I met Caroline a couple of years back through Instagram. I first stumbled upon her page after admiring her incredible yoga moves, and then got to know the person (and her amazing story) that, while very related to her yoga practice, has a depth that goes far beyond what I’d initially realised. Caroline prides herself on keeping it real and being honest about her struggles, and its this “real talk” approach that has seen her build a successful social media brand, and an army of devoted followers. Introducing my gorgeous pal, Caroline Groth x 

Hi gorgeous! As your friend, I know you’ve had a pretty massive journey over the last few years but to those who don’t know you well, what have the last five years looked like for you? 

The past 5 years have really seen me getting real with myself for the first time in my life.. Coming out of battling a cancer diagnosis, I was thrown into a whole new life of health, mindfulness and spirituality. A love for healthy food unfortunately turned into an obsession and spiralled me into severely disordered eating. It’s an area that started in the early teenage-years with me, and seemed to come back with a vengeance a decade or so later…

It’s something that is still very much with me every single day. Learning to love myself for who I truly am, and not what I look like to myself or others, has been a big step in the right direction, but still, it’s a huge work-in-progress. I try to find a healthy balance of naughty & nice when it comes to eating, but gut-health issues on the back of years of disordered eating forces me to be very diligent with what I put in my body; this means knowing exactly what is in what I eat and very often, it means that I cook a lot from scratch.. Which is okay, because I love to cook!

As much as the relationship of loving myself has been a huge thing for me, so has the relationship of letting others love me fully, as the person I am, been. I’m very independent and I have been since I was a young child and went through a pretty bad divorce.. It doesn’t come easy or natural to me to be open and soft, rather I enter most things or relationships with my guards up and have them there until people prove me wrong.. Something I’m continuously working on every.single.day and am incredibly aware of. I’m learning and teaching my heart to melt.. Slowly but steadily..

Being present in every moment is vital for me; when I’m not present, I slip up and I seperate myself from my truth. And this is really when the self-doubt and hatred starts to find space in my mind and heart.. It also means I’m pretty exhausted at the moment, but I can live with that. Good things take time..

And I know I grow more and more as the days go by..

What does a typical day for you generally look like and how does this differ from what it may have looked like a couple of years ago? 

A typical day for me always starts with meditation. Upon waking up with the sunrise, I’ll wash my face and teeth, then jump back into bed to have my morning (vedic) meditation in peace. Then I’ll usuall head up to either Agoga for a Strength session, to Lean Bean Fitness for a HIIT class or to PowerLiving for yoga. I try to mix it up so I keep having fun and my body doesn’t get used to my exercise form.

After I’ve finished training (around 7am), I’ll head down to Cali Press to have my breakfast which is gluten-free bread with smashed avocado, vegan pesto, goats cheese and a hard-boiled egg. I’ll also have my morning coffee – long black with a splash of almond milk – whilst I open up my laptop to get started on emails, blog-posts and clients I do digital consulting for. I’ll have a protein-bar or extra coffee at this time to keep me going until lunch-time.

At around 12pm, I’m itching for a swim or some sunshine, so I’ll grab my swimmers and head down to South Bondi or Icebergs to get some Vitamin Sea & D. I normally spend and hour outside whilst I’ll listen to a podcast like ‘The Happiness Project’ or read a book (currently ‘The Untethered Soul). I normally do a bit of stretching as well, whilst I’m horizontal..

Around 1.30pm I’l be super hungry and will head to Earth Food Store on Gould St. in Bondi to have a small salad with a poached egg (I’m trying to eat more protein), whilst I take a few moments to myself or chat to friends I’ll run into (which is basically never-ending).

Afternoons are spent at home doing house/life-admin (you know, the adult stuff….), or (2 days/week) I’ll get acupuncture done by Mitch Patience. Sometimes I’ll do a 4.30pm yoga-class – either Yin or Vinyasa.

At 7.30 I normally sit down to have my last meal of the day which will either be THR1VE @ HOME or I’ll be cooking myself. I like to make it simple, easy and with loads of flavour – usually a piece of fish, cooked vegetables and some good fats like Hemp Oil from Hemple, seeds and of course, avocado!

At 9.30-10pm, I’ll normally crawl into bed unless my boyfriend is staying over and we end up chatting all night or simply just get caught up watching ‘Stranger Things’! (amirite?!)

How would you describe the role that yoga has played in your evolution as a person? Why is it so important to you?

I’ve always said that ‘yoga saved me’.. And I still stand by that to this very day, 4 years later..

Yoga was a place of safety and security for me when I needed it the most. It was, and still is, a space where nothing else but truth exists when I arrive on my mat, when I arrive ‘home’.

Yoga teaches me patience and kindness, it teaches me humility and consideration, and it teaches me to love with an open heart; not only others, but most importantly, myself and my soul.

And for me; that is a never-ending evolution; loving myself for who I truly am; nothing but my soul.

Caroline Groth

What are your favourite yoga studios in Sydney (and beyond if you’ve found some ridiculously cool ones elsewhere)? 

I have been with PowerLiving for years, and I love it. It’s not a flashy, white-walls, designer-bathroom studio – it has painted decorations on the walls, a myriad of different people, it’s got beautiful & kind-hearted staff and it’s so hot sometimes you can’t breathe, but it’s the real-deal.. It’s stripped back from all the flashiness, because it’s about the practice. It’s about the philosophy.. It’s about YOU.

It doesn’t mean I can’t practice anywhere else, but I normally stick to the more low-key yoga-studios that aren’t flashy or trying to be a ’boutique-offering’ as none of that matters. If I practice other than PowerLiving, I normally practice on my own down at the beach.

For those looking to make some healthy changes to their lives or even potentially do a ‘life overhaul’ where do you suggest they start? 

Start small. Rome wasn’t build in a day and good things take time.. I have a lot of gut-health issues (on the back of years of disordered eating), and I know it took years to get there, meaning it won’t be tomorrow I’ll be ‘well & good’ again. But that’s okay.. There’s a teaching in anything we come across in life, this is just another one of those I’ll put in my backpack and learn from.

For those starting out their journey to a healthier life, I suggest starting to try and cook most of your own meals yourself so you reconnect with nature and understand what exactly goes into your food and body. If you have trouble with time and don’t like to cook, meal-delivery services like THR1VE @ HOME can be a good idea – both to stay healthy and reach your goals (whatever they may be nutrition-wise) and also understand what a healthy portion size is as we all (very often) over-eat, just for the sake of it tasting good.

Start incorporating exercise that you actually like doing. I used to pound myself through runs upon runs when I was in my early 20’s, because I thought that was what I needed to do cardio-wise.. Now I’m 28, and I won’t waste my time doing any type of exercise that I don’t actually enjoy. Life is FAR too short to be doing things we don’t love, and there are so many exercise-opportunities that we can all surely find something we enjoy. Moving your body shouldn’t be a punishment or even a chore – it should feel good, freeing and invigorating.

Quite often food can be a stumbling block for many when it comes to being healthy, what are your quick n easy go to’s when you need something in a hurry, but want it to nourish your body too? 

I normally keep a few snacks with me or at least know which shops I can get snacks in-between meals if I get hangry!

Keeping apples, bananas and some nuts with you are super easy as they travel well.

Protein-bars – and I don’t mean the ones that’ll last for 12 months on the shelf – that are freshly made from cafe’s are great and don’t contain preservatives, additives or anything nasty.

Blending a great smoothie of Mango, Banana, Spinach, Coconut Water, Super Elixir Greens and a bit of honey will also help keep you full and nourished for a few hours.

I know you’re a big bruncher, what are your top three favourite places for #breakfastinsydney? 

Cali Press Bondi Beach: You can’t go past this. Avocado Smash on Gluten-free bread, a Golden-Glow Turmeric Smoothie, and the best coffee made by the BEST Barista in Sydney; Ricky! It’s also the absolute BEST spot for people-watching on any given day.

Lox Stock & Barrel: I love the bowlarama or Avocado on Toast here. They also make their own cashew/almond milk which is just THE BOMB! Sitting outside and watching the Bondi-life go by is always a good idea!

Earth Food Store: It’s a really simple, humble, little organic shop on Gould St. in Bondi, but I’ve been going here for 7 years and I love it. Sitting at the communal table always sees you making either new friends or business-contact or simply just running into all your friends if you’re a Bondi-baby, as it’s mostly locals that go here. So if you’re a newbie to Bondi, head on over..

And your top three places in Sydney for dinner? 

Raw Bar Bondi Beach: Because it’s the absolute perfect and best spot in Bondi for Sunday afternoon drinks and dinner. Get a seat outside (if you’re lucky) and enjoy the best cocktails, rosè and Japanese your tummy has ever had! Staff are also absolutely bloody kind, considerate and attentive.

Bondi’s Best North Bondi: It’s a humble (almost) hole in the wall Fish & Chips shop in North Bondi but super elevated flavour-wise. I love coming here for crispy-skin salmon, steamed greens, honey-drizzled carrots and a glass of rosè. It also has a beautiful view of Bondi, especially for sunset.

Bangkok Bites Bondi BeachIt’s your new favourite Thai-eatery. Bangkok Bites is big on servings AND flavours. The food is quick to come out, it’s BYO and is just as perfect for big groups as your romantic (casual) dinner-date. I’ve loved it since I can remember!

What’s the best advice anyone’s given to you? 

‘Lead with your heart in anything you do, say or see’.

Recommendations: 

I’m currently listening to lots of podcasts like ‘The Happiness Project’ which is great for individuals who needs something more graspable in the ‘self-help’ department. I’m also listening to lots of Marianne Williamson as per usual (as audiobooks) and also Louise Hay for the little reminders in the self-love area.

Follow Caroline on the gram at @carolinehgroth and check out her website http://carolinehgroth.com.au