Yoga, Instagram & The Backlash Of 'Clean Eating' With Annie Clarke
"It’s kind of spiralled out of control... We should take what the others say with a pinch of salt & do whatever makes us feel good."
Annie Clarke is one of the UK’s most influential yogis, with a strong community and following (over 90k to be exact). She is a successful author and owner of a quickly expanding health and wellness brand – Mind Body Bowl.
To be honest, I actually found yoga a bit boring when I first started it. It was so hard to sit still as I was much more used to something faster paced. Over time, I realised that I was approaching it with the wrong attitude. Rather than thinking of it as a physical exercise, I started thinking of it as a place where I can connect with myself and listen to where I was at. It started off as very physical and now it’s much more of a mindful practice.
All the time. I’m quite an emotional person but I let my emotions come out which I think has been a lesson which has come with yoga. I try not to suppress things too much. So I don’t get angry and I don’t get that stressed, but I will have moments where I’m like OH MY GOD, I can’t handle this and then cry, and then I’m good again. That happens a lot less now because of my yoga practice.
The week of my book launch I barely did any yoga and I wasn’t doing any meditating, and I noticed how obviously how stressed I got.
I had two private clients that I was meant to see on the day of the launch and I was sure that I would fit everything in. I realised about 48hours before that I was going to let the whole event pass by without being present and enjoying it so I had to remind myself to stop, slow down and give myself a little time. I was able to be honest with them, and myself, and say “let's just focus on this one thing right now and everything else can wait until next week.” Luckily they were really understanding!
I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to be everywhere and do everything and sometimes especially when you have a lot going which most people do, there’s no harm in stepping back and saying ok, what’s important, what has to happen right now, where can I save my energy. I can then be in a better place to give because I don’t like doing anything without giving fully and so it’s learning when to step back and say no I can’t do that right now.
I never set out to have a following @mind_body_bowl, I didn’t want to be an influencer, that wasn’t important, but now I feel really honoured to have a community which is very supportive that I can also share with and support in return.
I definitely go through phases where I have nothing to post, and then I realise that no ones going to die if I don’t post on Instagram.
I always make sure that I stay authentic in what I share. It has to be what is real for me – that doesn’t mean it is what everyone else should be doing. I genuinely love eating the way I do. I snack too much and enjoy sweet treats but my body doesn’t cope well with dairy. That’s just how I am, I don’t feel any pressure and I wouldn’t do something or eat a certain way if I didn’t want to.
I definitely eat more nut butter than I should and that is my favourite thing. I think it’s important to remember that you can still have too much of a good thing, but I don’t worry about it too much. As long as I feel good, that is what is important to me.
I really dislike labels like ‘clean eating,’ as there will be certain ‘rules’ that are associated with it that you then feel like you have to keep up with.
It’s kind of spiralled out of control and some influencers get bad press from it because somebody is trying to pick holes in one definition of what it means to that person. For me, clean eating isn’t eating certain foods or even cutting out any food groups, it’s just eating well and nourishing my body.
Everyone will have an opinion on it but actually, eating clean will mean something different to each individual. We should just take what the others say with a pinch of salt and do whatever makes us feel good.
Photo Credit: Philippa Langley
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