Eating Well & Loving Our Bodies: A Conversation with Yoga Teacher Talia Sutra
I’ve always been fascinated by great teachers. When I came across this quote a few years ago by Dr. Palmer Parker: “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher,” I remember thinking, YES! Talia Peretz, a NYC-based yoga teacher, reminds me of that — an embodiment of integrity. I recently spoke with Talia, also known as Talia Sutra, about her tips for staying healthy while traveling.
Talia has been practicing yoga since age six and has a deep background in classical ballet as well. Talia specializes in classical alignment, inversions, flexibility and backward bending. She has a huge online presence on Instagram alone and has been featured in Esquire, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal as well as many other blogs and publications. Talia is known for her creative vinyasa sequences, crystal clear cues and awe-inspiring practices on and off the mat.
In this interview, Talia Sutra shares her insights on what to do — and not do — on flights, useful apps to download, how to indulge during our travels (while staying healthy), what she loves about traveling and more.
For many of us, one of best parts of traveling abroad is trying new foods. How can we indulge without going overboard during our travels?
It’s important to have a strong foundation in order to really experience freedom. For example, good alignment and understanding in Mountain Pose (standing up) will allow for freedom and confidence in Upside Down Tree (handstand). Those who eat with consciousness while at home will most likely eat with the same consciousness while traveling. When what you eat is an integral part of your lifestyle, an extension of yourself, it is not even an issue. You can indulge and try new foods within your set frame.
It’s not always easy to stick with our fitness regimen throughout our travels–especially when there’s no accessible gym. How do you recommend staying active?
As a yogi, I can take my practice anywhere. I have a super light, foldable traveling yoga mat, but even without it, I get my yoga on anywhere and everywhere. Before my flight you can spot me saluting the sun in my gate, turning upside down and sitting still in a five-minute meditation–it makes my flight so much calmer. While away, I usually practice on my own, a few minutes of abdominal work (I like boat pose) some sun salutations, low lunges and lateral bends. I try to get my spine moving in every direction–side to side, forward and back, and then finish off with a twist.
It is also okay to take days off! Enjoy walking around and really experience a new place. You could rent a bike and go on an adventure. Getting lost in a new place and not speaking a word of the local tongue is sure to be an adventure. Indulge in the local wines and go dancing all night, then leap into the ocean the next day. Try SUP boarding or surfing. Being active is just a natural part of being you, don’t stress about it.
Trying yoga classes throughout the world could be a great way to experience a new culture. What are some ways to find yoga classes throughout the world? Do you recommend English classes or classes in your destination’s language?
There’s an app for that! Download Lululemon’s OM FINDER app to find local studios recommended by local yogis…anywhere in the world! Or…just do it the old fashioned way–practice your yoga in a busy park and within minutes another friendly yogi will appear and you will be given the scoop on local yoga. Why not try a class in your destination’s language? Yoga should be fun! Try new things whenever you can… get outside your comfort zone.
Being active is just a natural part of being you, don’t stress about it.
It’s hard for most of us to feel good on an airplane–especially on long rides. How do you recommend that we eat healthy and take care of ourselves on days that we are traveling?
Hydrate! Drink plenty of water. I love Harmless Harvest raw coconut water. I also make myself a cucumber juice before flying; if you don’t have a juicer, just eat some cucumber before your flight. I DO NOT touch airplane food. Never drink the tea or coffee or touch the water from the bathroom faucet. The water is filthy; you should only accept bottled water when flying. I always carry cashew butter packets with me for some nutritious, healthy snack for the ride. I always have a good book with me, cozy socks, eye mask, my iPad, and my own headphones. I love Butter Elixir to keep my skin and hair moisturized.
Packing light and bringing what you need to feel great on your travels is an art. What are some of the essentials that you recommend?
This really depends on where you’re going. I always let my destination, season and weather inspire me. That said, some staples for me are: comfy boyfriend jeans, motorcycle boots, fedora, linen scarf, little black dress, long black leggings, bikini, plain white T, strappy sandles, and my mala beads.
We understand you’re vegan. Are there any countries that you’ve been to that were challenging to travel to? How do you recommend vegans prepare for their travels to foreign destinations?
Talia: The cool thing about being vegan is that it is actually really easy. Everywhere I go I find that fresh fruits and vegetables are in abundance. The most delicious fruits I’ve ever had while on vacation were in Maui, Hawaii–SO SWEET. All restaurants offer delicious vegetarian or vegan (if you ask nicely) dishes. I do miss my juicer and vita mix while I am away from home, but not so much that it’s a problem or distracts me from my trip.
Try new things whenever you can… get outside your comfort zone.
What have been some of your greatest travel highlights and challenges?
I love meeting new people when I travel. I love teaching in new studios and connecting with the locals. I love taking in the culture, listening and watching and absorbing what I can. I guess my challenge is usually getting around. Growing up in NYC, I can get around easily when streets are numbered and I can walk from place to place. But I really just do not have a great sense of direction, and I also don’t drive. So I get lost a lot…also my phone always dies and I don’t know anyone’s number.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the community about taking care of our bodies while we travel?
Taking good care of your body is a part of your conscious, yoga lifestyle. Don’t overthink it. Have fun! Step outside your comfort zone while staying true to yourself–you can’t go wrong.
Want to join Talia Sutra on a yoga, meditation and writing retreat in Tuscany? Find out more here.
Talia Sutra in New York City