As a celebrity yoga teacher and wife to star Alec Baldwin (with whom she has three small children), Hilaria Baldwin appears to have a pretty charmed life. But the reality has not always been Instagram-perfect—she has struggled with an eating disorder and even suffered a broken hip just as the New York City yoga studio she co-owns, Yoga Vida, was opening.
“Even though I was helping other people, I was forgetting about myself,” she says. “Rationally, I knew I should take care of myself…but I wasn’t taking the advice I was giving to other people.”
The root of the problem?
In her new book, The Living Clearly Method, Baldwin explains that her mind and body were out of sync, and this disconnect was throwing everything off. It’s the reason “connecting thinking to feeling” is the foundation that the five principles of her holistic wellness method—perspective, breathing, grounding, balance, and letting go—stand on.
Think you may be experiencing a similar disconnect? Here’s how to identify the issue and restore the connection, stat, so you can go back to eating and moving “clearly” a la Baldwin.
Signs of a standoff
“The body and the mind speak two entirely different languages,” Baldwin says. “If you live too much in the mind, you may get sick or injured; if you live too much in the body, you’ll get nothing done.”
Of course, it’s better to notice yours are out of sync before you encounter serious consequences. Common signs of a mind-body standoff, she says, are repetitive behaviors like consistently making the faster, convenient choice over the healthy one.
Signs of a mind-body standoff are repetitive behaviors like consistently making the faster, convenient choice over the healthy one.
That could mean grabbing a slice instead of making a salad, or going on date after date with someone you know is no good for you because it’s easier than calling it off. Maybe you’re engaging in behavior that’s self-destructive or destructive to others. Or maybe you just feel sad, sluggish, and lost, since when you’re all in your mind, she says, you can get stuck doubting, questioning, and speculating—and never actually acting.
How to restore the connection
“We can retrain the mind to listen to the body and encourage the body to speak more loudly so that the two sides come back into conversation,” Baldwin says.
Yoga, of course, is great for this because it creates a connection between words and movement, she says—and the more you move with attention, the more your mind will look inward instead of outward. Just don’t expect to hit one vinyasa class and leave with a totally aligned self.
“It’s a path,” she emphasizes. “You’re trying these things out and then little by little it becomes second nature. Why wouldn’t I breathe that way? Why wouldn’t I have perspective?” It won’t be easy, but this mindset, Baldwin says, is meant for people with busy, challenging lives, “so when everything is crazy, you can still stay namaste.”
More advice from yogis on how to live well: 3 simple happiness tips from the world’s oldest yoga teacher, plus how to handle a breakup without losing your Zen.