Diet Detective: Hi Mandy, Namaste! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself). Thank you for doing this interview. Can you tell us how you became a yoga expert? And why? Also, tell me about Yogalosophy? Where is that from?
Mandy: Namaste! (Outta my way!—My brother made that up for the agro yogi.) I became a yoga expert accidentally! My dad was my in-house yogi from the time I was about 7. Little did I know when I was trying to get his attention by breaking into a yoga pose, that I was starting my career as an ‘expert’. I always say a teacher is just a really, really advanced student. I’ve learned a lot just by practice and sticking with it so long. I actually started teaching as a spinning instructor. People used to say it was like a yoga class on a bike. I was sort of a motivational speaker on a bike. I was a guru-ish type of teacher and realized at that time that the voices I had been using to take myself down, when turned outward, could power an entire room. So sharing my process became integral to my life. When I went through a breakup, I did a yoga teacher training just to immerse myself in something, and then when my dad passed away, I got my first teaching gig. I think dad is on the other side orchestrating this. Turns out I DID get his attention.
Diet Detective: Was there a defining moment in your life when you made a decision that changed the course of the rest of your life forever?
Mandy: Wow. What a question. Yes. I decided that I was going to accept my body AS IS, instead of forcing it the way I always had. Much to my surprise, when I stopped demanding so much of myself and lightened up, my body lightened up. Literally. This also happened when I let go of the way I wanted to my work to go. Each day, I just keep waking up and saying to the Universe: “Whatever you want me to do.” This has taken a lot of pressure off and made my life much easier, more fun, and has made me more sure of my own path.
Diet Detective: What’s the most bodacious chance you’ve ever taken?
Mandy: Allowing myself to trust others. I am on the ride of my life because I am not sure who is driving the car. All I can do is stay present. I don’t know. Is that a cop out answer? Probably falling in love.
Diet Detective: Tell us how you got to where you are now.
Mandy: I have always had a good way of setting intention for myself. In the back of my mind, I have held this idea that I could serve others by being an example of self-love. That the example I set would empower others to do the same. I have allowed myself to go on the journey along the way, which has included a lot of ups and downs…But I’m glad I took the ride. I just show up each day and do what’s in front of me. This is where I’ve ended up so far, but there is no resting point, no final destination.
Diet Detective: Define and discuss failure.
Mandy: No such thing! It’s all just perspective. Every single thing that has felt like a loss in my life has had a gift within it. I know that, and have faith. So I don’t always know what’s best. I trust that to be the bigger truth, even if I don’t like what is happening.
Diet Detective: On those days when you’re not motivated to work out, but you know you have to, what’s the one thought that gets you going?
Mandy: My body is a total gift, and the way I express gratitude is by moving it. That action changes my thinking. Sometimes you do have to JUST DO IT.
Diet Detective: What person do you respect the most, or who motivates you?
Mandy: I respect people who are happy regardless of their outer circumstances. Look, I feel that we all deserve respect. Life is definitely a journey and a challenge. Each day we have our own stuff to work with. My hope is that I respect humanity. I am inspired by the resilience of humanity.
Diet Detective: If you had to choose only three yoga poses for the average person to learn a do every day – which would ones would you choose? (Also can you give a brief description of those three too?)
Warrior 2 —
Step your feet apart about 4-5 feet. Turn your right foot out, and turn your left foot inward. Keep your left leg straight and bend the right knee to a 90-degree angle. Hips are facing the side, as are the back toes. Arms extended out in the same line as your legs. Look down at your feet. If you drew a line from the front heel, it would line up with the back arch. Sink deeply down, keeping the body’s weight directly over the groin. Shoulders are aligned directly over your hips, and lines of energy are extending out through your arms and out the fingertips. Press your shoulders down, as you lift your sternum upwards and breathe. Lift up out of the waist, but at the same time sink down, allowing your tailbone to sink towards the floor.
Tree Pose –
Place most of your weight on your right leg and draw your left heel to the inner thigh of your right leg. Steady your gaze and connect with your breath. Keep your left knee turning out, and gently tuck your tailbone, as you extend out through the crown of your head. With the hands in prayer position, press your palms together, at the same time press the inner thigh and the sole of the foot together.
Reclining Pigeon –
Lie on your back, knees bent, soles of your feet flat on the floor. Cross your left ankle over your right knee. Open the left knee out to the side. Draw your right knee to your chest, while keeping your left knee open to the side. Thread your hands through the space between your legs, and interlace your fingers behind your right hamstring, while drawing it in towards your body. Breathe and hold. Make sure your spine is comfortable. If the chin is jutting up, either tuck it under, or place a blanket underneath the head to lift the head slightly. Hold for 1-2 minutes. Switch sides.
Diet Detective: What is the biggest secret about yoga that you wish both non-practicing and practicing participants knew?
Mandy: It doesn’t make you spiritual or get rid of your flaws by itself.
Diet Detective: What are the ingredients for a great yoga trainer?
Mandy: Being able to connect with many, being open-minded and open-hearted, knowledge, self-knowledge, and curiosity.
Diet Detective: I love that you have “play lists” on your website (see: http://Mandy:ingber.com/media/Mandy:s-playlists/). What inspired you to create those lists? And what group/song gets you going the most?
Mandy: I’ve always been into music. Even when I was a child, my parents had music on throughout the house all the time. Its was just one of my interests. Not only specific songs but the way they could thread together. I miss the art of the album! I love Prince and Led Zeppelin.
Diet Detective: What do you consider the world’s most perfect food?
Diet Detective: What’s always in your fridge?
Diet Detective: Your typical breakfast?
Mandy: Scrambled egg whites, avocado and sometimes Ezekiel bread.
Diet Detective: Your favorite junk food?
Mandy: Coffee. It’s my on-again/off-again relationship.
Diet Detective: Do you have a favorite healthy recipe or cooking tip? If so would you share it?
Mandy: I have to be quick. I don’t have much time. One of my favorite recipes is in my book: Broiled Cauliflower (with olive oil and sea salt). It takes no time, and is a comfort food without the high carb content of potatoes.
Diet Detective: What’s the best book about health that you’ve read?
Mandy: I have read so many…I think you have to take it all with a grain of salt (no pun). But I do love Sugar Blues and the Michio Kushi books on Macrobiotics. 5 elements cooking and ayurvedic books are also very helpful.
Diet Detective: What are your favorite healthy living websites (other than your own)?
Diet Detective: Is there anything about yourself that you’ve changed your mind about in the last 20 years?
Mandy: Yes—that I am actually very lovable.
Diet Detective: What place have you traveled to where you think you could live (other than where you currently live)?
Mandy: I really love my hometown, Los Angeles. I have never even thought about leaving. Maybe I would take the trek to Malibu!
Diet Detective: What was your worst summer job?
Mandy: The only job I had that I didn’t love was when I was transitioning from being an actress to being an instructor. During that 5 year period, I took on only 3 jobs: packing a friends house for a move, casting an industrial film for my friend’s mom, and being a personal assistant to a writer for about a month. The most noteworthy “bad Summer job” was the Summer I did Teen Witch (a movie that is a cult classic). It haunts me, as the ‘rap’ I did for this ‘80’s movie lives on through the internet. I think that’s the best of the worst.
Your Website: http://mandyingber.com
Book (w/links to purchase): http://mandyingber.com/yogalosophybook/
Location: Santa Monica
Your current location….right now: Culver City
What is your current job title? Fitness Creative
Education: HARD KNOCKS
Résumé (brief): http://mandyingber.com/about/ (*Also see BIO above)
Hometown: Los Angeles.