Maya Fiennes (sister-in-law of actors Ralph and Joseph) is a yoga teacher to some of the most beautiful bodies in the world; Elle Macpherson describes her classes as "inspirational, energising, sexy."
Looking ten years younger than her real age of 47, the former classical pianist credits kundalini yoga and philosophy as the 'secret' to her serene life.
"The beauty of it is that the relaxation effects are immediate whether you do a one-hour active session, a mantra-chanting meditation or just a three-minute kriya exercise."
Based in Los Angeles with her husband and two children, she runs yoga workshops and retreats all over the world.
How has kundalini yoga changed your life?
I used to get caught up in everyday stress, starting arguments with traffic wardens, for example. Now, thanks to kundalini yoga, I'm balanced, happy, focused and, most of all, full of energy!
What's your advice to women who feel they're stressed but can't seem to stop being so busy?
When I first started doing kundalini yoga, I also found it difficult to carve out 'me' time to practice my mantras, meditate and do the yoga (all described in my book, Yoga for Real Life - £14.99, Atlantic Books). I made the time. After a while, people around me respected this because they could see it brings me peace and happiness which I pass on to my family, daily chores and business. Taking that little bit of time for myself directly makes me more productive and loving.
What do you know about life that you wish everyone else did too?
We rush from place to place, stressing out over every little detail when what we need is to allow ourselves time to meditate, breathe and create personal space to learn to appreciate and celebrate who we are. This realisation leads to true happiness.
What was it like working with Elle Macpherson?
I admire Elle's courage to be who she is. She sticks to her spiritual path with unwaivering strength.
What's your favourite anti-ageing tip?
So many people focus on the next big thing in beauty; the best cream, lotion or makeup. These things we put on ourselves. But the best anti-ageing method is to look within yourself, to your inner beauty. By learning to appreciate who you are, you create a lasting radiance which keeps young inside and out.
What one thing can we all start doing today for a happier tomorrow?
Meditate. Doing mantras can help not only erase everyday thoughts from your mind but stimulate the nervous system and help balance the hemispheres of the brain. I've just released a set of DVDs on mantras which can help beginners meditate.
Tell us a bit us about your diet
I eat a wide variety of organic and colourful foods to celebrate nature and its nourishment of our bodies. I recommend really thinking about the origins of everything you eat. Enjoy it, but stay away from processed foods and those filled with chemicals and sugar. Read those labels!
Who is your spiritual hero?
Krishnamurti, one the greatest thinkers and spiritual teachers of all time. He loved truth and spent most of his life travelling the world talking about the essential and eternal questions of life. He didn't view himself as a teacher giving out knowledge, but encouraged people to learn the teachings directly through their own process of discovery.
What's the best life advice you've been given?
To watch my thoughts before reacting and not take things personally.
What do you love most about life in LA?
I really enjoy being by the ocean. It gives me perspective. Looking out over the sunny expanse of the sea helps me appreciate the power of nature and my place within it.
Maya will be leading an open class plus a Yoga For Real Happiness workshop on 30 October at The Yoga Show 2010. Visit www.theyogashow.co.uk for more information.
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