Here at Vibrant Health, we believe health is an inside job, unique to you. After all, you’re one-of-a-kind and your needs are complex – that’s why your supplements should be too.
To celebrate all of the beautiful complexities of our lives, each month we’ve been highlighting individuals in our community – taking a peek into the behind-the-scenes of their work life, wellness rituals and all the wonderful things that make them who they are.
This month on the Vibrant Health blog, in honor of International Yoga Day coming up June 21st, we’re featuring New England based yogi Cara Gilman. As a yoga instructor, run motivator, mom and founder of RUNYOGA, Cara truly lives and breathes yoga day in and day out.
In this month’s interview, we got to chat with Cara about how she incorporates yoga on and off that mat (even amidst toddler tantrums), her undying love for peanut butter, and how she utilizes movement as her go-to self-care practice. We hope you enjoy our series…and remember, keep being you!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Kind, optimistic, and determined
When did you first discover the practice of yoga?
After running seven marathons in five years, my body and mind ached for something new. I was completely burned out. I made a promise to myself to step outside of my comfort zone and to try yoga. I found a class at my local gym, and I gave it a try. Getting on my mat that night completely changed my life.
How do you incorporate yoga into your day-to-day life, on and off the mat?
Yoga is truly a way of living your life. Yes, it’s physical, but what’s most beneficial about this ancient practice is the awareness it cultivates and perspective it brings. It’s that reminder to take a deep breath when life gets overwhelming.
For example, when my 3.5-year-old and 16-month-old are both having complete meltdowns — it’s in that moment of pause with my breath that I am reminded this moment is only temporary, and that I have a choice of how I respond vs. react in the moment.
It’s that awareness and perspective that helps take the “heat” out of the intense moments of being a parent — and even helps meet these tough moments with love. And even when a deep breath and this perspective doesn’t do the trick, I keep plugging into that self-awareness. What can I do next time? What do I need to let go of to move on from this and begin again?
From a running perspective, the practice of yoga has balanced me both physically and mentally. Asana, the physical practice of yoga, provides stretches and postures that have healed many of my injuries. It is an essential part of my strength training and how I recover from hard workouts.
It’s also how I have learned how to trust and listen to my body by asking myself this simple question, “What do I need right now vs. what do I want?” My mind and body are not always on the same page, and this simple question brings in that awareness and perspective I need to make my running practice fun and enjoyable.
What advice would you give someone who is curious about trying yoga or just getting started?
Let the practice center on what you need. This truly makes the class your own by putting an intention and purpose behind it, while also bringing the practice to where you are.
From there, let yourself be ok with not knowing how to do everything. It will take time to understand the postures, what things mean, and of course what the practice has to offer you. It might take many classes and teachers to find your groove and your style, and that’s OK. Be patient and be open to the experience.
How has yoga impacted your health — spiritually and physically?
Yoga has given me purpose in my life and continues to grow with me as I grow. It first started in healing my running injuries, then progressed to revealing my true passion of teaching and sharing this practice, to then supporting me as a parent of two young kids. Yoga continually keeps me honest in what I need and provides that direction and connection to purpose.
What’s your favorite healthy on-the-go snack pre/post yoga practice?
Anything that has peanut butter in it!
When you’re not teaching, what do you do in your spare time for self-care?
My self-care time is practicing yoga or running. Being a full-time mom on top of teaching and managing my business, my first go-to self-care tool is movement.
On days that I need that energetic boost or need to burn off some energy, I’m on the roads running or on my yoga mat moving through a sweaty strength focused practice to some fun energetic music. On days that I need rest, I’ll move through a slow flow yoga practice with meditation and long savasana or just go for the long savasana.
What does wellness look like for you?
Wellness is a self-care lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle not based on a training schedule or diet, but rather taking in nourishment one needs to be happy. This includes eating food that one loves and enjoys, exercising in ways that feel good for the body and the mind, getting enough rest where one can feel grounded and at ease, and surrounding themselves with people that make them laugh and that they love.
Thank you for being a part of our community! Want to be featured on our Vibrant Health blog? Send an email to Ashley at email@example.com