Amina is a business coach, wellness expert and the founder and CEO of Amina AlTai Advising LLC and former marketing & agency executive. She is the first social entrepreneur to successfully create a methodology that supports the health of a business and its people at the same time. After starting her career in marketing at the illustrious jewelry brand, Cartier, she went on to co-found a marketing agency specifically to support emerging and growth-stage brands. After 7+ years working on brands ranging from Samsung to Avene, MdSolarSciences and Supersmile as well as dozens more, she went on to lead marketing efforts for Spafinder Wellness—the largest media and marketing company in the wellness space. She later took a post at Bliss as head brand integration—overseeing the product, spa and E-commerce businesses continuing her track record of rapid growth and exponential success.
Eventually, grappling with a fast-paced career and two autoimmune diseases lead Amina to burnout. In hopes of healing her own life, she sought out training in nutrition, fitness and mindfulness through some of the greatest wellness teachers and schools of our time. Struggling to manage her own health and keep up with the demands on her growing career, it became clear that resources are slim and the two concepts are often mutually exclusive. Her goal became to teach others how to balance a thriving career, body and mind. Progressive companies such as Deloitte, Y&R, Outdoor Voices, NYU and HUGE have partnered with Amina for training that breaks the mold and makes a difference. Meanwhile, millions of readers tune into her work via destinations like Entrepreneur, Thrive Global, MindbodyGreen, The Observer, Spafinder & Barry's Bootcamp, Yahoo Beauty, Bustle, Byrdie and more.
How do you define self care?
Self care is the set of practices I personally utilize to allow me to show up fully for the people I love, the work I want to do and the impact I want to have on the planet.
Would you define yourself as religious/spiritual?
Spiritual. I’m multicultural and was raised by rather religious parents from two different religious backgrounds. I never felt like I fully “belonged” on either side and always felt our relationship to God (spirit or any other word you feel comfortable inserting here) was deeply personal. Over the last decade I’ve deepened my spirituality and practices in a way that feel amazing and supportive of me. Growing up, religion felt like something I “should” love versus spirituality which I crave and truly fills me up.
What does your daily self care/spirit routine look like on a good day? How do you edit the routine for a crazy busy day?
On a good day….here we go! I wake up early and meditate for 20-minutes (I’m a vedic meditator and have been trained with a specific vedic mantra). I follow that up with a kundalini practice. After meditation, I move my body (usually a mix of yoga, pilates, HIIT and spin). I find healthy movement to be so instrumental for me in processing emotion. I eat breakfast which I have prepared which is either hard boiled eggs and spinach or a shake made with collagen protein. Then it’s off to work. I take regular breaks throughout the day. Usually 90 minutes on and 10 minutes off for a brain recharge. I meditate again at 4pm for another 20 minutes. Lunch and dinner are usually homemade as I have a few allergies and feel better when I eat at home. I might get to visit one of my amazing healers, (I’m looking at you Aquarius Acupuncture, Greenstar Wellness, Margarita Russolello) I usually end the day with a candle and quiet with an early bedtime to boot. Honestly, nothing says self care to me like going to bed at 9:30pm :)
On a crazy day it looks like a whole lot less. Meditation is my non-negotiable so I always start my day with 20-minutes. I’ll have premade breakfast (1-2 hard boiled eggs I’ve kept in the fridge for a few days.) If the day is jam-packed, I might have to skip my workout or do 30-minutes on the treadmill just to sweat a little. If I can’t workout, I’ll try to walk as much as I can that day. Lunch might be on-the-go at one of my favorite healthy spots like Hu Kitchen, Charley Street or even Pret in a pinch. I still do my second meditation, but on the crazy days it may happen en-route to a meeting, like in an uber-pool or even on the subway. And on these days, there is no healer to revive me and often a later bedtime than I’d like but I will take 5-minutes and do something that brings me joy. Even if it’s just reading a magazine, coloring or watching friends, I have to have that in there to stay sane.
How do you know your plate is too full? What are the signs or symptoms?
My body tells me right away. I have two autoimmune diseases and quick signs and symptoms that I’m doing too much looks like puffiness, lethargy and brain fog. And If I’ve pushed too hard for too long or things have been very stressful, the number on the scales will go up a few pounds. But I don’t worry about that, it’s simply another way my body is trying to communicate that it needs help and I need to support it differently.
What are your non-negotiables?
Meditation and sleep. Hands down. I’m a different human after those.
Where do you still struggle? With food? Time Management? Saying no?
Doing too much. This is deep programming I’ve been working (ahh that pesky doing again!!) years to overcome. It’s been part of my unconscious belief system for so long and I’ve been slowly pulling back the layers for a while now. I used to believe that to be valuable I had to “do” and “do a lot.” I’m leaning into ease and grace in my business but I still get tripped up every now and then.
You lost your grandfather this year, and you guys were really close. How did this impact you? What would you recommend to others who are currently grieving?
I’m so glad you asked me this because I’ve been wanting to write about it to continue to process my grief. My grandfather was one of my primary caretakers growing up and the most amazing man I’ve ever know. He was my person. He was my true north. And I always knew who I was around him—my fixed point in an unsteady world. Losing him was the most difficult heartache.
I felt grateful that I had a head start on the grieving. He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last May and we knew it meant he only had a few months with us left. So I did what I know how to do. I prioritized loving him—crossing the Atlantic once a month to sit beside him in his armchair as he bravely, (never complaining for a single second) battled this cruel disease. I told him everything that was in my heart, how much I loved him, and how much of me is better because of him. I apologized for being a PIA (because that’s sometimes my truth too). Even though I had a head start on the grieving, when my superhuman of a grandfather transitioned to him new realm and role, I still wasn’t ready to release him. I’ve never ever felt such sadness. It was a full body ache—I felt it in the barrel of my soul. It seemed as if my world stopped and everyone else kept on living. What I did learn was this—grief is a process and it can tricky. One moment you’re balling your eyes out and think you’ll never be able to leave the house. And the next day, you surprise yourself when you’re able to laugh at something. In the beginning, I cried every day. Like multiple times a day. Then I slowly moved on to every other day. Then the holidays rolled in and I reverted back to my daily cry fests. It felt like the cha-cha. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to be exactly where you are. Let the tears flow and never apologize for feeling your feelings. And run far and fast from anyone who makes you feel like you should. In knowing the extreme pain of loss, I can appreciate the magnitude of what I had and have now. And in watching my grandfather transition from human to ancestor, I was reminded of the incredible lineage I am from. And I carry his greatness within me and I don’t take that lightly. It’s encouraged me to tap deeper into my gifts and share like never before. This stuff is hard, but if we’re open to it, there can be a gift in all of it.
What would you tell your 5 year old self, if you could go back and give them a piece of advice or encouragement?
Lil miss, you are made of stardust and were born perfect. You are innately whole and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Who are you digging these days? Give us 3 of your fave teachers, writers, artists, healers or influencers and some scoop on why we should love them too!
a) So many to list! But okay, I’ll choose three if I must! Alexandra Defacio of Greenstar Wellness: She is a shaman and colon hydrotherapist and helps you release ancestral trauma (as well as day to day modern drama). Her gifts are other-worldly.
b) My assistant Jem Wong. She is incredible! I have been watching her journey coming into her own teachings, and she is just next level. If you want to connect with your spirit guides, you need to book a session with @subtlejem
c) Erin Foley, Ph.D. She is a badass mindset coach and incredible human. She’ll sort out challenges that have been running around your brain for decades in about 15 minutes. She’s seriously the best.
Name 3 books that have impacted you greatly - from self-help, to biographies to fiction - what made them so meaningful?
a) The Dark Side of The Light Chasers By Debbie Ford: She takes Jungian shadow work and makes it so applicable for all us. She helps us identify where our shadows lie and how to evolve them to live more whole. It’s an incredible body of work and required reading for coaching with me!
b) The Big Leap By Gay Hendricks: This is another incredible body of work that I use in my coaching too. Gay helps us identify our upper limit challenges and empowers us to step into our zone of genius.
c) I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education and Was Shot By the Taliban. I read this book on an 8-hour flight and the tears were flowing. Talk about a modern day SHERO. Her braveness, conviction and resilience are like nothing I’ve ever seen. If you want to read a book that’ll inspire you to change the world, grab that one.
What is your ultimate self-care indulgence when you want to treat yourself?
I’m not big into massages but I do love a good healing session. If I need something a little extra, I see Alex Defacio for a shamanic healing session. Also, travel is self-care for me. Nothing brings me back to center like a day a the beach or exploring an awesome new place. I just wish I could pay for it with a flex spending account, ya know?!
Do you have a mantra?
I write a new mantra every year. This year it’s “ease and grace.”
How has your relationship to yourself changed over the last 10 years?
It’s night and day. I call my old self “GLAMINA.” She was lovely but a bit more interested in the surface. I know myself so much better and continue to learn each day. Plus, I’ve worked really hard on the self talk and cultivating a positive dialogue (from a space of healing not spiritual bypass). We are all the stands between us and what our soul is called to do.
What are you manifesting in the next 10 years of your life? The next 20?
Can I get through 2019 first?! Lol I want to step deeper into my calling with each passing day. I want to heal and be healed as I do. I want to serve and be served as I do. I want to love and be loved as I do.
If you could share one thing with the FPFC audience that was not covered it above, what would it be?
One of my biggest lessons has been to stop looking outward for the medicine and look within. I think deconditioning and coming back to the truth of who we are is the most important work and self care we can do.
Where can we find you?
What does having a full cup mean to you?
Having a full cup means being nimble. In my experience, we can’t always be full in all areas as the same time. But we can still show up for ourselves and tend to the areas that need the most love and support. That’s the best thing we can do.