Ajna Experts: Lucy Van Cleef
Meet our latest Ajna Expert: Lucy Van Cleef!
Lucy is an American who works as a professional dancer in the United States and Europe.
She enjoys exploring ways to share movement as a universal language
through performance, teaching, yoga, choreography, writing, and more.
We sat down with Lucy to talk about her journey into a holistic lifestyle, and how Ajna Wellbeing has been a part of that!
How did your journey into holistic health begin?
My journey into holistic health has been long and winding. I first discovered yoga as a professional ballet dancer in LA in my early twenties. Everything in that city was so fast paced, and focused on the external: what job you have, what care you drive, and how you look. It was easy to get swept away in that world, especially in a job where I spent hours every day standing in front of the mirror. Yoga was my first window into another way of life. Sure, I started practicing to make me more flexible and streamlined for ballet. But I quickly realized that nobody cared how I looked in those classes. I could tap into how I felt. And I quickly figured out that I could nourish my body with the same internal consciousness. I’ve moved around a lot since then: to Boston, Copenhagen, and now Berlin, and my life is a lot different to how it was ten years ago. But my path toward holistic health has continued.
Do you have any routines that keep you feeling good?
I love practicing yoga in the early mornings. I try to take time in the day to scribble my thoughts down—stream of consciousness frees up my mind for new ideas to take hold. I ride my bike whenever possible instead of taking the train to get some fresh air every day. And I try to cook the majority of my meals so that I know exactly what is going into my body. Oh, and sleep! It’s taken me years of denial to accept that I need eight hours, preferably nine, to feel my best.
What are your preferred ways to practice self care?
I try to not be too hard on myself. I spent the first phase of my life holding myself to extreme physical standards. I was hungry a lot of the time, and some of my relationships weren’t exactly healthy either. So now, I try to be more forgiving. I am always going to be my worst critic. So I can cool it with the self-criticism and try to treat myself better. The routines I mentioned before (yoga, writing down my thoughts, sleeping enough…) make me feel good. So I do them for that reason. Being with the people I love, taking a spontaneous day trip, or spending an hour in bed in the afternoon make me feel good too! So I say: do everything in moderation, and live your life the way that makes you feel your best.
Ajna is related to intuition. Can you think of a time that you listened to your intuition rather than other people’s opinions?
This is a huge topic for me right now now, because I’m pregnant with my first baby. Opinions come at you from every which way when you’re pregnant. You should do things this way, definitely not eat that, and by God, how can you even think about doing that! It can be really overwhelming, and there were a few times when I came close to snapping. Then something clicked: I realized that for me, becoming a mother means trusting my intuition. Sure, I can hear the advice of people who have been there. But in the end, I need to figure it out on my own. I’m not perfect, and I’m sure I’ll make plenty of mistakes. But I’ve gotten this far by trusting my instincts and caring for myself to the best of my ability. And I’m pretty sure that’s how I’ll get through taking care of my child when the time comes.
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself ten years ago, what would it be?
Eat what you want, but stop eating when you’re full. It’s not the apocalypse. Be considerate of yourself and the people around you. We’re all in this together.
What’s your favourite Ajna product?
The Ajnamat, hands down. It’s like a shock to the system, and re-sets my mood every time I use it!