At a lovely event in London with Birchbox and Lululemon, I met this beautiful lady, Celest Pereira. Celest is a wonderful yoga instructor and founder of Cityogi. After enjoying a lovely yoga session with her, we spoke for a long time about health, nutrition and wellbeing, and she totally inspired me.
Celest is such a sweetheart and I feel blessed to have met her. So now I’d love for all of you to meet her too!
What is your ethos, Celest?
My ethos is always, do no harm. I’m vegetarian and I don’t wear leather and because of this everyone thinks I’m crazy, but I just love life. I love seeing animals, people, all living things thriving. I never ever want my actions to knowingly contribute to another’s suffering.
And what motivates and inspires you?
Wow, this is such a hard question because there are so many things. But if I had to say one thing, I’m really inspired by other people’s stories. When you really get to know people and they tell you about their lives you realise just how much each of us as individuals has had to go through to get to where we are now. That is why you can never judge another person, you just don’t know what they’ve been through. One of my favourite sayings is, “everyone does the best they can with the information they’ve got.” That saying has helped me in many instances not to get upset when other people do hurtful things. They very rarely mean it.
At the Birchbox & Lululemon event, you spoke about the battle you’ve had with your skin. Could you please briefly recap for TBE readers the issues you had and how you moved forward, taking control of them?
From my teens and well into adulthood I had horrendous skin. I was really embarrassed and so went to seek help with GP’s, dermatologists, skin specialists, I went to them all. It cost me thousands. I had no results. The worst part was I developed IBS from all the medication doctors pumped into my body and in addition to this I had extreme tiredness. I would sleep eight to ten hours a night and to get through the afternoon I would sleep 2 hours after lunch everyday.
When I reached the depths of my depression and frustration a book was given to me, The pH Miracle by Dr. Robert O. Young. This book outlined that one of the first steps one should take to regain health is go for a live blood analysis. I decided to do this and I discovered there was an extreme overgrowth of yeast in my blood. Yeast I learnt, secretes waste into your blood stream and for some people your body eliminates it through the skin. The yeast lives off of sugars, and even releases a chemical that causes extreme sugar cravings. This shocked me because doctors for years had been telling me that diet has nothing to do with the health of one’s skin.
As soon as I knew this I went on a juice fast, cut out sugar and started eating an alkaline diet. My skin transformed! My IBS cleared up and my tiredness vanished.
During the chat, you stressed that people should take more control over their own health. How would you suggest people begin to educate themselves best?
My life made a 180 degree shift. Conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers and that is why our health is in our own hands. It’s up to us each and every day to make sure we’re eating healthy food, drinking water and getting enough sleep. It’s this and not drugs that will make you healthy.
These are simple steps that anyone can do. The thing that stands in our way is our ourselves. The book that helped me really get over my own limitations was The Thought Gym by Hari Kalymnios. This book made me realise so much about myself and got me to take massive action. Without it I’m not sure I could have stuck out the direction given in the pH Miracle.
So, having struggled with your skin in the past, what skincare do you currently use to keep it looking so beautifully flawless?
I love Melvita for my face. But actually I make lots of my own products. Recently my friend and I decided it’ll be quite cool to share what we know, so we set up a YouTube channel that teaches others how to do the same thing.
What would you eat on an average day?
>> First thing in the morning I drink as much water as my tummy can handle. Sometimes I add lemon too. I then get ready to give my body a chance to process the water.
>> Breakfast is a veggie smoothie - again, everyone thinks I’m crazy, but I love it! I put whatever veggies I have in a blender with avocado, nuts, seeds and green powders. Green powders are a mixture of vegetables, grasses, spirulina etc. They’re super good for you and tend to give you a sustained energy boost for hours.
>> For lunch I usually grab something on the go. I like a warm lunch, so I pop into itsu, Leon or Pod. I usually get a veggie dish with rice. For snacks I grab hummus and rice cakes, fruit, nuts, seeds, salad, anything that will feed the cells of my body.
>> Dinner is a variety. I love cooking dishes from Mimi Ikonn’s cook book called Healthy and Delicious. But the pH Miracle also had some awesome recipes. I’m really lucky because my boyfriend is an awesome cook and he is super healthy. I work late most nights and whenever I get home he always has dinner ready for me. Thanks babe.
You mentioned how much you love your Vitamix – do you have a favourite recipe?
I love making home-made ice-cream. Frozen bananas and raw cacao powder! Boom! The most delicious thing on earth :)
What is your favourite healthy snack or quick and easy recipe?
When I’m really busy I boil quiona and steam veggies with lemon and olive oil. It’s so fast, tasty and healthy. It’s just the best thing to eat when I’m pushed for time.
Despite being super-healthy and avoiding sugar as much as possible (smart girl!), are there any naughty treats that you just can’t resist?
YES! hahaha, Booja Booja Truffles... Ah! They are incredible. I also really like Om Bar Chocolates. The new coco mylk flavour is to die for.
On your website you describe how it was when you were first travelling that you discovered your desire to make a difference by doing what you love. Where are your favourite places in the world, and why?
I think every place I’ve been to has something incredible to offer. But some of my best memories have been in Brazil. I love the joy in the people there. The way you can hear music and laughing around each street corner. The way people will go out of their way to help you and support you. And the scenery never fails to leave me spell bound.
I was lucky enough to enjoy an amazing yoga session with you at Lululemon, but for what reasons would you recommend that people take up yoga, and what is it that you enjoy so much about it?
What I love about yoga is that there is a style to suit everyone. There are so many variations of the art that if you look long enough you’re going to find one that speaks to you. This is the most essential thing about exercise, you have to find something you love or there is no way you’ll stick to it. In our modern lives we move so little and our bodies waste away.
Perhaps now while you’re young this is not an issue, but remember you will not be young forever. One day when you’re older if your body is weak the chances of you falling, hurting yourself and ending up in hospital are increased massively if you don’t move enough while you’re young.
When I worked as a physiotherapist in the community I had to rehabilitate a number of house bound elderly people and it broke my heart. That is why I am so passionate about getting people to use their bodies to their fullest capacity.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t teaching or working out? How do you like to unwind?
I love reading. Books are incredible, because what took someone else years to learn they compile in a book that you can read in a few days or weeks and then all that knowledge is yours. It’s a short cut to awesomeness.
If you'd like to catch a yoga class with Celest, take a look at her timetable, here.
Celest is also running a detox retreat this year. She is bringing in an NLP specialist, nutritionist, massage therapist and will be teaching yoga. The idea is to create a platform for lasting transformation so that after the retreat you will have the tools and the motivation to move forward with a healthy lifestyle and stick to it. It’s happening in Turkey 29th Sept - 6th October 2014. Get more information, here.
Celest is also this month’s Birchbox crush, so don’t forget to head over to the brilliant Birchbox blog to find out more! Spoiler alert (I couldn’t resist sharing this little gem!): When asked what advice she would give to her younger self, Celest’s response was “The more people you help succeed, the faster you will succeed”. So inspiring!