Whats In HER bag - Aditi Shah

Meet Aditi Shah, Peloton Yoga + Meditation Instructor, performer & model. Aditi was introduced to yoga at a young age by her parents and describes it as “a practice that allows us to thread together the external with the internal - the physical workings with the mental, emotional, spiritual.” We talked with her about the striking health benefits of meditation as part of a daily practice, her personal journey into the fitness industry, her workout routine outside of yoga, her favorite eats and... What’s in her Transience Bag for her life on the move in NYC.


Q. You’ve been very open about how yoga has helped you reconnect with yourself when you were unsatisfied with other industries. Can you talk about your switch to the fitness industry and how you started teaching at Peloton? What general advice would you give to someone who is trying to start a fitness career?

A. Yoga is a daily self-reflective practice, and in the repetition of this practice, we develop an inner dialogue with ourselves. This inner dialogue teaches us how to tune our own instrument - mind and emotional attitudes - until we can comfortably be with ourselves. As we humans and our lives are in constant flux, a regular practice helps us to adjust accordingly every day.

It’s true that there have been many scientific discoveries about how yoga can help support a balanced nervous system, emotional resilience, brain health, and more. But when I began practice, it was the simple measure of self-reflection and kindness that helped me to cope when I was unsure of my career or life path.

I began teaching out of a profound love for what yoga meant to me. For a long time, I selfishly wanted to keep my practice to myself, and one day I realized that sharing it wouldn’t diminish what I had at all.

Realistically, the industry of yoga is saturated and competitive. I spent a lot of time both practicing with expert teachers and learning everything I could. I have always had other jobs that could help pay my rent so I could spend my time learning and teaching a reasonable number of classes. There is always more to learn, and though I have certifications already, I’m currently enrolled in another meditation training!

I also spent time getting to know and supporting other teachers and professionals in the industry. I hate networking, but I wholeheartedly believe in making real connections. I was lucky that some of these connections led to opportunities I couldn’t have dreamt up.

When Peloton reached out to me, I was leading teacher trainings, co-hosting a meditation pop-up event series, and teaching all over NYC. Earlier that year, I had decided that my next goal was to have a bigger platform, so that I could reach more people with my work. There is a two-way dialogue with the Peloton community, and a spirit of collaboration, support, and belief in transformation. I could not be happier! For a taste of what it’s like, follow along with my adventure on Instagram at @diti22 !

Q. You’ve also been very outspoken about the importance of meditation. Can you talk about different types of meditation and the health benefits of each?

A. There are many different types of meditation, and each of them are profound in their own way. Ultimately, meditation is a practice of focusing the mind, and lead to our ability to know our true selves unfettered by the daily ups and downs of our human experience. My practice and teachings are rooted in Insight Meditation, or mindfulness-based meditation techniques, as taught by teachers like Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. In a broad sense, this type of meditation asks that we turn our lens inwards to notice and accept whatever arises within. When we are able to create space and make peace with our inner landscape, it allows us to change our relationship to our emotions. Scientifically speaking, the benefits of meditation are huge, and research seems to perpetually continue to uncover more. The benefits of meditation range from more productivity and attention and brain health to greater resilience and stabilizing mood.

At Peloton, we categorize meditations based on different focuses: sleep, relaxation, fitness, etc. In this capacity, I like to find creative approaches including body scans, loving-kindness, visualizations and more. As humans, we are diverse in how we understand and utilize these techniques, and I think that it is important for each individual to find types of meditation that work best for them.

Q. Outside of teaching classes, do you have a regular personal workout routine that you stick to no matter what? What are some tips for getting in exercise at home or on-the-go?

A. I have my own yoga practice with my teachers Lindsay Hilscher and Eddie Stern! I used to practice 5-6 days a week, but now I try not to overdo the same repetitive movements, and I’m careful about how much I’m practicing overall. I also love pilates and I love to run, especially when the weather is beautiful. I try to cross train with strength training twice a week.

Getting exercise in is so easy with Peloton Digital. Lately, I have been traveling endlessly for weddings. I have the app on my phone, which gives me access to a myriad of workouts. If I have access to a gym, I can take a bike or tread class on my phone, or a strength class with weights. If not, I can still do outdoor runs, bodyweight strength classes and of course, yoga and meditation. It has made it SO easy to make sure I sneak in some activity no matter what.

Q. We love your recipes and blog posts on Parsley Health, Well+Good, and more! Your signature, dairy-free Avocado Ice Cream sounds amazing. What do you usually eat on a daily basis? What are your favorite, healthy spots to hit in the city?

A. I’m a vegetarian and I lean towards a vegan diet. I eat dairy in India when my mother cooks; we often get that dairy from a friend’s farm. I typically have a smoothie for breakfast with protein in it, and a lot of vegetables, greens, fruits, legumes, nuts and healthy fats throughout the day. I’m a sucker for chocolate and usually eat dark chocolate as dessert at the end of the day. Diet is so personal, and everybody has different needs. That said, I believe that everyone can benefit from making sure their food is well-sourced and minimally processed.

I like to cook, and I think there’s benefit in having a personal connection with how you nourish yourself. Growing up, my mother prepared a fresh meal nearly every single day, and to me, nothing feels better than a meal made with love. I’m a big fan of uses herbs and spices, which are incredibly versatile and healing.

Right now, I primarily work at the Peloton Tread and Yoga studio in the West Village, and one of my favorite quick go-to spots nearby is The Village Den, which has fresh, healthy options for all kinds of diets. There are SO many amazing choices in Manhattan for easy healthy meals on the go: Charley St, The Butcher’s Daughter, westbourne, Le Botaniste, Divya’s Kitchen, Inday, Café Clover and more.

Q. As a busy yoga and meditation instructor, model, and performer, tell us, #whatsinyourbag?

A. It’s not always easy, but as a service to my body, I do my very best to travel light. My bag essentials include: a Brooklyn Bamboo Company straw, my favorite sunglasses, a water bottle or travel mug (depending on time of day), a snack, lip balm, deodorant, AirPods, and sometimes a change of clothes. I only bring my laptop with me if I know I’m going to need it. On rare occasions, I will go with the bare minimum: my phone, wallet, keys and lip balm. If I’m walking over to practice, I’ll grab my yoga mat towel as well.

For more details on Aditi’s Transience bag, check out our Camera Bag in Silver Leather.

Primary Photos by @winilaophotos