Photo: Jaime Travezan
Trudie Styler is an actress, a dedicated yogi and a passionate human rights activist. Plus, she has one of those rare showbiz marriages that has actually lasted. She opens up about staying fit, making a difference and why no one makes her laugh like Sting.
Ashley Hamilton: How did you first discover yoga?
Trudie Styler: After the birth of our third child, Coco, I was looking for a way to get back into shape. A friend suggested Sting and I go to a yoga demonstration by a great teacher, Donny Paradise, who has since become a friend. We were both so impressed by his fitness and strength and flexibility, as well as all the hidden health benefits, that we had to give it a go, and it's been 20 years now.
AH: Did you see a major physical change when you first started?
TS: Yes, I was trying to get back in shape, so wanted to combine physical practice with reducing calories. Obviously, yoga does great things for the body if you commit to the practice three or four times a week.
AH: I think consistency is the problem that most women run into when it comes to working out. How have you been able to commit—and stay committed—to yoga for so long?
TS: It doesn't take long before that's your routine, that's what [your body] likes and that's what it's asking for. And it is worth it. People spend a lot of time and effort on their cars—and our bodies are the most precious vehicle that we've been given. It has to take us through the journey of life. Our body is the only one we've been given, so we need to maintain it; we need to give it the best nutrition. I advocate an organic diet where possible (certainly a whole food diet). I think having a good yoga practice and a spiritual practice is a recipe for living well and, hopefully, living longer.
AH: What is your spiritual practice?
TS: For me, it's combining yoga with meditation. Meditation is really letting go of all the thought processes or "mind traffic" that gets in the way of just whatever is between you and space and consciousness. So often what happens when we meditate is we can kind of get the mind traffic that comes in and says, "Oh I wonder what we're going to have for dinner tonight" or "I must remember to do this" or "I just want to turn my BlackBerry on for a moment." Well, first of all, I advocate no BlackBerrys anywhere near the yoga mat! And then there's the BlackBerry in our head—all those things on the to-do list for the day. So meditation is stilling the mind of all that hurly-burly that comes into it. When you start watching those thoughts, you're no longer involved in them. With that, we get space in our thoughts, we get calmness and, ultimately, we get peace.
AH: Do you feel differently mentally if you skip a day? Or maybe you never skip a day!
TS: Sure I do. I don't think people should be too hard on themselves. People have very busy lives, and meditation, if you've never done it, is not something you can just say, "Oh, I'm going to commit to doing an hour of it every day." If you could commit to doing five minutes every day, you'd very quickly become better at meditation.
Over 20 years, I've felt the benefits of yoga and meditation practice. I feel fit, I feel happy and I feel young.
AH: How do you stay so fit as you age? Do you have any anti-aging secrets?
TS: I would say don't drink too much alcohol, don't eat too much sugar, avoid processed foods and keep as active as you can. Also, try to stay young mentally. Keep looking for new challenges in life, keep learning, stay curious. Inform yourself about the world and engage in it.
We women, we're always being invited to change our hairstyle, change our clothes, change our wardrobes. It's also important for us to remember as we age to keep changing the way we think of the world. I'm not saying to be flaky at all; but rather than being rigid about something, stay open and available.
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