that I need within me, is very helpful. My morning routine includes: 20 minutes of meditation, journaling, soaking in a bath, protein shake, and some form of movement. That fully grounds me and I am available for whatever comes my way.
Jennifer Aniston is one of your clients. How did you first connect?
Jennifer and I met through a mutual friend, Kim Walker who was in Heathers. She was the one who drinks Draino and dies first. We met over a cigarette and a tuna melt. I was cheating on quitting smoking and she was cheating on a diet. We’ve come a long way, baby.
I did read a quote from her that said she never really “got” yoga until I started teaching her. I’ve learned from Jennifer, so much. I mean she’s just such a positive force. A very loving person. Her heart is wide open. I learn about giving from her.
The title of your new book, uses the phrase inner strength. What does inner strength mean to you?
It is the ability to digest and use any experience that comes across my path for growth and power, and also to help others.
You mention how helping others brings you incredible joy; what’s the quickest way you teach your clients to access joy?
Joy is being able to feel pleasure. It’s feeling your heart sing and your energy being lifted. It is being in your full presence. There is nothing more beautiful than that. It literally changes your face. Makes you more open and beautiful. It lightens you in every way.
Other rapid ways to feel joy: Give and receive hugs. Laugh often (it’s the best abdominal exercise). Allow your feelings to flow; don’t be afraid of your tears or your anger. Feel it all. Find the beauty in your dark places. Play. Say hello to and connect with others. Share yourself through your creativity.
What are three things you recommend doing every day?
- Do some version of movement 30-60 minutes daily: a walk, a spin class, dance in your living room.
- Simple mindful breathing. Set a timer for 5 minutes each morning. You can do just that, and build each week until you are up to 15 minutes.
- Make a list of the 10 things you are doing well. The 10 things that you feel grateful for, and the 10 things you have no control over.
How can yoga help build your confidence and self-esteem?
Yoga is good self-care; you watch your own self-talk and move past the doubts that have been unconsciously running in the back of your mind. Being in a posture that is uncomfortable teaches so much about patience, tolerance and strength. Additionally, when we change our stance and our posture, we naturally feel more self-confident. You can try it right now. Notice how you are sitting and then sit up straight. This small shift will change how you feel.
What are your favorite super foods?
My mainstays are: salmon, apples, avocado, spinach, olives, blueberries, green tea
What is your favorite on the go snack?
I love slices of apples with pink salt and cinnamon, a green juice, dates….and chocolate. I particularly love the brand Zen Bunni. They are raw, vegan and dairy free. My new favorite snack is highly caloric, but also paleo, dairy free, sugar free amazingness. Cave Shake. It’s in a coconut milk base and is pure deliciousness.
What is your biggest indulgence?
I splurge daily, I love chocolate. I definitely allow myself a treat daily, because otherwise I swing and rebel. Yes, I restrict and my basic diet is healthy, but I am not above a bite of cake or ice cream. I do everything in moderation, except honey. I LOVE honey in my green tea. A weird amount.
What’s your favorite yoga pose for energy?
Sun Salutes or Breath of Joy
Boat Pose or Plank Pose
What are your favorite yoga tracks to practice to?
I love anything by Thievery Corporation, I Still Care for You by Ray LeMontagne and Storm of Prayers by Shaman’s Dream.
What is the number one thing you’ve learned from your yoga practice?
Self-acceptance through all of my phases. How to be a work-in-progress. Loving my body when it’s softer or injured. Seeing the beauty in my imperfection.
Written by: Danielle Diamond