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Trudie Styler on Yoga, Weight Loss, Meditation and Staying Strong
Q. Many people who’ve not yet explored yoga are under the impression that yoga is “just stretching.” You talk about yoga as a whole-body toning and weight loss practice — how does yoga help you lose weight?
A. When you actually do yoga, you quickly realize how the poses — which look straightforward and effortless — are often quite hard work to hold. When you first begin, you discover muscles you never even knew you had, and you find yourself aching in the most unusual places the next day! You definitely break a sweat when you do yoga for an hour, and that shows that you’ve raised your body temperature and you’re working hard.
Yoga is a calm, focused way to exercise, because you have to concentrate and you have to take your time in order to get it right, and it touches your whole body rather than just one area. As well as the hard work burning calories, the toning of the muscles helps you lose inches as everything gets firmer, leaner and stronger. Stronger muscles in turn burn more calories, even when you’re not doing any exercise at all!
Q. Are there other exercises or fitness programs that you think particularly complement yoga for weight loss? For instance, the abs segment of the Trudie Styler’s Weight Loss Yoga DVD incorporates Pilates moves.
A. Pilates is a great way to get in shape. Again, people who have never tried it might look at people doing it and think it looks very easy. Believe me, it’s not. Pilates concentrates on making your core strong, which is an area easily neglected. But strong stomach muscles have a dramatic effect on your posture and fitness, and they protect your back against injury. This is an exercise system devised for ballet dancers, and you just have to look at their physiques to see the benefits.
Q. I love the chair yoga for weight loss workout, and I understand the inspiration for a seated, supported vinyasa stemmed, in part, from your mother’s struggle with weight.
A. Yes, my mother was very overweight and when I was growing up I saw how frustrated she was that she didn’t have the energy to do everything she wanted to do. I think it can be very hard for people who are heavy to even begin to exercise, because it can feel so exhausting when you’re carrying around a lot of extra weight. It’s also a strain on the joints, and it’s hard to be flexible. So I was interested in a way of exercising that allows people to begin to move, to begin to get stronger, little by little.
Q. So many yoga DVDs don’t acknowledge how hard it is to get started. Have you always had confidence in your body to be strong, or is that something you’ve developed?
A. I suppose the lucky thing is that I never really stopped. From being on the athletics team at school I always enjoyed exercise and trying to stay fit. The only breaks I’ve had from that are while pregnant or after a knee operation I had, and I appreciate how difficult it can be to get started again once you’ve stopped working out from those times. There are always certain days when I just can’t manage it, if I’m jetlagged or particularly busy. But it’s always been really important to me to feel strong and active for the many demands of life, and working out gives me more energy, so I’ve managed to keep up a certain level of fitness.
Q. The setting for the workouts on this DVD is gorgeous. Does where you do yoga have an effect on your practice?
A. It’s nice to vary the settings, and it’s great to workout outside if the weather is warm enough. It’s just interesting to have a change, otherwise there’s always a danger that it will get a bit boring.
Q. You include meditation on many of your DVDs. Is meditation an important part of your wellness practice? Do you use a mantra to help to focused and control “mind traffic”?
A. I do often include some meditation in my practice, and I do have a mantra which helps me accept whatever is happening in my life at the time. It’s not always easy to control the mind traffic, but I find it a very useful exercise to give myself the space to let that happen.
There’s always a period of time when you begin to meditate when you are watching yourself in a way. Then hopefully you become free from that, while at the same time being very conscious of a different part of yourself. Meditation can be a rewarding and transforming experience.
Q. Do you detox on a regular basis?
A. I do a cleanse if I’m feeling sluggish or heavy, or if I feel I have any particular health problems that a change of diet would address. I probably detox a few times every year.
Q. What benefits did you notice after completing Dr. Junger’s cleanse program?
A. I have followed Dr. Junger’s elimination diet for several weeks, and I felt great on it. I had lots of energy, and lost a few pounds too!
Q. Eating organic and sustainably grown food is a cornerstone of your life. Do you have any guilty pleasures?
A. I’m from a European culture so I enjoy a glass of wine most days with dinner. I don’t feel guilty about it, though!
Work out with Trudie Styler on GaiamTV.com!
Trudie Styler is an actress, film producer, director, human rights activist, environmentalist and organic farmer. Trudie’s charitable works for human rights and the environment have been recognized by many award-giving bodies, and through her work she is committed to working to improve the lives of impoverished and exploited children all over the world. In 1990, Trudie and Sting moved to Lake House in the English countryside and, determined to raise their children on a fresh and healthy diet, set about converting the 200 acres of farmland to organic status.