At Splendid Spoon, we want to make the mindfulness world accessible. Whether you find mindfulness on your yoga mat, running, dancing, or doing jumping jacks, we encourage it! Strengthening, healing, and nourishing your body & mind is central to our philosophy. This month, we’re talking to our favorite wellness experts about what mindful movement means to them.

Today we speak with Rachel Graham, a plant-powered student and yoga teacher, about how she incorporates mindfulness into her college lifestyle.

Splendid Spoon: What does mindfulness mean to you?

Rachel: Mindfulness means being vulnerable to the present moment, and accepting it. It’s crazy, but I often feel like I should always be distracted by something, whether I’m riding the metro, or just hanging out with friends. I’ll be on my phone, and then I pause to ask myself why I feel the need to be on it. Once I put it away, I can settle into a state where I’m content to be in the moment. It’s a wonderful feeling, even though it is uncomfortable at first.

SS: What’s your favorite way to move?

RG: I don’t have one favorite form of movement, but my favorite forms are often dynamic and have clear levels for improvement. I was a competitive gymnast growing up and I loved the process of working towards a new skill. After my gymnastics career ended, yoga filled that void. Since then I’ve enjoyed incorporating other forms of movement like pilates, HIIT, and weight-lifting into my routine. I’m currently working through a knee injury so I’m getting into swimming! I’m definitely happiest when I’m moving in different ways!

SS: When do you feel most at peace?

RG: I feel most at peace when I’ve been working hard to meet my goals. Procrastination is the main obstacle that keeps me from feeling at peace, because I’m not practicing integrity or being honest with myself. Both these things make me uncentered. It’s like a yoga practice; the most peaceful pose, savasana, is saved until the end of the practice, after the hard work has been done.

SS: If you were one movement, what would it be?

RG: Dancer pose! I love this yoga pose because it requires a combination of grace and strength, which is something I strive to embrace in my life off the mat.

SS: Where else do you incorporate mindfulness into your day?

RG: My mindful moments usually come up around a meal time. The ritual of preparing food and sitting down to eat helps me settle into a mindful state. Morning is favorite time to practice mindfulness, as it sets me up for a better day. I also have mental check-ins with myself whenever I feel I’m reacting to a situation in a way that is not authentic to who I am.

SS: What’s your favorite post-movement Splendid Spoon meal?

RG: I love the Lentil & Kale bowl. It leaves me feeling re-energized and satisfied!