Nourish to Flourish - How to Level Up Your Fitness

Are you looking to get fitter? Don’t know where to start? Borrow this yoga and wellness coach’s approach.

By URLife Team
30 Nov 2023

What does it take to hack your health and live a better lifestyle? There is no easy fix when it comes to achieving better health and fitness, but small conclusive changes can create a big impact over time. And if you’re wondering where to begin, we’re here to help! Expert yoga and wellness coach, author, and social media personality Mansi Mahajan shares her philosophy of ‘nourish to flourish’ using  yoga, strength training and mindfulness practices.


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What would you say inspired your journey into fitness?

I always say the best things in life happen spontaneously and serendipitously. My entry into the realm of yoga and fitness was a result of a profound personal journey as I yearned for a transformative change.


In 2013, I decided to embark upon a deep dive into yoga, meditation, and discovering the inner sciences. The gradual unfolding of my yoga practice became a catalyst for self-discovery. The mindfulness and presence cultivated on the mat permeated into my daily life.


Motivated by the positive shifts in my own well-being, I embarked on a journey to explore fitness as I delved into functional movement patterns, intricacies of strength training, and nutrition. The integration of these elements into my routine was motivated not by a pursuit of an idealised physique but by a desire to enhance the quality of my life.


As a yoga expert, my approach to fitness is rooted in the philosophy of holistic well-being. I emphasise the symbiotic relationship between various forms of movement and mindfulness practices. This synergy has not only fortified my physical health but has also deepened my connection to the principles of yoga.



My journey into fitness is a continuous exploration, driven by the belief that true well-being encompasses the harmonious integration of mind, body, and spirit. This philosophy guides not only my personal practice but also my role in guiding others on their paths to a healthier and more fulfilling life.


What is your motto in life, and how does that correlate to your journey into well-being, exercise and yoga?

My motto in life revolves around the principle of 'nourish to flourish.' My belief is that true well-being is a holistic and balanced integration of nourishing the body, mind, and soul. As a wellness enthusiast, my journey into exercise and yoga aligns seamlessly with this motto.


In adopting 'nourish to flourish' as my guiding philosophy, I recognised the importance of cultivating a lifestyle that prioritises self-care, mindful movement, and nourishing practices. This approach extends beyond mere physical fitness; it encompasses mental resilience, emotional balance, and spiritual connection.


Movement is a pivotal component of my well-being journey. Yoga, strength training and mindfulness practices serve not only as a means to enhance physical health but also as powerful tools for self-discovery and stress management. The intentional movement in exercise and the mindfulness inherent in yoga has been transformative for me, fostering a profound connection between my body and mind.


Moreover, my journey has led me to explore and appreciate the interconnectedness of nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness. The harmonious integration of these elements has become the cornerstone of my approach to well-being.



In essence, my motto, 'nourish to flourish,' serves as a constant reminder to approach well-being with intention, mindfulness, and a commitment to self-care. This philosophy has not only shaped my personal journey but also guided my role as a wellness expert, where I want to inspire others to embrace a balanced and nourishing lifestyle for their overall health and fulfilment.


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How has the definition of fitness and well-being changed for you over time?

Over the years, my understanding of fitness and well-being has undergone a significant transformation. In the early stages of my journey, fitness was primarily associated with physical prowess and achieving a certain aesthetic. The focus was on external markers of health, such as body weight, muscle tone, and cardiovascular fitness.


As time progressed, especially through my exploration of yoga and mindfulness practices, I began to appreciate a more holistic definition of well-being. The emphasis shifted from merely the physical domain to encompassing mental, emotional, and even spiritual dimensions. I realised that true fitness goes beyond the external appearance and extends to how one feels, thinks, and connects with oneself and others.


Today, my definition of fitness and well-being is a dynamic and inclusive concept. It embraces a balance between strength and flexibility, mindfulness and movement, nourishment and self-care. My evolving understanding of fitness and well-being reflects a broader, more interconnected view of health—one that encompasses the multifaceted nature of human experience and encourages a balanced and sustainable approach to overall well-being.


For an average person, what would you recommend they get started with to improve their fitness?

Begin with Mindful Breathing

Start by incorporating mindful breathing exercises, like  pranayama. Practices such as deep belly breathing or alternate nostril breathing can help calm the mind and create a foundation for the physical aspects of yoga.


Explore Gentle Yoga Poses

Begin with gentle yoga poses that focus on building flexibility and mobility. Poses like Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), and Child's Pose (Balasana) are accessible for beginners and provide a good introduction to foundational yoga postures.


Attend Beginner Classes or Use Online Resources

Consider joining a beginner yoga class or utilising online resources with guided sessions for beginners. This can provide proper instruction on alignment, breathing, and relaxation techniques.


Establish a Regular Practice Routine

Consistency is key in yoga. Aim to establish a regular practice routine, even if it's just a few minutes each day. This consistency helps the body and mind adapt to the practice over time.


Gradually Introduce Strength-Building Poses

As confidence and strength build, gradually incorporate poses that focus on building strength, such as Warrior Poses (Virabhadrasana) and Plank Pose. This helps enhance overall fitness and stability.


Include Relaxation and Meditation

Integrate relaxation techniques and short meditation sessions at the end of your practice. This can contribute to stress reduction and mental well-being.



Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to how your body responds to each pose. Yoga is about cultivating awareness, so honour your body's limitations and progress at a pace that feels comfortable.


Stay Present and Mindful

During your practice, focus on being present in the moment. Mindfulness is a key aspect of yoga, and incorporating it into your practice can have positive effects on both physical and mental well-being.


Explore Different Styles of Yoga

Yoga is diverse, with various styles offering unique benefits. Explore different styles, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, or Yin yoga, to find what resonates best with your preferences and goals.


Seek Guidance from a Yoga Instructor

If possible, seek guidance from a qualified yoga instructor, especially in the early stages. They can provide personalised feedback on your alignment and help tailor the practice to your specific needs.


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What does a typical day of eating look like for you?


I usually do a 17-hour fast from 8 pm to 1 pm the following day. I start my morning with a big cup of warm herbal elixir which contains herbs and spices added according to which season it is (winter, summer, monsoon). After my fasting period is over, I drink bullet coffee in which I add coconut oil, raw cacao, jaggery and cinnamon—yes only for the brave-hearted! 



I like to eat simple home-cooked wholesome food, like 2 millet rotis with a seasonal vegetable and dal along with a generous helping of salad. These days I always sautéed gooseberries with every meal for the boost of Vitamin C or a millet khichdi with vegetables and salad. The meal is balanced with a mix of macronutrients, including protein (Eggs, tofu, yoghurt, or a plant-based protein source), healthy fats (Avocado, nuts, seeds, or olive oil), whole grains and vegetables.



I eat fresh seasonal fruits for the daily dose of vitamins and minerals at around 4 pm. I drink plenty of water the whole day and an herbal tea like hibiscus or sage. 



I love a big bowl of hot pot for dinner, especially in the winter, which consists of protein, vegetables, a variety of colourful vegetables for fibre and nutrients, healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, or seeds), and carbohydrates (Whole grains or starchy vegetables). 


Before Bed

I drink water to stay hydrated. I prefer herbal tea like chamomile or peppermint to calm the mind and body before sleep. Having said that - I always listen to my body's hunger and fullness cues and adjust portion sizes accordingly. 


What are five things that you can’t give up? 



Daily Yoga Practice

A committed and consistent yoga practice is my cornerstone which includes a combination of physical postures (asanas), breathwork (pranayama), meditation and mindfulness (Dhyana). 


Mindful Living

I strive to live mindfully, bringing awareness to my thoughts, actions, and interactions. This includes practising mindfulness not only on the yoga mat but also in my daily life, fostering a sense of presence and connection.


Healthy Nutrition

Nutrient-dense, whole foods are commonly emphasised in yogic lifestyles. I prioritize a balanced and plant-based diet, emphasizing foods that support physical and mental well-being.


Connection to Nature

I value my connection to nature. Spending time outdoors, whether it's through walking, hiking, or simply being in natural surroundings allows for a deeper connection with the world around me and with myself.


Spiritual Exploration

Fuelling myself through spiritual practices, such as studying philosophical scriptures, sacred texts, or attending satsangs and connecting with a spiritual community. I believe that the essence of yoga is not adherence to strict rules but rather about cultivating self-awareness, compassion, and a balanced and harmonious way of living.


It's important to note that yoga is a highly individual practice, and what works for one person may not work for another. The habits and aspects that a yogi prioritises can evolve over time and may be influenced by personal experiences, beliefs, and goals. Additionally, the essence of yoga is not about strict rules but rather about cultivating self-awareness, compassion, and a balanced and harmonious way of living.


What are some habits that you think everyone should adopt?



I think the most powerful habit that everyone should adopt is prioritising self-care. As a part of that, I like to promote what I call the wellness tool kit- 

  1. Daily Movement: Incorporating some form of physical activity, be it yoga, walking, or other exercises, into your routine to support overall well-being.
  2. Mindful Breathing: Practising conscious breathing to reduce stress, increase focus, and promote a sense of calm.
  3. Adequate Hydration: Drinking enough water throughout the day to maintain hydration levels, supporting bodily functions and energy.
  4. Balanced Nutrition: Prioritising a balanced diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, for sustained energy and health.
  5. Quality Sleep: Ensuring sufficient and restful sleep to support physical recovery and mental well-being.
  6. Mindful Eating: Pay attention to what you eat, savour each bite, and listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues.
  7. Gratitude Practice: Cultivating a habit of gratitude by reflecting on positive aspects of your life regularly, promoting a positive mindset.
  8. Digital Detox: Taking breaks from screens to reduce stress and maintain a healthy balance between the digital and real world.
  9. Connection Time: Nurturing relationships and social connections, fostering emotional well-being and a sense of community.
  10. Self-Reflection:  Setting aside time for self-reflection and introspection to understand your goals, values, and personal growth.

Above all, it’s important to remember to not get overwhelmed and try to make small incremental changes that will sustain in one’s life. 


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How can a person be more mindful, towards themselves and others?

I like to recommend the STOP mindfulness acronym which serves as a simple yet effective reminder to bring mindfulness into various situations.


 S: Stop. Pause for a moment.
 T: Take a breath. Inhale and exhale mindfully.
 O: Observe. Notice what's happening around you and within you.
 P: Proceed. Continue with a more mindful awareness.


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What are some yoga moves you would recommend that everyone should do?

I would recommend that everyone should practise Sun salutations, or Surya Namaskar, at least five times a week! It is the most comprehensive and dynamic sequence of yogic movements that offer a holistic practice, combining physical exercise, breath control, and mindfulness. They help improve flexibility, strength, and mental focus, promoting overall well-being. Regular practice of Surya Namaskara can enhance circulation, boost energy levels, and contribute to stress reduction. 

A wonderful way to rev up your inner solar power, the Sun Salutation practice enhances the sun's influence on the human body and its alignment with astrological principles. 


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