On a fateful trip to Tulum, British actress and DJ Chelsea Leyland met Peruvian Jivamukti Yoga teacher, eating psychology and nutrition coach and actress, Fernanda de la Puente. The two women made an instant connection and have been buddies ever since. Together, they've collaborated on yoga classes to benefit causes like epilepsy and even a Live The Process bodysuit. Here, they chat about the power of movement and sound:
Chelsea Leyland: Fernanda, can you tell us what you do? Or at least the top three things, as I know that there are many strings to your bow?
Fernanda de la Puente: I write about mind-body nutrition for my website comocomo.pe, I teach yoga and I study acting!
CL: How did you become interested in wellness? How does health impact the focus of CómoComo, your amazing website?
FP: I grew up on an organic farm in Peru, so I’ve always felt a strong pull towards food and health. I studied nutrition in college in California and then went off to study Integrative Nutrition, Eating Psychology and Holistic cooking at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City.
I launched CómoComo last year (my previous blog was Peeling In), and it’s a website on how to eat life—as it translates from Spanish: Cómo = how, Como = eat. Even though there are sections on the site for what to eat, when to eat, where to eat and with whom to eat (interviews), it’s really about how you eat and how you live. I think that living is a process like eating: It's about digesting every moment, absorbing the nutrients and letting go of what we don't need. CómoComo also emphasizes the concept of mind-body nutrition: how our thoughts, feelings and emotions affect our digestion, nutrient assimilation, calorie burning capacity and overall health. I think that who we are in the deepest part of our being profoundly impacts the chemistry of our body, and CómoComo is an exploration of all of that. In a way, it’s a mix of yoga philosophy, eating psychology and nutrition.
CL: What drew you to the project we just worked on together? Why do you think I chose you to lead the practice?
FP: I always knew we were meant to create something together since the day I met you in Tulum. There was something in both of us that resonated. I don't know; I felt like I knew you from before, like a sister. I think you chose me because first of all, I’m a Leo like you, and, second of all, because we see life in very similar ways. Oh and we like non-cheesy music. I loved teaching my first entire yoga class in this incredible space with so many people; it was magical.
CL: When did your relationship with yoga begin and what has that journey entailed?
FP: Maybe when I was fifteen? I took my first yoga class in Lima, and it really transformed me. I’m a very sensitive person and, as soon as I started working with my body instead of working out my body, my life changed. I have been practicing Jivamukti Yoga ever since I moved to New York.
CL: Why do you think using yoga, mediation and sound are powerful in raising awareness for something such as epilepsy?
FP: I think yoga, meditation and sound are extremely beneficial for people suffering from epilepsy, so it ties in pretty nicely. Walk your talk? Is that the saying? Yoga is about stretching, strengthening and moving the body (outer being), so that we can begin to stretch, strengthen and move our inner being. It’s about expanding our perceptions and ideas of ourselves, the world and others, so that we can become more aware and awake human beings.
CL: Tell us about collaborating on the music: How was that process for you and why do you think the use of sound and yoga can be so transformative?
FP: Music and movement go hand-in-hand.The body is an instrument that can help us “tune into” ourselves and arrive at a still point inside, where we feel steady and joyful. Music has the power to connect us with something greater, other worldly. Look at all of us kids going to clubs and electronic music parties. Looking for what? For something that will shake us up and give us a freeing experience. Music goes directly in; it frees us. We have to use the body to help free our minds. Movement and music have the power to help us let go of the mind chatter and take us deeper into a real experience of the present moment; of what is happening right here, right now. I believe that the body is the spaceship that can take us into our inner space and these yoga practices help us get there. It’s about using the physical body, or what we know, in order to enter the unknown (or what we are afraid to know), which is our great power and potential.
CL: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process,” and how can we all do that more each day?
FP: Live moment by moment. Take life in, become receptive, open yourself up and allow yourself to be moved. Listen to the music in your life.