The Living Clearly Method: 5 Principles For A Fit Body, Healthy Mind & Joyful Life by Hilaria BaldwinThe Living Clearly Method: 5 Principles For A Fit Body, Healthy Mind & Joyful Life by Hilaria Baldwin

The Living Clearly Method: 5 Principles For A Fit Body, Healthy Mind & Joyful Life

byHilaria Baldwin

Paperback | December 27, 2016

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about

Hilaria Baldwin knows what it means to be pulled in many directions—as a mother of three, businesswoman, yoga instructor, Instagram sensation, and wife of actor Alec Baldwin, she has to work hard to remain centered. Through her life experiences, struggles, and personal growth, Hilaria has developed a method for using movement and mindfulness to create an unbreakable mind-body connection, an illuminating method that shapes her life.

The Living Clearly Method shows how to blend purposeful movement with conscious breath to move through our lives with grace, calm, and positivity. By using Hilaria’s five simple principles—Perspective, Breathing, Grounding, Balance, and Letting Go—you can flow through any situation with the beautiful union of mind, body, and spirit that a yoga practice can create.

But learning to honor the body and listen to the soul does not end when you get off the mat. Hilaria believes strongly in finding ways to integrate the five principles into your entire life, so for each step she also shares her own routines that keep her active all the time—from the little motions that engage her body during household chores and the foods that keep her well nourished to the philosophy that grounds her when she’s being pulled in a million directions at once.

This book is also packed with practical tools such as timesaving tips, delicious recipes inspired by clean and plant-based eating, mini-workouts that seamlessly integrate into your everyday life, breathing exercises, and customized yoga and meditation routines.

The Living Clearly Method teaches you to listen to your body, tune in to your mind, and develop the consciousness to clear your head and find peace in your life. It is a beautiful, intuitive guide for living the healthiest life possible, both inside and out.
Fitness and wellness expert Hilaria Thomas Baldwin is the cofounder of Yoga Vida, a yoga studio with locations in Union Square and Noho in New York City. She is the lifestyle correspondent for EXTRA, where she covers fitness, fashion, celebrities, and news. Baldwin has been profiled by the New York Times, Elle, and Yoga Journal and bee...
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Title:The Living Clearly Method: 5 Principles For A Fit Body, Healthy Mind & Joyful LifeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.1 × 7.5 × 0.6 inPublished:December 27, 2016Publisher:Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/RodaleLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1623366984

ISBN - 13:9781623366988

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Read from the Book

Chapter OneMY STORYMany people know me as the woman married to Alec Baldwin who does yoga poses in unlikely places. But there's more to my story than that. I've worked hard to make it through the blurry parts of my life, and I've fought for the happiness that I've found.In one of my earliest childhood memories, I'm at a playground. I was a complete monkey as a child, as comfortable climbing trees as standing on solid ground. Instead of swinging like the other kids, I shimmy across the top of the swing set, 12 feet above the ground. While this likely sent the other parents into a panic, my mother calmly calls after me, "Hilaria, are you listening to your body?" Do you trust your body with what you are doing?Back then this was an annoying question, but I would later understand what a gift it was; I was taught to tune in to my physicality at a very young age, and this fostered my passion for movement of all kinds. My first love was ballet, which I started as a toddler (before quitting in a 3-year-old's rebellion against the too-strict teachers). Then, the free-spirited world of traditional Spanish flamenco won my heart. By age 7, I found my way into gymnastics. My small stature and agility made me a natural fit for its complex moves and rigorous training. By my early teens, I fell headlong into the world of Latin ballroom dance--equally demanding, but with tiny sequined dresses and gold lamé heels as a bonus. I loved the combination of music, costumes, and artistry. Latin ballroom was arduous yet glamorous, in a fake-tan and false-eyelashes kind of way.My years on the competitive dance circuit gave me some incredible life skills, like focus and self-reliance. But they came at a steep price. Without realizing it, I started drifting away from the playful connection to movement I'd enjoyed as a young child and into a different and darker kind of dynamic: pushing my body to its limits and commanding it to perform through pain or fatigue. I took my instrument for granted, using my sheer mental power to override injury, smile winningly for judges and audiences, and play deaf to my aching feet, hips, and back.By the time I got to college in New York City, I was still pushing. I took every opportunity I was given--dancing, teaching, and studying--and ignored the fact that my well-being was declining. There were times I was in so much pain I could barely walk, yet I never missed a practice or performance. Beneath my pulled-together surface, my swollen joints, strained ligaments, and ruined feet told a different story.A long-simmering struggle with anorexia and bulimia began to hold me firmly in its grip. By the time I was 20 years old, my 5-foot-3 frame was at least 20 £ds under a healthy weight. My nails were brittle, my hair was falling out, my period was MIA, and my energy had tanked. I was miserable and desperate to feel better.That's when I found yoga. I was hustling across the East Village to my NYU classes one day when I saw a sign for a new yoga studio. I didn't know much about the practice but heard it gave people relief from stress and physical aches and pains. Instinctively sensing that yoga might help me sustain my dance career without it destroying me in the process, I grabbed a flyer and then stared at it for a week, working up the courage to try something new-- not easy for a perfectionist and competitor like me. I finally summoned up the nerve to try a basics class. Wearing baggy sweatpants and a tank top, I tiptoed to the back row with my mat.In that first class, I discovered that yoga was the complete opposite of my dance and gymnastics training. Every posture I assumed was for my own good, not to land a high score or impress an audience. It was a revelation--and it was the first time since my mother's playground inquiry that anyone had instructed me to listen to my body. By the end of class, lying in the resting pose called Savasana, I was in tears. As a kid, I'd had such a natural connection to the part of myself that knew what would make me happy and what felt right and good, but in the swirl of competition, I'd lost touch with her. I cried because I had let her down and also because for the first time in forever, I wanted to find her again.The owner of the studio saw potential in me and encouraged me to apprentice there and take the teacher training program. I threw myself into my studies and quickly began teaching some of the studio's large group classes.As requests for more focused, one-on-one attention came in, I added in private classes. My sensation-based style of teaching seemed to help people struggling with all kinds of demons: eating disorders, abusive relationships, illness, obesity, addiction, anxiety, depression, and much more. We would use the yoga poses to get into the feeling of being in the body and, from that place, to find more awareness, compassion, and room for change. We explored how a physical practice could be a way into feeling our lives from the inside out and a key to reclaiming our power so we were not ruled by our thoughts, fears, and stories.We explored how a physical practice could be a way into feeling our lives from the inside out and a key to reclaiming our power so we were not ruled by our thoughts, fears, and stories.To maximize this, I started using special sequences of poses in my class that brought the best out of my students and helped them connect to themselves more deeply, inside the studio as well as outside it. Over time, this loose system crystallized into what I christened the Living Clearly Method. That's when I fell in love with my job. Helping others to find the seed of possibility inside themselves, even if it was just for a moment or two, lifted my heart and spirit daily.I wish I could say that it was smooth sailing from this point on, but sometimes things have to get a whole lot worse before they get better. Even while I was helping so many others, I still didn't listen to my body. I was like the cobbler who had holes in her shoes. I spent each day teaching other people to be kinder to their bodies and to tap into the beautiful connection that yoga can create between the mind and the body, yet I was blind to how hard I was pushing myself. Like many New Yorkers who strive to make ends meet, I threw myself into teaching with relentless drive. It was my life's mission, almost a devotion, and I held myself to super-high standards. Extraordinarily long days became my reality; skipping meals was par for the course. Even with all the yoga I was doing, and with all the positive change that the Living Clearly Method was inspiring in others, I still hadn't found the key to tempering my go-go-go approach to life.In 2009, one of my students approached me about opening up a yoga studio together. I jumped at the opportunity, and we spent endless hours meeting to discuss the name logo, teaching philosophy, location, and more. All this while I was still dancing, teaching dozens of yoga classes per week, running to get my cardio in, and much more. Little did I know that this amazing opportunity would get served with a very challenging lesson. It was to be the lowest point of my life.My left hip began acting up one morning on my daily run. A lighting bolt of pain seared down my leg. I pushed through it, assuming it would eventually die down. It didn't. I'm pretty sure I have an exceptionally high tolerance for pain, but this was bigger than anything I had experienced. After a few days, the sensation progressed from discomfort to agony, and soon I couldn't get out of bed. Two doctors and bottles of painkillers later, I finally got an appointment for an MRI and a pair of crutches. The day after the MRI, I hobbled out of my apartment building with my crutches to meet some friends. I had balanced a purse on one of my shoulders, and as the apartment door closed behind me, a cold December gust blew the bag off my shoulder. As I reflexively tried to catch it, shifting to my injured leg, I heard a loud snap and collapsed to the pavement, landing in a pile of garbage bags. Searing pain radiated through my left hip and leg. My friends carried me back into my apartment and laid me down on the bed, where I remained, delirious from the pain, unable to eat or make it to the bathroom. Early the next morning, my doctor called with the results of the MRI. It showed that the femoral neck of my hip was barely connected to the joint. She sent an ambulance over immediately, and when I got to the hospital for emergency surgery, the surgeon deduced that the fall had actually further fractured the femoral neck, which meant that my leg bone was completely severed from my hip. It was as bad as it sounds.Three metal pins would be holding my hip together when I woke up many hours later, writhing in pain. The doctor laid out my recovery plan: I would be wheelchair bound for 3 months. If my healing progressed, I would graduate to crutches and gradually downsize to one crutch, then to limping crutch- free. The pins would be removed about 1 year after the surgery.As the post-op grogginess faded, the fear and claustrophobia set in. I'd lived my whole life in motion. Now, doctors were saying that if I didn't keep weight off my hip by staying in the wheelchair, they would have to fully replace my hip. The fact that I lived alone in a tiny apartment made this extraordinarily taxing, physically and mentally. Worse, we were opening our studio, Yoga Vida, in 3 weeks, and I was the antithesis of the teacher I thought I'd be on this momentous day--confined, claustrophobic, and questioning my abilities. Throughout my life, my body had performed my every command. It was my reliable and hardy tool for teaching; I was always my own best demo. Now, stripped of my physicality, I was forced to find another way to illustrate information and get my points across. In the days leading up to our opening, I would ask myself (between gripping waves of self-pity and pain): How will I describe what it looks like when you settle into a anatomically correct Chair Pose? How will I tell them how to find a deep and expansive Warrior 1? When opening day came, the first students filed into the studio and found me waiting at the front of the space, in my yoga pants, with my iPod cued to my favorite playlist, and sitting in a wheelchair. I was incredibly nervous.I had to call on new powers. I had to learn to use my voice wisely and take advantage of the impact that words can have. I also discovered the power of silence, of waiting and observing the room before giving a cue. I fully grasped the power of yoga to transcend all the limitations that the mind thinks exist; yoga offers itself to every kind of body. While those early days in the wheelchair were some of the hardest of my life, they were also some of the most profound because they forced me to break out of my comfort zone and become a wiser teacher.The injury was what I call a rude awakening--the moment when everything falls apart, shocking you even though in retrospect you saw it coming. This can happen to anyone--a relationship or marriage falls apart, a job goes up in flames, or you come apart at the seams under duress. When the awakening happens, it can feel like reaching rock bottom. It can also be the thing that makes you finally see.My injury shone a glaring light on my self-sabotaging ways: My relentless drive to do more and my eating disorder were two methods I used to try to keep everything under control. I thought I was all about healthy living, but I was actually a bit of a tyrant to myself! I constantly demanded more of my body--perform better, work harder, sleep less, run on air and a pile of lettuce leaves. And after so much pushing, my body had screamed at me to stop through the only way it could get my attention: breaking me.As I slowly began regaining mobility, I had a lot of time to reflect on how I was relating to my life. One day, walking slowly down the street, I had an insight that literally stopped me in my tracks: Why can I be that whole, balanced, together person in front of an audience, but when it's just me by myself, I fall apart? Why is it important enough to be that way for other people but not important enough to be that way for myself?I reclaimed that natural state of ease and freedom I'd originally had as a young girl and then lost along the way.When that insight came, it cut through to the true feelings at my core. And what I found was not the weakness I'd feared; it was anger! I was sick of being sick and tired. I was over this self-abusive behavior. Not taking care of myself was like giving my power away. Not only had I broken my body, I had broken my relationship with myself.This anger and passion fed my resolve to get well, once and for all. There was no quick fix to getting over my patterns, I realized. I had to learn to live my own philosophy and master the recipe of Living Clearly that I'd been teaching others. In my fervor to help as many people as possible progress in their own practice, I had completely abandoned myself.My year of recovery turned out to be a year of waking up, in which I healed my two-decade-long eating struggle and began to treat myself right. I started to find pleasure in engaging fully with the whole process of eating, instead of checking out or avoiding it. The imbalances that had been there for much of my life returned to balance, and I looked and felt a hundred times better as a result. I began approaching exercise with a broader perspective, as well, balancing moments of high-energy physicality with greater rest and recovery.

Editorial Reviews

“If your path to better health has become obscured by a swirling flood of confusing and conflicting ideas, Hilaria Baldwin will show you the stepping stones that will get you there with confidence. She knows this path well, and she will teach, empower, and inspire you to be the best you can be. With warmth and clarity, The Living Clearly Method lays out the simple, powerful principles that will help you get back into balance, feel good about your body and mind, and see the potential you might not have known you had.”—Neal D. Barnard, MD, New York Times bestselling author of 21-Day Weight-Loss Kickstart and Power Foods for the Brain“The Living Clearly Method is filled with wisdom and practical guidance for maintaining a strong mind-body connection, no matter what is going on around you, so you can find the peace of mind we all crave. This is a gorgeous guide to nourishing the mind, body, and spirit.” —Christie Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of Timeless Beauty“I've worked with Hilaria and know firsthand that she is everything she preaches. I photocopied her five principles and hung them up in my office to remind myself how important they are to practice.”—Maria Menounos, Host E! Entertainment Television and New York Times bestselling author“The Living Clearly Method is a beautiful, energetic guide to filling your life with goodness. From delicious food to little movements to insights on finding the peace of mind we all crave, this is a gorgeous guide to nourishing the mind, the body, and the spirit.” —Beth Ostrosky Stern