I have always been interested in movement. I was about ten when I saw my mother do yoga, and it intrigued me. I started to copy what she was doing. At that time, I had a bit of scoliosis with debilitating back pain. Yoga was the only thing that gave me relief, and I could not believe that all I had to do was stretch a certain way or hold a certain pose to feel so much better! Ever since then I have never stopped doing yoga. Over the years, it has corrected my scoliosis and has been tremendously effective. That was my basic beginning into exercise, and from that stemmed interest in all kinds of movement.
My 'go-to' movement is yoga for sure, and then I like to do weights and dance. I like to mix it up because I know that it’s best for the body to not always do repeated patterns of movement. So those three types I rotate through.
I find that being a model and traveling a lot, I can do yoga anywhere and anytime, which has been really important. I’ve found that more and more hotels have very nice gyms. Many people are discovering that it’s really important to have movement incorporated into their lives. When I can travel, that doesn’t mean I have to forfeit my routine, which is really nice. Not only does it make me feel more prepared, it makes me feel more satisfied that I’ve done something for myself even though I’m so wrapped up in work. I’ve learned that even though I’m busy, it doesn’t mean I have to forfeit what’s important to me.
I travel with a resistance band—they take up no room and don’t weigh anything. I can always utilize it no matter where I am. I don’t have to go out, or sometimes I don’t want to go to the gym, so I just do it in my room. In my profession, I discovered that it’s a really great way to keep active and it makes me feel so prepared the next day.
Through science we’ve learned more about the human body, and what’s surprising is that they now say that it takes only twenty to twenty-five minutes of exercise a day to maintain your physical health. That’s all you have to do a day, and you can sustain your level of health. Decades ago we always thought the more you worked out the better—‘If I just hit the gym for an hour and a half’—but actually, we are finding that’s detrimental because you’re exhausting the body and making micro-tears in the muscles. That’s not what you want to accomplish. That was an amazing revelation to me; sometimes when I work out for twenty minutes I’m just beginning to feel warmed up and that’s ok—I could continue if I felt like it—but sometimes I don’t want to because of the time frame or I’m tired, but I know I’ll feel satisfied just the same because twenty to twenty-five minutes is all you need. That was a big ‘aha moment’ and is a huge difference from how it was before.
Studies show that if you exercise every day, it’ll add hours to your life. If that doesn’t add exercise to a priority on the list, I don’t know what does! I’d like to live a little bit longer! Just working out thirty minutes to an hour to add hours to my life, that made it more of a priority. It’s an easy way to live a longer, healthier life.
Movement helps you with rest and getting better sleep, helps you deal with tension and deal with life, so you do have to listen to your body. If you alter your routine—say you stretch more—then you’re actually helping the body to get a deeper rest. It’s important to listen to your body in the different phases that you’re in and keep up the routine of exercising regularly, but just alter what it is you’re doing to suit your lifestyle.
For me personally, I find that movement practice has helped me to become more disciplined. To get on that yoga mat and to make time to do my thirty minute workout, regularly, takes discipline and creates more discipline in your life. Discipline is not only for exercising, but it spills over into other areas of my life, so that’s an added bonus.
We always have that chatter in our head that dissuades us from doing what we know we should—always. There’s always the rational, ‘well, I’ll do it later, well, my hip hurts,’ and it’s constant. Not only towards working out, but procrastinating on a project, or doing something that you know you need to, and it’s funny how we do that consistently. I think we reach a point where we realize: ‘wait a minute, that’s something that I can override.’ That chatter will always be there and we don’t have to listen to it. Once you realize that, then you realize, ‘you know what? I always feel better after I work out. I’m smarter than what this little constant chatter is saying to me.’ It’s similar to when you go into nature and you come back out after the walk, you don’t say, ‘ah, I wish I hadn’t done that.’ Right? You’re always satisfied that you do it! Just like the gym, you come out and you always think: ‘that felt great!’ You never say, ‘ah, what a waste of time.’ You know this! That is a motivating factor. You know you don’t have to listen to that mind that is, for some reason, telling you to just keep quiet, sit and not do it. I don’t know why it’s there, but we know that we don’t have to listen to that and we know that we can feel better. I tell myself that too.
You can take these little snippets of time and create an exercise. For example, you are in your kitchen and you’re making your drink, like you always do every morning, waiting for the percolation, the boiling water, or whatever it is. For people who have a hard time with exercise or working out, maybe just change the verbiage. Think of it as moving in a different way. Here I am standing, like I do everyday, and I might do a lateral move. That’s not a normal position; it takes a little bit of thought, so I’m just going to stand here and I’m going to move differently. So, if you approach it from a different mindset—for people who have a hard time motivating themselves—think of it as just a different movement where you just stand, shift your weight, or just swing your leg back and forth or side to side. Even stand there and swivel your hips. Just keep moving your joints in a different way, and I think what happens is you realize, ‘this feels really good.’ Just literally a minute of moving the body in a different position, a different angle, also shifts your mind. And afterwards you think, ‘well that was easy, that felt good, and I’m going to do it next time.’ So it’s a little step that builds, and as we know, little steps make big improvement over time.
Movement enhances my creative outlets. It helps me get unstuck. Being a creative, there are moments when I'm wondering, ‘where is that inspiration?’ Movement helps the blood circulate, helps the endorphins get released. That’s where creativity begins to flow. Not only does exercise help with getting better sleep, release of tension, better mobility, and helping you heal if you fall or sprain, it also helps with the creative aspect of coming up with new ideas or being inspired to try something different—all outside of exercise. You hear people say, ‘I have to leave my computer and go for a walk.’ It clears the mind. Sometimes it’s hard to go for a walk, if you’re in a busy city or it’s winter, but there are so many ways to just move.
If you are someone who struggles to be motivated to move, there is so much you can do in your chair. Doesn’t that sound nice for people who consider themselves lazy? You don’t even have to get out of your chair! Forward bends, back bends, twists. You can raise one leg and hold it and that’s still exercising your muscles. It’s tremendous. That could be looked at as a fun thing to do for people who are turned off to the whole idea of exercise.
I’m so inspired by people on social media who are ninety or one-hundred, and are still doing amazing moves with their bodies! The body isn’t meant to slow down and stiffen up. It’s up to us to keep it mobile, to keep it flowing, and it will respond. Imagine later in life being able to still move like you can now. That is a huge motivating factor, but you have to work at it. Everything you want is worth working for.
Watch my YouTube channel for yoga tutorials. Enjoy!