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8 a.m.: Sun Salutations
We've heard many a quote about the importance of how one starts their day — whether that's with exercise or eating a wholesome breakfast. How do you make sure you always kick off your day on a healthy note?
"I set my alarm for half an hour or so before I have to be up, so I can wake up really slowly and get centered. In an ideal world, I'd wake up super early every day and watch the sunrise on my roof, because it's totally magical. But, in reality, I do that once or twice a week."
How do you get centered?
"I meditate as soon as I wake up. I just do it for five minutes or so, but it really sets my day — it’s essential. After that, I do The Magic Ten, which is a really basic Jivamukti yoga sequence, just to get the blood flowing."
So, it's worth giving up half an hour of sleep every morning?
"Totally. Having some time to really ground myself instead of rushing out the door the second I open my eyes makes a huge difference in my day. Obviously, it doesn't always happen — but when I don't do it, I feel it."
Gelareh Mizrahi bag.
When did you know you needed to approach life differently, more holistically?
"So, I ate all this amazing, organic food as a kid in Peru, and then when I came to California to formally study nutrition in college, my actual diet wasn’t good at all. I was learning the whole Western approach to health and nutrition — very scientifically based. It was really, really interesting, but..."
But, something was missing?
"Yeah. For me, it wasn’t whole. So, I went to India to find that other component."
Did you know what you were looking for when you went to India?
"Honestly? No. I just wanted to find the thing that would make my life more complete. My boyfriend at the time invited me — I just trusted the opportunity for presenting itself like that. And, then in India, I discovered meditation and Ayurveda, and I learned about Chinese medicine and herbs. All that brought me back to what drew me to nutrition in the first place. When I got back to the U.S., I totally switched gears."
That must be so empowering, to be able to discover a completely different path to health. But, certain practices, like yoga, have always been important to you, right? When did you start practicing?
"Yes, I’ve been doing yoga forever. I think I was 15 when I started, back in Peru, and then I got into it in college in California. When I moved to New York, I fell in love with the Jivamukti school. For me, yoga isn't just about exercise — it's about learning to live joyfully and steadily in the world."
Do you make it to yoga every day?
"Yep. No matter what else is going on in my life, I get to yoga — always at the Jivamukti school. Since I found it, I haven't done any other yoga. I want that consistency. If can’t go in the morning, I go at noon. If I can’t go at noon, I go at 6 p.m. But, I never miss it. That’s important to me. That discipline is something I really value."
You're a certified yoga instructor, too. How has your practice evolved over the years?
"When I started, it was all about getting the poses right. Now, my practice has gotten so much subtler. It’s not about how well I can do the pose — it’s about what comes to mind when I’m doing it, or who comes to mind, or how I’m feeling at that moment."
So, is your yoga experience different every time?
"You know, I’ve found my practice on the mat really reflects the way I'm living my life at that moment — if I’m rushing through a pose, I know I’m probably afraid of something it might bring up. It’s totally amazing to me — those subtleties are what keep me coming back."
Do you have a go-to movement uniform?
"For yoga, I love lululemon's onesie and basic leggings. They’re the most comfortable for that type of movement. I also dance, and for that I’ll wear a relaxed cut that’s fitted at the ankle. And, a very loose shirt, for sure. I’ve got to be able to move."
Tell us more about your love of dancing — how do you incorporate that into your wellness routine?
"I do this practice called the 5Rhythms — it’s dance meditation, and it’s an incredible way for me to disconnect from the real world. For two hours, I’m in a space where I can be completely free. It’s totally different than a club environment. No one is looking at you, there’s no alcohol — you’re just dancing and letting go of whatever you want to let go of. And, the music, of course, is awesome. I do that once a week. And then..."
"Well, I don't always do it, but I try — again, I try — to go to Broadway Dance Center one afternoon a week to do either hip-hop or jazz funk. That way, I have it balanced — some 5Rhythms, some jazz, and then yoga every day."