Q&A with Sarah Kekus

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

SK: Instant Paleo Bircher’s with Blueberries – this is my current “go-to” favourite when I’m short on time.  It’s my own little concoction so I guess I should really get the recipe on my blog!

What was the last good book you read?

SK: It is a while ago but I really loved reading “The Dalai Lama’s Cat” by David Michie.  Currently I’m reading Michelle Obama’s biography, “Becoming”.  I’m half-way through and loving her easy, yet very articulate writing style.  It is insightful, fascinating and provides great social and historical context, especially for anyone like me with afro-Caribbean roots.

Where is your “happy place”?

SK: It is a very quiet corner of the Alps where I spend a lot of my “down time”.  Near Chamonix – that’s all I’m gonna say!

Name one thing you’d like to achieve by the end of the year

SK: I hope to complete my “Liquid Flow” Yoga training with Simon Park – this puts me well on track to reaching Senior Yoga Teacher level in 2020.

Tell us about a proud moment of yours

SK: Being awarded my MSc was a very proud moment.  My Dad died just 2 months before my graduation so I was desperately sad he couldn’t be there but I’d felt his encouragement all through the “trials and tribulations” of my research and writing my dissertation.  And he did know I’d been awarded the qualification with merit and told me he was very proud of me.  My Mum came along to my graduation and I know she was proud of my achievement too, in between our tears, shed for so many reasons!

Who are 3 people who inspire you and why?

SK: Both my parents for sure.  I admire my Mum’s fierce determination and her many achievements.  My Dad was effortlessly smart and wise yet always curious to learn more.  I never heard him say he was too old to learn or try anything right up to his 94th year!  Other inspirations come and go but for a long while I’ve felt that I really look up to Shiva Rea.  I can also recognise that recently I’ve felt inspired by Michelle Obama, through reading her book.

What motivated you to study nutrition?

SK: Well it is a bit of story!  But to be brief, my health literally unravelled about 20 years ago, after an intense period of mountaineering to climb peaks in Nepal, Bolivia, the French Alps and back to Nepal.  In the aftermath, and having suffered with both dysentery and pneumonia, I went to see a naturopath.  Jan Ford Batey, who is now sadly dead,  was instrumental in helping me regain health through changing the whole way in which I cared for myself.  After this experience I always dreamed of changing career and the chance finally came to study nutrition in 2010 when my contract as a Project Manager, within the nuclear sector, came to an end.

How long have you been practicing yoga for?

SK: I started yoga as a teenager – it was my “new skill” whilst working towards my Duke of Edinburgh Award.  However, for many years I just dabbled and saw it purely as an adjunct to my climbing.  But over time yoga started to become more of a priority and then, when I started practicing Ashtanga yoga, I realised that a massive shift had occurred within me and that yoga was in my soul for good just as climbing has always been (despite many despondent moments of wanting to sell all my climbing gear!); actually yoga can be just like this too – we plateau, lose inspiration, get injured or lose fitness/flexibility often due to other life pressures.  We have to just keep on practicing regardless and without attachment.

Do you have a regular bed-time / wake-up time?

SK:I TRY, and I am more disciplined now than ever before; in the past I was well known for “burning the candles at both ends”.  I find that keeping my sleep schedule similar for both weekdays and the weekend suits me best.  Weekday rising is determined by my husband – he gets up at 5.35am every day and I rise a few minutes later once he’s done sploshing around in the bathroom!  Last year we agreed that we were not thriving on 6 hours sleep and now we have a “sort of” commitment to be in bed by 10.30pm.  Love or loathe smart watches, it was my Fitbit that shocked me into action!

What are your top 3 nutrition tips for improved health & wellbeing

SK:

  1. Keep your blood sugar levels stable
  2. Ensure you are well-hydrated – always
  3. “Tend your heart fire” – if you are not happy then your health will suffer however amazing your diet is.

Where was the last place you had a great meal?

SK:  Monachyle Mhor – I’d been feeling homesick, which for me means I need to get amongst some Scottish hills and mountains, so we booked a little autumn get away and it was such a treat.  All the food was delicious and beautifully presented.

Do you have any cosmetic products you love?

SK: When it comes to cosmetics I am through and through a “Bobbi Brown Girl” and I don’t think I could choose just one of their products!  But, as I have some sun-damage related hyper-pigmentation, one product I can single out is my Vichy sunblock and BB – Ideal Soleil.  It protects whilst also providing some cover to the damage.

What cleaning products do you use?

SK: I mainly use doTERRA products.  For convenience I always have a bottle of their “On Guard” all-purpose cleaner but I also often blend my own or use some of my favourite essential oils mixed with water and white vinegar in a glass spray bottle to create a great smelling cleaning spray.  I have also used some of the Method range of non-toxic cleaners.

For some simple, low cost cleaning products that you will already have in your home check out this blog I wrote a few years ago.

Do you have any pets?

SK: Yes, I have two cats.  Phoebe is our girl cat; she can be feisty and aloof.  She is also a ferocious hunter who murders with such regularity she really should be doing time in Holloway prison.  And, Coco Loco is our boy cat.  Adorable, cuddly and yes, a little Coco in the Loco!

What’s your favourite way to de-stress?

SK: Yoga and getting outdoors are consistently how I cope with stress.  I bottle stress and often don’t even notice when levels have built up but being outdoors, even in miserable weather, can almost instantly calm me and help me let off steam!

What are your favourite drinks

SK: Everyone knows I love coffee – I think I’ll always be tempted by a dangerously dark double espresso.  However, last year I stopped drinking coffee altogether and now I just have an occasional – in fact, at my favourite café they now make me half caffeine/half decaff!  Caffeine has not completely gone though as I’ll have one matcha shot (okay maybe two) most mornings.

Alcohol also does not suit me at all but I have not ruled it out completely – nearly though.  Which means that only very occasionally (probably 2-3 times per year) I’ll have some wine.  An Argentinian Malbec or a glass of very cold (maybe with ice, sorry!) Pouilly Fumé would be my first choices. However, even just one glass will almost always mean I suffer afterwards, so most of the time I’ll drink San Pellegrino or Perrier when out or add sparkling mineral water to the juice of a fresh lime when home chilling on a Friday evening.

Do you have a favourite and least favourite yoga pose?

SK: Tricky one to answer as over the years I’ve tried to greet all poses with enthusiasm.  The struggle ones are our teachers and can be so rewarding as we start to improve whereas easier poses can bring instant joy or rekindle enthusiasm, especially on a day when the body feels closed.  So really, in my opinion, all poses have their role to play.

Is there anything on your “bucket-list”?

SK: I don’t have a bucket list but I do have a fairly constant stream of goals and little projects. Key areas where I set myself goals are my business and my personal yoga practice.  I also have some modest climbing/mountaineering and ski mountaineering ambitions.  I don’t feel comfortable sharing these with anyone (sometimes even Nik) – I don’t know why, maybe some deep seated sense of superstition or anxiety about failure or being judged.  Sorry!  But you’ll always see what I’ve been up to because when I’ve been inspired it goes straight onto Instagram.

Share a quote that’s meaningful to you

SK: This adaptation of the Serenity prayer has been a long-term mantra for me and acceptance has been a huge piece of work for me, especially in the context of loss in recent years.

“Give me the humility to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

Sarah Kekus Yoga Teacher & Nutritionist in Cockermouth Cumbria
2019-02-03T14:43:43+00:00February 2nd, 2019|Lifestyle, Tribe Talks, Wellness Blog|