We've all been there: No matter how hard you push or how many times you practice, you just can't make that one yoga pose happen. While yoga isn't all about the poses, whether it's warrior 3 or a one-armed handstand, not being able to achieve that one tough posture is a frustrating feeling.
While at Adidas' Future/Fit event in Austin, Texas, this past weekend, I caught up with yogi, actress, and all-around empowered woman Adriene Mishler to find out how she stays empowered, her advice for nailing tough poses, and the moment she fell in love with yoga.
LW: What's your advice for nailing that one seemingly impossible yoga pose?
AM: A lot of times people who are really serious about yoga say it's not about the poses, and of course it's about so much more than that. But nailing a pose feels good! So outside of staying aware of safety, being mindful, and practicing, I'd say to remember to have fun. The times I've gone up into a handstand effortlessly, those are the times when I'm having fun. When I'm in a studio furrowing my brow and feeling stressed out and the teacher invites us to do handstands, I can't get up. Remember to keep it playful and remember to have fun. If we're committed to a playful energy about it, you're going to go upside down more.
LW: Tell me about the moment you fell in love with yoga.
AM: I remember being 17 years old and doing my first teacher training. There was only one teacher training here in Austin at the time, and there was all this pressure to find a mentor. I was prime development age and I was desperately trying to find my guru for an hour. Then one day, I heard this woman reading the poem "The Guest House" by Rumi. There's this point in the poem where the gist of it is that whatever comes, you should say yes. That was the moment when I realized yoga was it for me. It felt good. And from then on, I decided that whatever comes to my door—joy, pain, beautiful, ugly—I would welcome it with open arms. After that, I asked that teacher if she would be my mentor and she said yes.
LW: Women have been more empowered than ever in recent months, yourself included. But staying strong, grounded, and in love with yourself isn't always easy when there are so many mixed messages about women coming from every direction. What's your advice to women who are struggling to find their own power?
AM: Watch the self-talk. Watch your thoughts. Watch your words. This sounds like some kind of yogi hippie thing, but you get it—you're mindbodygreen! Here's the thing. We're now seeing that it's scientifically proven that the way we talk, think, and write about ourselves has everything to do with the way we move through life.
I think taking it a step further means providing ourselves with the practical tools for checking that self-talk and replacing "I'm fat" with "I am beautiful." We need to provide people with the tools for that. For a lot of young people, having YouTube and social media make a huge difference. That's the one thing I want to be a cheerleader for because that helps us start things off on a good foot. It also helps us eliminate the people in our lives who are feeding the negative self-talk.
LW: Last but not least, what's your go-to pre-yoga snack?
I'm a banana girl. I travel a lot and even with the acting stuff on set you don't want to get bloated, and bananas are always my go-to. It's a very humble request. If you need something, just get a banana. You'll get a little bit of energy and potassium, and it won't bloat you. And if you don't have time to eat, a banana will coat the tummy.