Jennifer Aniston credits her chilled, happy attitude to life and glowing skin to one woman – her best friend and yoga teacher Mandy Ingber. She was the person the star turned to following her divorce from Brad Pitt and it is her workouts that helped Jen move on feeling full of positivity and inner-calm.
The pair usually work out together three times a week doing 20-25 minutes of cardio to warm up – usually spinning or energetic dancing – followed by a yoga session in the garden before taking the time for “a moment of gratitude” on the terrace of the 47-year-old star’s Beverly Hills home.
“Mandy’s yoga style has changed my life,” says Jennifer, who readily admits that she looks and feels better in her forties than she did when she was in her twenties, because she has ditched the punishing workouts and harsh diets for a gentler, kinder approach to her body. “This is one of the most fun, challenging workouts I’ve ever had.”
And, she’s not kidding about the fun; Mandy advises that if you feel as though you can’t fit a cardio workout at the gym into your day, or if you’re just too tired to work out, then pick one favourite song that fires you up and play it six times throughout the day and get up and “dance like crazy, do jumping jacks, forward kicks or running on the spot.”
That’s one extremely simple way of getting in twenty minutes of cardio – without even thinking about it.
Jennifer loves to listen to Will i.am and Britney Spears when she’s working up a sweat (yes really). But Ingber’s attitude is refreshing – especially in Hollywood where women are known to starve themselves before movie premieres, going on regular dangerous detoxes and fasts which leave their bodies exhausted and confused:
“That old way of beating ourselves up to get into shape is just an old model and it’s time to embrace something new,” says Ingber. “You already have the perfect body, so start loving it and celebrating it and making better choices. If you incorporate even 15 minutes of yoga into your day, you will notice your body, mind, and emotions begin to shift and change.”
While Ingber believes that eating a diet which has “lots of green leafy vegetables,” is best, she’s not strict and advises that if you have one of those days where you suddenly crave a sugary muffin or cookies and eat them then don’t despair:
“If you do that, forgive yourself immediately,” she says. “Don’t give in and say, ‘Oh I ate something bad’ and then see that as a reason to eat junk food for the rest of the day and then start your diet again the next morning. Have a glass of water and start afresh immediately. Move on with self-love and acceptance. Don’t beat yourself up, be kind to yourself, put it behind you – now, not tomorrow.”
And, Mandy tells clients that planning the week’s meals on a Sunday is a great way to avoid making bad choices when they are stressed and tired midweek.
“If you have a fridge full of healthy food then that is what you will eat,” she explains. “I encourage people who are embarking on a healthier lifestyle to stop eating things that are packaged, so frozen ready meals that came from a factory are not what we need to make our bodies happy.
“Our needs are really very basic: Think about what people ate before fast food came along. Lots of vegetables, fish, fruit, salad, lean protein and some slow burning carbs.
“It’s as easy to reach for a handful of healthy food when you’re hungry as it is to snack on refined sugar laden food that will leave you feeling tired after the initial sugar rush – having a bag of dried goji berries or almonds with you in the office or in your bag will make life easier as you won’t be tempted to load up on things you later wish you hadn’t eaten.
“If you have a sweet tooth then cacao and avocado mousse with raw honey will satisfy that urge and it only takes a few minutes to make at home.
“And if you can set aside ‘me time’ for yoga and and just five minutes of dancing and sweating every single day you will see changes fast. It takes just 28 days to teach your brain new habits and for them to stick so if you allow yourself just 28 days of being kinder to your body you will see huge changes and you don’t need to be an A-list star to do that, you can do it all at home.”
Mandy has written several books and her latest is called, ‘Yogalosophy for Inner Strength: 12 Weeks to Heal Your Heart and Embrace Joy’. It is available to download on Kindle or you can buy it from Amazon. Like her first book, Yogalosophy – which was a New York Times bestseller – Mandy sets out easy, varied and fun daily exercises which focus on healing your mind and body. But this time it is also about moving on emotionally and physically after a heartache:
Mandy explains: “It might be nice to know you’re not alone in your plight. Heartbreak is a universal experience, and no one has the luxury of avoiding it, including my clients, who are well known for their successful careers and their runway-worthy bodies.
“Being a celebrity and “having it all” doesn’t exempt you from pain. There is no fast pass that allows you to skip being human.
“My client and friend Jennifer Aniston had one of the most famous and scrutinized breakups on the planet. She credits our work with helping her get through it and discovering that she could act her way into correct thinking. Jennifer is living evidence that moving the body with heart produces the emotional result you’re looking for.
“Using the emotional energy positively has transformed her. She has reached an entirely new level of personal power and comfort in her own skin. I hold very dearly the very first time we practiced yoga together.
“It was a devastating time, when she was exposed to more pain than most of us with a freshly wounded heart can handle, and I suggested that we simply move the energy with some yoga. I let her know that if she needed more energy she could tap into what she was feeling, and if that didn’t do it, that she can tap into me. That is what I suggest to you too, through this book.”
If you want to give some of the Mandy magic a try for yourself there’s a really simple yoga workout below that you can try at home or in your office, even if you’ve never done yoga in your life, which focuses on exercises which will leave you feeling happier in just ten minutes.