I’m so excited to launch this Inspiring Woman feature! It’s pretty fitting that today is Wednesday. Hello #womancrushwednesday! I love reading about women who are rocking their careers and lives to the max. I’m always curious to learn more about their daily rituals, how they eat, how they move and so on. So I decided to just ask a few amazing women if they’d share some of their tips and wisdom with all of you.

My first feature is on the lovely Lara Roux. Lara is one of my favourite yoga teachers in Cape Town. I used to attend many of her classes and workshops on a regular basis. Lara specialises in Forrest Yoga and her sequences get you to go real deep – physically and mentally. I don’t get to Lara’s classes very often anymore (schedule and studio changes), but I still bump into Lara on the promenade or at a festival and every time I see her, I’m met with her mega-watt, cheeky smile and her infectious energy. Lara is so down to earth and balanced in her approach to wellness and I really enjoyed her responses to my questions. She’s a truly inspiring Bespoke Body Babe and I hope you’ll take away some helpful tips!

Lets get to it then…

Introduce yourself

Hi, my name is Lara Roux. I am a yoga teacher and huge fan of all things involving movement, magic and motivation, I often forget that I am a mere 37 years young, so, when asked to introduce myself, I have to stop for a moment and take stock.

I’ve spent those years loving life (mostly), trying to live them to the max and have had many adventures which come with many crazy stories.

After travelling, living and working in exotic locations and far off islands, for a number of years it took me a number of years to fully settle back in Cape Town. 7 years later and I love being here, the glory of this majestic city, the community I teach in and its inspiring vibrant people, I truly feel honoured to have found this journey through life, one with intent, a great family and a magnitude of wonderful people.

Tell us about your eating philosophy.

Every day I try and teach people to listen to their bodies, to connect. That’s what I do, I really listen to what my body is asking me for and to give it what it needs.

Over the years, my eating philosophies have changed. From being a vegetarian, to now eating what my body asks for, what it needs, yes, sometimes it does ask for meat. With that being said, we should always try to put the highest quality of what we desire, into the “temple” that is your bodies.

I wish I could say I follow a strict dietary plan, unfortunately with my crazy hours (early mornings and late finishes), I often eat on the run and don’t plan very well for meal time, I also really love food. So the best I can do is to try and keep a healthy balance of what I put in; greens, carbs, fruits and veg. I enjoy a coffee and a glass of wine and try to be moderate with all things. (except when my mad family all get together over Christmas – there is nothing Moderate about a Roux Christmas holiday… and I love that too).

How do you like to move your body?

I like to move my body in as many ways as possible. Yoga is my soul practice, my deep love and what I choose to share with others. However, I love to climb our glorious mountains, walk miles along the picturesque coastline, swim for as long as possible in the ocean and I also love to dance, dance, dance – wherever that may be. My newest big love, is a very authentic Barre Class (ballet, yoga and dance all in one – the real deal), I feel moved by movement. Alive. You may even find me at one of those “Death by Disco” classes (as I call them) – Switch. As long as you are enjoying getting your body moving, sweating and feeling, I don’t think it matters what you choose to do. Just do it.

Do you have a meditation practice? If so, what does it look like?

I wish I could tell you I meditate everyday. I think only once in my life have I gotten that right for a few months. It’s something I wish to have, every morning a 20-minute seated practice and perhaps a bonus of 20-minutes at sunset.

My current meditation practice is 5 – 10 minutes, when I manage to get to the beach on my own. I sit. I breathe. I feel. Whilst I desperately try to switch off my busy mind.

In my home yoga practice, I always try and have at least 5 minutes before and after to do the same. Be quiet. Be still. But like most things, this is a work in progress.

What is your morning routine? What do you do when you wake up?

I try and get a small morning practice in before my day starts – Anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes of waking up, stretching and tuning in. Hot water and lemon first thing (More so in the winter) and maybe a walk along the ocean before the day kicks in.

Currently, things are a little crazy on the work front for me, so, I literally seem to fall out of bed. Touch my toes, drink a glass of water, whilst imagining that coffee I’ll spoil myself with as soon as I get a gap. I try get to a class before or after my first teaching each day. Again, a constant work in progress. Finding balance is a constant in my life.

What makes you feel most alive and vibrant?

The ocean, with it’s icy waters to dip in, the beautiful rocks and exquisite setting of the coastline that we get to watch it from;

Dancing with my whole heart and body to music that moves me;

A big festive lunch with my mad hatter friends and family;

Travel – the more exotic and out of the way the better;

Happy people – the energy they exude can remind you of your own untapped potential, what a beautiful gift!

What do you do to relax and unwind?

I disappear to my family home in Hermanus, and go for long swims and even longer walks with our dogs, on the exquisite and soul-nurturing mountain range. I love to sit quietly on the benches at sunset and be mindful. I always feel like going there fills up my cup.

When in Cape Town, I try and slip away to the beach every day for a swim, some time on my rock and finds those elusive minutes to tune in to myself or sometimes just to tune out.

Have you ever had to deal with any health (mental or physical) ailments and what helped you overcome it/them?

I wasn’t always as level headed or clear minded when it came to eating, my body and my general health. It took many years to overcome being consumed with fear and loathing for my own body.

Seeing the bigger picture helps, through all of my traveling, adventuring and the meeting of people in truly the saddest settings (with so little to eat, to hold and to have) who were happy. Truly, deeply, happy, just to be alive, to have family, to have a job… And then to come across others, who are so consumed in their great wealth, their big homes and perfect bodies that they couldn’t see the happiness right in front of them, even if it knocked them on their arses.

Seeing this, made me realise how lucky I was, to be healthy, to be able to move my body in so many ways, to seek gratitude for what it does for me and to now, 37 years later even be able to say I actually really love it. And would never want to harm it in any of the ways I had in the past.

My yoga journey was also very much part of that healing. I was so lucky to find it in a time before Instagram and yoga fads, it was easy to not be drawn into the physicalness of the practice, and rather to fall into the greatest depths of my soul.

What wellness trend would you like to see more of?

People listening to their bodies, eating healthy but not obsessively so. I’d love to see more home gardens and veggie patches with the rest of what is needed being ethically sourced.

What wellness trend are you sick of?

I seem to see less and less of the starvation-style diets of soup’ing and juicing only. I’ve never been a fan of those, I loved reading how you encourage people to eat within a detox – to not only juice and put fluids into the body but to eat light organic meals.

What’s your go-to healing meal or drink?

Bone broth and Pho have always made me feel better. I love how you get all the nutrients out of what one puts in the pot, using every last bit of goodness.

I grew up with my gran having a cup of hot water and lemon every morning, I think the benefits for the body, the cleansing of our system and how it kick starts everything into action is obvious. And a must for everyone. She lived to 94 and was the most amazing woman, in so many ways. I usually add some fresh ginger and honey, when feeling fluey or even when I just need that little extra zing.

Any supplements that you swear by?

I believe you can get all that you need by eating properly. When you’re deficient in one area, I believe you can feel it and bring in more of that nutrient, vitamin, etc by eating the food you “know” your body needs, getting to the source, in its highest quality form, directly through your diet. Listen to your body and it will tell you exactly what you need.

That being said, I do however feel the benefit in a vitamin B12 injection when my energy is low and have been experimenting with Curcumin.

Any healers, trainers, health care professionals that you’d highly recommend?

There are just so many wonderful people available to us here in Cape Town, so yes:

*Dr Phillip Burnham – acupuncturist, Chinese Medicine practitioner and Chiro – he is my go to guy and I think he is just the best.

*Ballet on Kloof. For all things ballet, dance and movement I think Seugnet Esterhuyse is amazing and she is a dear friend too.

* For Body work I think Shamiel is incredible, you will find him at The Holistic House of Health

* In terms of all things Lymphology and Digestion, I think Tamsin Sheehy‘s classes and Revitalise Courses are amazing.

* Yvonne De Kock, Sunset Beach Yoga is my Yoga Teacher amongst the many incredible individuals one can find in Cape Town.

* Tim Hayes Coaching, he has a vast knowledge of the body and he has worked with many of my private clients. He is really intuitive when it comes to knowing what one needs and taking you to that point. It’s always a pleasure working alongside him.

What does your skincare routine look like? What products are you using?

I love the Bioderma products and try and use them as much as my budget allows.

Your favourite quote / words of wisdom that you live by?

“There is much strength in vulnerability and much vulnerability in strength.” I use that as a reminder constantly in my classes and in my own life.

That and:

“You never know until you try”. That one has gotten me into some amazing situations and a few harrowing ones too.

What does your night time routine look like?

I teach most nights, so I get home a lot later than I would like too. Usually around 8.45pm.

Depending on whether I have gotten through my admin, I might sit down and send some emails before bed, which is never ideal. Food needs to happen somewhere in between, I try to have light meals: soups and broths in winter and salads in summer. Mostly.

I try and get to bed by 11pm. Teaching at night however wakes me up… and If I don’t take some time out away from my computer or phone, I do struggle to switch off and sleep. Remembering, often too late all the lovely bedtime yoga poses I should be doing to decrease the “Wide Awake” effect. I’m only human I guess.

If you could give one tip/piece of advice for a healthier, happier life…

Laugh. As much as you can, laugh and create those wrinkles so many are desperately trying to hide. Be proud of them. They show a life of sharing. Find people who laugh with you, along side you, who hold space for you (to cry too) but mostly, to encourage you to laugh.

There is so much dark in this world, so much that disheartens and lessens the light but laughing, laughing is intoxicating and invigorating and something that spreads so easily.

It makes us feel better, look better,and when we start taking life and ourselves a little less seriously, you can only become a happier, healthier you.

You can find Lara on Instagram @soulsistayogatwista where she posts her upcoming teaching schedule and many fabulous workshops and retreats throughout the year!

P.S. If you know of any woman who lives a beautifully balanced holistic life and you think they’d be a good fit for this feature, please pop me an email oona@bespokebody.co.za so I can get them on the blog!