Jordana Brewster, star of the new Dallas as well as The Fast and the Furious series of films, talked with me about how she handles stress: by forming a peaceful relationship with her mind and body. In this exclusive MBG interview, read about Jordana’s philosophies on meditation, food, and living calmly in our high-speed world.
MBG: What is your relationship to yoga? Do you have a practice?
JB: I haven’t fully gotten into yoga yet. I’ll practice yoga poses on my own after meditation, but I get really intimidated by it, especially in classes. I find that most of the time I get hurt because I find that it doesn’t go slow enough for me.
How did you get into meditation?
I’ve been meditating for 2.5 years now. I do Vedic meditation, which is similar to TM (Transcendental Meditation). You meditate for 20 minutes twice a day: when you wake up, then around 4 or 5pm, silently repeating a mantra.
Before I started meditating, I used to stay stuff like “I thrive on stress” and “I love multi-tasking.” I look back at that now and I can’t imagine that I ever said that. I got to a point 3 years ago where stress really took a toll on my body. I thought mediation was a very healthy, sustainable way to manage stress. Since then, it’s grown into a more spiritual practice. But at the very beginning I was so afraid of meditation. I would download 5-minute guided meditations, which were helpful and made such a difference in my mood throughout the day. Then I finally took the plunge and learned from an instructor.
How do feel after meditating?
What your body is doing when you’re meditating is releasing stress, so sometimes, it gives me more energy and sometimes it puts me in a more relaxed state. Sometimes I have thought-filled meditations where my mind won’t stop and that’s okay too. But I think that’s what people fear the most; if they have that kind of meditation, then it’s not working. But we just have to accept that it’s impossible for our minds to go completely blank.
We’re all so wired. Our default setting is “Let me check Twitter. Let me Google something real quick.” If we’re not doing something, we think something’s wrong. To take 20 minutes out twice a day and to just sit in quiet is such an important practice.
Where do you meditate? Do you have a particular place where you meditate?
The thing that’s so great about Vedic meditation is that all you need is something to support your back and you need to feel safe. So I’ve meditated at a nail salon, on a plane, and in my car. I also have a room in my house where I light incense and that’s a bit more relaxing. But you really can do it anywhere.
What would you say to someone who wants to meditate, but isn’t sure where to start? Any tips?
You can start researching it on the web. Intro meditation classes are free and you can listen to an instructor talk about it and decide whether it’s for you.
Can you tell us about your experience with Ayurveda?
I just read Deepak Chopra’s Perfect Health. It’s really easy to follow. You take a test and can find out your dosha; I’m Pitta. When I started following the diet I started craving the foods that it recommends. If you stop and listen, that’s what your body really wants.
What is your diet normally like?
I don’t eat red meat. I grew up in Brazil and would go churrascarias a lot. Since then, red meat grosses me out. I do like chicken, egg whites, fish, and shrimp. But my diet is pretty balanced. I eat a lot of grains and fresh fruits/veggies. I buy organic and try to eat as few processed foods as I can.
Any favorite healthy foods?
I like kale a lot. I bought a steamer that steams vegetables in 4 minutes that gives me veggies for the whole week. Also, berries are so good because of their antioxidants. I love blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. It’s amazing how they can protect your brain. Greek yogurt is one of my magic foods, too.