Instagram is a crowded place these days. Everybody is on it. Yet, it is a breath of fresh air to find a truly beautiful and inspiring profile. Feather Polo, a.k.a. Peruvian Lily, is the proud owner of one of them. A dancer, a yogini, and a mother of three, she is a strong contemporary woman who knows how to be provocative and graceful at the same time. In this interview we talk about Feather’s beauty, health and glow tips; about her Peruvian roots; and about how dance, yoga, surf and gymnastics overflow into one.
2HB: Flamenco, ballet, tap dance, gymnastics, surf, yoga. You have had all of them at a certain point of your life. Which one represents the real you, or is it a beautiful mixture of all of them?
FP: Tap dance was a brief year when I first came to the States, so that one definitely represents a brief exploration of movement when I was very young. I truly feel the remaining five are an accurate representation of the funky fusion that makes up Feather. Flamenco is culturally in my soul from the time I lived in Peru. Ballet and Gymnastics allow me the freedom of fluid movement, rotation, and stretch that my body enjoys. Surfing allows me to channel all my active energy, but unfortunately I haven’t been on my board in 2 years due to running injury of tendinitis on my ankle, as well as the SI injury. The traditional yoga of India allows me to channel my spiritual/shamanic side with a profound ability to ground myself and to finally use my traits to share with others. If you were to spend time around me you would definitely understand why I remained in active movement sports: I’m pretty perky and generally flutter around like a butterfly.
2HB: Where do dance and yoga meet? Are they really as different as we think?
FP: I feel they are such close sisters! Possibly due to my own experience with dance at a young age, plus being blessed to be raised in a culture where dance,music and spirituality are so interwoven into the daily life. My mom and Dad always danced around with their Latin music turned up. I love any type of movement of the body, where the soul follows the rhythm of the universe or a song, and is anciently interwoven into a overall expression of spirit - singing out, expressing, releasing, sharing, feeling what is within me in that exact moment. I experience Yoga in the same way.
The answer of the second question may vary from person to person, but for me there is very little difference between the two except for the powerful function that each asana is truly effecting/aiding in particular systems of the body with specific health benefits associated to that asana.
2HB: From your Instagram profile it looks like the ocean is a big inspiration for you. Is surfing your way to meditate?
FP: Some of my earliest memories are at the beach in Peru in my father’s arms as a toddler. We always spent our weekends at the beach, but the family trips to the Bahamas were what changed everything for me. I cried and pleaded with my parents to not return to the States, asking my sweet father repeatedly (and for years to follow) to get a new job in Nassau and raise us there. They giggled but I vowed at 11 years of age that I would live in the Caribbean when I grew up. Surfing was something I found at the end of high school and it allowed me to play with my body in the water! The rhythmic flow and exhilaration I feel on my board most definitely take me to a deep place within myself, where I become one with the ocean, the breeze, the sun and the sky. That beautiful interconnectedness for me is bliss and meditation woven into a sacred gift from Mother Nature.
2HB: How do you bring your yoga practice into every part of your day and life?
FP: As I said if you were to hang out with me you would quickly realize how much movement lies in these bones! Blended with the gymnastic and dance background since childhood I have always found ways to pop into handstands,backbends,splits or at least pirouettes daily. I think I just came into the world dancing. On my childhood pics I’m usually in squat position and this is also how I gave birth to both my daughters. Since youth I used meditation and pranayama by instinct during difficult times so it remained a life tool in my back pocket. Being an athlete most of my early life, the awareness of holistic/natural lifestyle began early. Teacher Training courses over the last two years have kept my morning yoga practice very consistent. At first it’s a conscious awareness of something you want to incorporate daily but if you stick with it pretty soon it just becomes a habit.
2HB: You are originally from one of the most magical and beautiful countries in the world: Peru. If you had to choose one place in Peru to go and meditate for hours, which would it be?
FP: Yes, wow that is a great question! I am truly blessed to have been born in my lovely Peru, so it’s actually a bit tricky to narrow it down to just one of all the enchanting places in my homeland. La Herradura Beach (South of Barranco) where my Father and I played with the wild waves when I was a child is one of them. I have been working closely with my mentor Maria Mendola on focusing on my power animal (which is the puma) on a daily basis to aide in current events in my life but most importantly to invoke a deeper connection to my spirituality and within myself. I had the honor of doing Shamanic work with the amazing Nicky Scully, who guided me in the discovery of this special animal totem. To the Incas the Puma (Uturunku) is one of the Incan Trinity animals that teaches us strength and leads us to an emotional journey through courage, it shows us how to attack fear. So if I had to choose just one place it would have to be the sacred Incan temple site Sacsayhuaman in Cusco where a giant Puma paw is in the enormous stone wall. I think that incorporating as much of yourself as possible in meditative or ritual work there is a profound connection/experience that results into a magical fusions. Meditating at a place with such powerful energy would be enchanting. I know many magical discoveries would awaken there and some profound knowledge would come into fruition.
2HB: After three kids how do you manage to maintain your perfect shape and inevitable glow? What are your secrets?
FP: That is so sweet, you got me blushing! I’ve been blessed with good genes, and I can only thank my Mother and Father for that! Since a very early age I was a funky kid that was really aware of my body- what made it feel good, how it healed, what depleted it. I never liked sodas and always wanted water. I didn’t have a sweet tooth and I wasn't ever drawn to junk food. I was blessed with parents that made traditional Peruvian dishes from scratch every night. The fact that Peruvians are so infatuated with food was pretty much what hindered me from developing bad eating habits.
My spiritual connection has always been deep and I came into this world very optimistic: two traits that radiate joy, love and fulfillment. I believe that if your spirit is glowing then that always shines through. To me that is a real representation of true beauty. I always eat predominately organic veggies and fruits and use only Holistic beauty products. I also stay away from chemicals of any sort and I use only herbalism, homeopathy or other forms of Naturopathic and Ayurvedic medicine for healing. It’s just something I’ve done my whole life and continued when I raised my children. My Vatta tendencies have always kept me active and bouncy which probably burns a lot of calories. These habits stayed with me my whole life until now. I guess these would be my only secrets….And oh yeah! Play, love and giggle daily!
Welcome to ‘Learn It From The Best: True Inspirational Health Stories’: our special series where we are interviewing inspirational health and wellness coaches and motivators from all around the world, and are sharing with you their secrets, health tips and personal stories. If you have liked this article check out also our interview with Valerie Ho: a true Singaporean health and wellness warrior.
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