Recently, while studying agroforestry in Brazil, Iris reconnected with the vital importance of being in harmony with Nature. As co-director of Gingerhill Farm Retreat in Hawaii, Iris teaches how to use your environment, food, exercise and Hawaii Yoga to create vibrant communities based on sustainable agriculture and healthy habits.
Iris grew up hiking the breathtaking trails and perfect beaches of her native Florianopolis, a small island in the south of Brazil. Though the Big Island was halfway across the world, far from her family and her beloved Brazil, it was a natural choice for her.
- Traditional Ayurvedic Yoga Massage (Kusum Modak Method) – 2007
- Training and Development in Yoga and Meditation Certification with Marco Shultz – 2008
- Ayurvedic Therapy Training – 2010
- Ace Certified Personal Trainer – 2015
“I was immediately inspired by the energy of the volcano and its deity, Madame Pele. I let the fire guide my way.”
Today, Iris leads a powerful, Vinyasa-inspired Hawaii yoga class. She combines her love of movement with the technical practice of yoga. Her goal is to teach her students to embrace the divine within them. She inspires us to use yogic practice, medicinal food, and sustainable farming to foster spiritual awakening in ourselves. Iris expertly designs her unique Hawaii yoga to center the self, allowing her students to focus on these other essential facets of wellness.
MY FOOD PHILOSOPHY
When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.
A Life-Promoting Diet
Iris’s nutritional philosophy is grounded in honor of all life forms. Having worked the land, raised animals, and nurtured her own mind and spirit, Iris understands that food sustains life and that all lives are connected. Her diet is therefore integral to her lifestyle of respect for all beings, and she consumes sustainably produced food with thanks and mindfulness.
Iris was a long time vegetarian before arriving at Gingerhill. When she began raising livestock, providing them with love and nourishment, she came to view eating animals as a sacred exchange of life force. For Iris, giving up meat was initially a way to revoke her support of an unhealthy, unsustainable, and inhumane industry. But consuming farm-raised meat is part of her quest to create an alternative model of mindful consumption — exchanging love and care for sustenance. This diet is far more in line with our ancestors’ way of eating than veganism, which deprives the body of essential nutrients.
Eating with Consciousness and Intention
Iris also adopts an Ayurvedic diet comprised of whole foods and healthy fats. According to Ayurveda, we each possess agni, or “digestive fire.” Optimizing the strength of agni ensures that food is properly digested and toxins are effectively excreted. Thus, Iris consumes an agni-revitalizing diet specific to her body type, or dosha. Beyond eating whole foods, strengthening agni requires that one eat food that is in season, consume humanely and organically raised meats, and time meals so that our largest meal is consumed mid-day when agni is strongest.
Iris understands that health is not just about what you eat, but also how you eat it. Food should always be prepared and consumed with mindfulness and positive intention. If you eat quickly or while you are stressed, you cannot digest and assimilate food properly. Taking the time to give thanks and mindfully savor food is critical to proper digestion and health.