Author, chef, and green-living expert Renée Loux shares her life story interwoven with both yoga and food.
She became a vegan when she was a teenager.
It was a rebellion of sorts—a powerful statement to make at my age and at that time. In college, I studied comparative religion, meditation, Sufism, and Buddhism. I also got turned on to Ashtanga Yoga, which spoke to me immediately as a tool to access the quality of life that I wanted. My interest in food dovetailed with my yoga practice, begging the question, “What is the food that will bring the most vitality into my life?”
Her first real yoga teachers were Eddie Modestini and Nicki Doane.
I’d moved to Maui when I was 20 to become a chef, and in 1996, I opened one of the first raw-food restaurants in the country, The Raw Experience. My home practice was the glue holding me together during that chaotic time. In 1998, Woody Harrelson took me to a class taught by Eddie and Nicki, and within a few months I rented a cottage on their property on the North Shore of Maui so I could walk to class. I was living off the grid, practicing two to four hours of yoga a day with them in small, intimate classes, and then driving to work. It was a magical era in my life, and what I learned with them will serve me for a lifetime.
Yoga is her baseline.
I practice every day. I also practice pranayama every morning. I once read that a six-minute Breath of Fire practice is the cardiovascular equivalent of running half a mile. It’s both practical and spiritual. Breathing is an anchor, a focus, and a way to tame my monkey mind. So I carve out the time for it no matter what.
See alsoThe Science of Breathing
She believes thinking we are separate from our environment is a recipe for disaster.
I use my yoga practice to become more aware of my actions in relationship to others and the planet. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I worry that we have passed the tipping point in terms of environmental damage. And yet it’s crippling to live in fear. Yoga helps me remember how temporary this life is, and with that bigger view I can tap into the world’s beauty in a more lighthearted way.
See alsoStand Up for the Planet
Renée’s Favorite Pose
Sun Salutations. I love how they invoke a disarming humbleness. They help me show up in my life willing to surrender.
Renée’s Words to Live By
I love the sutra sthira sukham asanam: ‘Effort without tension, relaxation without dullness.’ It reminds me that energy should not be confused with anxiety and stress.