Heather Lilleston is one half of Yoga for Bad People, but don’t be fooled by the name, Heather is a very good person. Radiant, kind, and creative, she has a refreshingly authentic approach to life and wellness. She’s expertly trained in yoga, which she has been teaching since 2003. And while the California native is back on the west coast after a 15 year stint in NYC, she spends a pretty hefty chunk of time traveling the world hosting yoga retreats, which sounds like a dream I’ve had before. Through all the travel and the ebbs and flows of life, Heather maintains a super real, super grounded approach to wellness, and she’s sharing it with us today.
At some point every day, I sit and meditate. Recently, I have been traveling so much that I’ve needed to use a guided meditation I have on iTunes to ground me instead of my own silent mediation. The more I move around though, the more that 20 minutes of stillness has become key.
I obsessively floss my teeth (love using Dr Tungs).
I strive to exercise every day too. My ideal regime is a 20-30 minute run outside, followed by a few old fashioned snippets like jumping jacks, burpees, sit ups, planks, and then finished off with a super simple yoga practice where I spend a good amount of time in each pose: down dog, triangle, straddle forward bend, pigeon, seated spinal twist, headstand, virasana with arms variations, wheel, supported shoulderstand, seated forward fold, rest. I love the combination and the older I get the more and more I need the cardio intertwined with yoga.
Another daily necessity is apple cider vinegar. I take a shot or two in the morning and before bed, and if I am home I will use it in dressings and add a splash to my water too. My PH feels so much more balanced with apple cider vinegar, it reduces the inflammation from travel too, but it can be hard to find when I am on the road in other countries. I just make it a priority when I can.
I try to find time to sweat in a relaxed way – so whether that be in an epsom salt bath or a sauna or steam room. It quiets me, and if you know me, that’s rare/important. I sometimes add some apple cider vinegar to a bath if it’s available, which is a good detox for the skin.
I have recently cut back on drinking wine at night and eating dairy. I guess I am on a bit of health kick right now, which seems appropriate to do when we are changing seasons, but every week I will find some time to break from those things in general.
I make time to dance in my room or in my car – somewhere in private – to really loud music I can sing along too. I know it seems elementary – but I feel so much better after I sing loudly and uninhibitedly to a great song I know the words to.
I also find time for a face mask. I use a couple of different ones. My favorites are Linne Botanicals Purify Mask, Goop 3 minute exfoliating mask, and Tata Harper Beautifying Mask. It’s a nice way to get my facial muscles to relax for a solid period of time, which quiets the mind, and it reminds me of the importance of a little self-care now and then.
I also need a solid section of hours to be alone each week. I am a super social person, but if I don’t have the alone time to reset, I start concaving into weird zones in my mind and start getting overwhelmed and a little agitated. Its amazing what just a few hours of alone time does for me.
I travel every month, and if I don’t have a flight booked for the future, I get a little uncomfortable. I have developed a habit of moving around, and to be honest, it feels really fulfilling. People say I need to be more grounded, but the odd thing is that with all the moving, I actually feel super grounded. I spend a lot of time sitting with myself, quietly, thinking, reading, writing, contemplating. Travel gives you that time. I am personally way more distracted at home. So I move around a lot and it seems to have developed an internal grounded-ness to its external groundlessness.
If I can make it happen, I got to acupuncture twice a month, and somewhere along the way I can usually squeeze in a massage. I also seek out evenings when I can have an early dinner – before 7pm, and then not eat till at least 9am the next day. This little intermediary fasting has done wonders for my digestive system, and general energy levels.
I also keep random messy journals filled with all sorts of lists and personal poems and random notes and thoughts and notes I took during psychic readings and budgets and rants and retreat plans, anything and everything I need to write down with a paper and pen to sort through it in my mind. I don’t do daily journaling (though I know it would be amazing), but I have journals I carry with me everywhere and use a lot. It’s kind of a road map of my year when I look back at them.
I do 2 juice cleanses a year. One in the spring and one in the fall. I usually combine this with about 5 days before eating a strict vegan mostly raw diet and 5 days after eating a vegan but cooked foods diet. That helps me ease in and out. During the cleanse I make sure to book time in a sauna or steam room and I usually get one or two colonics.
Every year – at least twice a year – I will do a massive clothing purge. I am super neat and organized, but I have a little bit of a shopping habit, and I accumulate weird items I justify in stores. I often forget cause I live out of a suitcase most of the time, but the clearing and simplifying is so key to mental health. There is some emotional attachment to these things and it’s always more about the internal process than the clutter in my closet.
I would say that at some point I get around to offering my time and energy and resources to something not about me and benefiting others in a good way, but I would like to make this more of a conscious yearly goal. Putting in some time every year to sit with our elders, or spend some time cleaning the beach, or even just helping a friend paint their new apartment or set up their baby crib, whatever it is, these things are key to staying uplifted in the world today. There is no better cure for our own self-pity depression holes than doing something for someone else. One of my best memories from this year was wandering down the street passing out flowers to complete strangers in NYC. It was such a simple and fulfilling moment.