Empower Yourself through Yoga – Interview with Desi Bartlett

Apr 8th, 2020

1. Tell us about your yoga journey in the past year and any big events / changes around you?

2019 was amazing and in many ways I was working 3 jobs! My primary responsibility is always to my family and being a Mom and making sure that my children are being taken care of is what I think of as my “sacred job/duty.” My “passion job” has been both writing my first book, “Your Strong Sexy Pregnancy,” which is now available internationally as well as launching a round mat with manduka in the USA and the EU. I am passionate about empowering everyone with information and tools for radiant health from the inside out. My “office job” has been working as an executive to build several community based teams and help share the message of inspiration.

2. How it is like to design the yoga mat, what made you design a circular mat? Any special reason?

In 2008 while practicing yoga at home, I was meditating on the luminaries. All forms of Yoga in the West originated from hatha yoga, and I think of hatha as the “grandmother of Western yoga.” In Yoga we practice sun salutations and moon salutations, and the great luminaries are both round. However, when we practice asana we practice on rectangles. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it make sense to practice on a yoga mat that is inspired by these shapes.” In that moment, the idea for the round mat was born.

Additionally, I have a background in yoga, fitness, and dance. In yoga we learn about the luminaries. In fitness we learn that we only gain strength at the angles at which we train, and it makes sense to have 360 degrees range of motion available to us as we practice. In dance, there is a feeling of complete freedom of movement that allows for circles, arcs, and spirals. For all of these reasons, I felt like it was time for a round mat.

Like many first time products, the 2008 version of the mat needed some work and I held on to the idea for many years until I knew that the time was right. When I went to work as an executive for a yoga mat company, I knew that the time had arrived. It took 10 full years of evolution in my own path to be able to bring this product to market effectively, and in many ways this is a story of faith. Having faith in your dreams, while doing the work necessary is a combination that can lead to success.

3. Being a busy mother how do you find time to keep your balance between creating, practicing and teaching?

In 2020 I have redesigned my life a little bit. Early mornings and evenings are my time with my family. Our boys are both in school so that gives me 40 hours a week to play/create/express/work. There are times that it is necessary to put in a few extra hours, and I do this by working on the computer when my boys are playing sports. Also, my husband is the a wonderful partner and having a community of teachers, coaches, and friends that support our boy’s well-being is incredibly valuable. I know that if I am stuck in traffic and arrive a few minutes late to pick up my sons there is always someone to help. Building a community of support is vital.

4. If you offer one important advice to women, to lead a happy life what would that be?

I can only speak for myself, and humbly offered what I have learned. One of my most important learnings this year has been to make sure that I am proud of my choices. When I choose to work hard, I do so knowing that I am modeling a strong work ethic for my children. I also make sure that I am fully present for my children’s milestones. Although I am a hard worker, I am more than happy to step away from work a little bit early to attend a holiday performance or an important baseball game. If it is important to my kids, it is important to me too. Hard work and family commitment is what I am most proud of modeling for my kids.

5. Any secrets you would like to offer our readers about your fitness and being in shape?

Abs are cooked in the kitchen! You can always find ways to get in a little bit of exercise. Whether you wake up early to enjoy a morning yoga practice, or go for a walk during your lunch break, the opportunities to move are there. Where most people, myself included, sometimes trip up is in meal preparation. In the same way that we map out our daily plans, it is important to map out our food. A little bit of planning the night before goes a long way! When I have a few extra minutes at night, I put out a food container with 3 compartments, 1 for protein, 1 for fruit, and 1 for veggies to pack in the morning. If there is not enough time, then I know which restaurants have keto friendly options and I stay away from anything that spikes my blood sugar too much.

If you really want to be fit, it is important to remember that no amount of exercise can undo or reverse a bad diet.

6. Social media addiction among children. What is your view?

We are just on the verge of wrestling with these issues. My sons are 11 and 6, and they do not yet have personal social media accounts. Social media in and of itself is not bad, it is a way to stay connected with our community. However, as my grandmother used to say, “too much of a good thing can make it a bad thing.” This is true of everything in life, when we are out of balance it can have harmful effects.

7. In this modern fast phased world, what is it one should plan? What one needs to be aware of their life today to plan for the life tomorrow?

At the beginning of each year, I take some time to meditate on what my future self would think of my decision today. That thought helps me to make decisions that I can be proud of. Even if I make a wrong decision, the intention is always for the highest good, and if I need to course correct, that’s OK.

In the same way, I then like to reflect on where I would like to be in 10 or 20 years, and ask if today’s decisions are leading me down that path. We all have our own individual karma and dharma, so each person’s plan will be very different. However, the planning phase for most can be done in a meditative state, that segues into visualization. That way we are not focused on what we “should do,” and can let our higher selves guide the way.

8. Being a successful person empowering so many women, what was your main challenge you had to go through?

It hurts my heart when women disempower women. In the yoga community specifically, I have experienced some well-known yoginis caught in ego and fear driven behavior. Rather than go into specifics, I will share that sometimes the people that you least expect to disappoint you, can do so in a really big way. I am learning that all people have fear and sometimes that leads to some really ugly behavior. When I experience fear in myself, I make sure that I ask for help. In the same way that I enjoy lifting other women and their dreams, I am learning to be lifted and supported too.

9. Which book you have read that has touched you the most?

My dear friend and doula, Lori Bregman wrote a wonderful book called Mamaste, which recognizes the light in all women. I highly recommend this book for all women.

10. What is your mindset when you see chaos around you? how do you normally respond to daily events that can be seen stressful to others?

Meditation has been in my life since I was a child. In the same way that we brush our teeth in the morning to clean them, meditation feels like hygiene for my mind. Since I am a working mom, my meditations are often brief but profound, and I am able to connect to the Divine. When I begin my day in this way, I remember that it is not always for us as humans to know or understand “why” something has happened. When we need to know why a stressful event occurred, it can be an exercise in futility, because there are often times that we will never know why.

Starting each day with a deep and profound sense of center helps. It is rare that I feel knocked off center, and I have tools to help me pause and return to my heart. More often than not, simply going for a walk can help recalibrate my system. I process stress in my body as nervous energy and the best thing I can do is burn it off. Whether that is through walking, a strong vinyasa practice, or a bootcamp class, the more intense the feeling, the more intensely I move. I try to meet the emotion at the level at which it is occurring and let it burn off.

11. With so many women going through various health conditions, any advice for them to help lead a healthy life?

Yes, please make sure that you have a tool for stress management. Heart disease and heart attacks can be harder on a woman’s body than on a man’s. High pressure jobs and busy lives require a form of stress management that is simple and easy to do. For me, morning mediation sets the stage for the day and allows me to remember that it is ok to “act” and not “react.” By having a simple tool like deep breathing, or a mantra, you can use that tool when there is a stressful situation.

12. Vegan, Vegetarian and meat alternatives (fake meat) that are quite popular today?

There is a wonderful health expert in California named Paul Chek. In addition to decades of study in human anatomy & physiology, he studied the teachings of Yogananda. Check espouses eating meat only on the days that you train heavily with weights, and living a vegetarian lifestyle on the other days. This resonates with where I am today. When I train hard I have a little more protein (I do well with soy protein and eggs). Outside of that, I tend to do a lot of smoothies to get more fruits and veggies into my diet. I am not a fan of fake meat. The amount of processing that goes into creating an animal like taste and texture requires a lot of preservatives. I prefer food that has 3 or less ingredients (unless I am the one who is cooking it and can see exactly what is being put into it).

Asana Journal

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