Yoga Now with Mariel Hemingway by Christine Lynn Harvey

Actress Mariel Hemingway has teamed up with yoga guru Rodney Yee to create "Yoga Now," an excellent new total fitness program. Mariel started yoga 21 years ago and found it to be helpful in her career. Acting is a demanding profession since it requires you to always have your energy up. Being a celebrity creates special demands like always having to be "on" for the media and public. That requires a lot of physical, mental and emotional focus.

"Yoga has the ability to keep you present and in the moment," says Mariel. "There's nothing more important in acting than being in the present moment. You're inside the character and your reacting to what you feel. Even though you have dialogue, yoga heightens the ability to be really connected to your body and actions." Mariel believes that yoga is more difficult because in acting, you can hide behind a character. Yoga forces you to face yourself.

"At times, just showing up on the mat can be challenging, cause sometimes we're tired." she says. "Exercise in any form has a yogic element to it. Often, I won't do the asanas and instead do breathwork, meditation and go for a long walk which will feed me in the way that I need to be energized." Mariel prepared for her last film, a cable TV movie, "Air Force Two Down" (airing in January) by going for really long walks a lot. "It was appropriate for the character. She would have scoffed at yoga.

Mariel says we have gotten to a place in our society where there are so many perfect ways to exercise and she says, sometimes, it's more important to listen to how your body is feeling and the way it needs to be treated. "The truth is, you have to find what's good for you." Changing up things is the perfect remedy. "I can get very caught up in doing the same thing over and over. My challenge is to weigh how I feel on a certain day. How am I feeling? Do I need to do the same yoga workout? Maybe I need to go for a bike ride, or mayve I'm tired and I need to rest."

Creating spontaneity in life is very good for the system and metabolism. When things become monotonous, like bad habits, it becomes not good for you even if it's so called good for you like exercise. Instead of rebuilding yourself, you're breaking yourself down. Then you get sick in order to rest which used to be my total pattern." As you get older, your body just doesn't bounce back that quickly and you lose days and then, it's just not worth it she says.

"We need to pay attention to nature and appreciate that the body becomes more tired and needs warmer foods as we move into winter, but we've forgotten those things cause we can hop on a plane and go somewhere warm." Mariel says you don't have to abide by the seasons all the time, but to have a healthy respect for them is the key.

Mariel does not eat a lot of grains and sugars cause she says those kind of foods just don't work for her. She eats a variety of berries, nuts, lean protein and other foods with good fat sources. She incorporates good nutrition into her new DVDs. "To give someone just a yoga routine is almost irresponsible. When people want to change their lives, when choosing yoga especially, you are doing it for deeper reasons. On a subconscious level, you want something more. Eventually, as I started doing yoga, I was calmer, completely relaxed and my mind was gradually changing."

Rodney Yee is Mariel's yoga teacher a good friend. "We're a good ying-yang. We balance each other in a nice way. He's a master teacher and I teach how to incorporate yoga in the real world." "Yoga Now" is a Yoga/Cardio Fusion workout that includes a 30 minute core workout, 10 minute AM energizer, 10 minute PM de-stresser, pose guide, 2 week quick start meal plan, 24-page nutrition plan and daily journal. "It's super simple. We don't use any Sanskrit terms that would make someone not want to do it cause they think it's a religion," she says. "We debunk that yoga has to be that way. It could be that way, but the program targets the mainstream. When you start to slow your life down, it leads to other kinds of thinking, like peace and compassion."

Mariel is working on a new book "Living in Balance," and owns a health & fitness company "In Balance," a line of apparel, food and supplements. She is also helping her husband, a documentary filmmaker, produce spiritually-based films.

For more info, visit www.yoganow.com for a special internet offer that has "Yoga Now" selling for $19.95. For more info, call 1-888-637-7720. Photos by Richard Reinsdorf courtesy of www.gaiam.com