Reach 7 Everyday Yoga Habits To Implement Off The Mat Through my own yoga practice, I have come to realise that living the real yogi’s life is THE yoga challenge. By Wanderlust Journal Photo: DAN ZOUBEK www.danzoubek.de Catch Kimberly Parsons teaching a class called “The Yoga Kitchen; Master your Chakras, Master your Wellness” at Find Your True North in the Uncommons at Wanderlust London! For tickets and more information, click here. Most people associate yoga with an asana practice but yoga isn’t just about flowing through a series of poses, twisting yourself up like a pretzel, going upside down and sweating your butt off (although that part can be super fun and highly beneficial both physically and mentally in its own right). What I have come to learn is yoga is most importantly about how you live your life in all contexts.Most people associate yoga with an asana practice, but yoga isn’t just about flowing through a series of poses, twisting yourself up like a pretzel, going upside down and sweating your butt off (although that part can be super fun and highly beneficial both physically and mentally in its own right). What I have come to learn is yoga is most importantly about how you live your life in all contexts. Through my own yoga practice, I have come to realise that living the real yogi’s life is THE yoga challenge. All the effort I pour into my asana practice on my mat is just the testing ground for the way I act, exert myself and live these yogic values and principles in my everyday life. I have come to accept yoga as a physical discipline with a spiritual intention rather than a physical exercise. Sure, the art of being kind all day, speaking only truthful statements and remaining calm when faced with difficulty can sometimes feel like an impossible task. But, I’ve come to realise it’s worth the challenge in more ways than one. From a physical point of view yoga lowers stress, improves posture, circulation and digestion while keeping joints fluid and muscles toned. It can help you lose weight and bring you to your ideal body weight, alleviate symptoms of depression and may also be the best anti-aging regimen we have. Yoga also eases everyday pains and frustrations and increases kindness and compassion. It tones the body while stabilising the mind. Seriously, lets get a “hell yeah” for yoga please! The word ‘yoga’ signifies any form of connection and that when applied to the human experience. It can be used to celebrate the union between the mind, body & spirit. At its most practical level, yoga is a process of becoming more aware of who we really are. As such, yoga is a process of self-discovery. Through its practices, we can still the mind and merge into oneness with the divine; to act with truth and authenticity. We are able to discern who we really are and what our purpose is. Hooked yet? Over the years, I have had the privilege of witnessing, first-hand, the positive changes the daily combinations of living these lifestyle values and principles along with a daily asana practice. The guests on my many yoga retreats have been my teachers and shown me just how powerful this combination really is when put into practice. Just as it never pays to trade sleep for more down-time, no matter how healthy your diet is, how positive your thoughts are or how many gym sessions you fit into a week, nothing can replace the powerful union found while on the mat or offer you the same state of bliss and wellness in the way time spent in yoga poses can. Once I realised I wanted to take my yoga practice off the mat and into my day-to-day lifestyle choices, the truest test of my discipline towards reaching freedom and peace in my mind began. Follow these daily lifestyle practices to light your path towards a happier, healthier, more vibrant, stress-free life: 1. Wake with the sunrise. 2. Do a body scan. 3. Morning breathing exercise. 4. 10-minute meditation. 5. A daily affirmation. 6. Mid-day walking meditation. 7. Evening gratitude practice. — Kimberly Parsons is an Australian born vegetarian chef, food writer and qualified naturopath. Her series of cookbooks titled ‘The Yoga Kitchen’ and ‘The Yoga Kitchen Plan’ teach you how to tune-in to your innate wisdom which she calls ‘body intelligence’ using traditional yogic philosophy and eating principles for long lasting, vibrant health and happiness. Once the owner of three healthy food yoga café’s dotted all over London, called ‘Retreat’, Kimberly now spends her time cooking on health retreats all over the world and resides in the English countryside where she cooks for many celebrity and private clients such as Lily James and Jenna Coleman, delivering her bespoke Yoga Kitchen healthy meals to her clients all over London. Connect with on her website.