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Marnie Alton is On Top of The World

Marnie Alton is On Top of The World

Marnie Alton has firmly established herself as one of the most sought-after and respected wellness coaches, having worked with the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Drew Barrymore, and Robin Wright, amongst numerous others.  Now, she’s expanding her empire to encompass fashion, retreats, and above all else, helping others live a truly “nourished” life…

1. You’ve become one of the most sought-after wellness coaches in the world… Why do you think M/Body has resonated so well with people from all over the globe?

I think M/Body has resonated so well with people globally because it focuses on holistic wellness, addressing not just physical fitness but also mental and emotional well-being. Our method of movement is deeply rooted in both science and JOY! That combination is something that feels uniquely powerful regardless of geographical or language barriers. 

2. What was the transition like for you going from a physical studio in Los Angeles to all online classes?

Closing our LA studio was like most major life transitions: terrifying and painful at first, but essential for growth and ultimately a huge gift. I loved our studio so much I probably would have kept it forever if I wasn’t forced to close the doors. I literally built it out myself so I was very connected to the physical space. When the lockdown happened, I had to immediately find a new way for our community to stay connected, keep moving, and support one another. Going online was way out of my comfort zone at the time. I had spent my whole career being in the room with my clients and I wasn’t sure if that same kind of magic and energy exchange could happen in a virtual space. Our in-studio classes had always been sold out, but when the pandemic happened and we moved online, everything opened up. Being virtual meant we were accessible to the whole world, not just whoever could get to our physical space in LA. It still amazes me that we have people taking classes from every continent. It really feels incredible to be connected to a community on such a global level. 

3. Your method encompasses mind, body, and spirit.  Why do you think the mind is so important when it comes to physical wellness?

The mind and the body aren’t separate, they are symbiotic, always communicating and affecting one another. For example, when we feel stressed, that emotion triggers the release of cortisol which in turn leads to inflammation and immune system suppression. We can actually combat this chemical reaction with exercise. Movement (especially when it’s mindful) promotes neuroplasticity which enhances cognitive function and releases feel-good neurotransmitters like endorphins. It also strengthens the immune system, making us more resilient to stressors and illness. Working out not only strengthens your muscles and organs, it can actually help regulate stress and improve mental performance. How cool is that?!

4. What does it mean to live a nourished life?

For me, living a nourished life means that you don’t let comfort be a cage. As humans, at our baseline, we are built to survive. Often that means we will hold on to familiar habits (even if they are harmful) just because the unknown can feel threatening. Living a nourished life means letting go of what’s comfortable or numbing and instead doing the work to see what will help us grow. It’s about moving beyond ‘survive’ and into ‘THRIVE’. 

5. You recently traveled to Paris… What was that experience like for you? Was it work, pleasure, or both?

Yes, it was so magical! Paris is one of my favorite places in the whole world. It has all the energy of an iconic big city but values quality of life over hustle. I remember the first time I went, about 15 years ago, not being able to find ‘coffee-to-go’. I learned that Parisians believe in sitting and enjoying their morning, not just mindlessly getting their caffeine fix. Everywhere you look there is beauty and also someone appreciating it- whether that be food, architecture, art, fashion or people. It’s a dream to live there someday.

6. What do you love most about traveling to new places?

I absolutely love to travel, especially when it’s off the beaten path. I love connecting with people whose day-to-day experiences are different from mine. It’s fascinating how similar we all are as humans- we all protect our loved ones, have rituals, create communities and seek joy… and how dramatically unique we all are at the same time. I think the ability to travel is one of the greatest gifts we have. 

7. Speaking of Paris, you recently collaborated with Pour Les Femmes.  How did this collaboration come about and what can you tell us about these incredible pajamas?

When our LA studio opened in 2014 there was a big wall in the front lobby. A blank slate. I really wanted to do something special to represent the community of women showing up for classes. I had this idea to do something playful that just looked like a graphic design from afar, but when you got close you could see it was made up of individuals in various class positions. A friend, client and unbelievable artist named Kira Green brought it to life. The result was a 20 x 30 foot wall of unique bodies (by nature of them each being hand painted). Different colors. Different shapes. All beautiful.

The founders of Pour Les Femmes, Robin Wright and Karen Fowler, worked out at the studio and fell in love with the wall too. When they asked if we wanted to make a print for their amazing PJ company the answer was obviously heck yes! It finally came to fruition this May which ended up being the perfect time to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. 

8. How would you describe your go-to style (when not sculpting and sweating)?

I love clothes that feel good to move in. If something is too fussy or restricting then I can’t wear it. I gravitate towards more classic styles with an edge, surprise twist or pop of color. I’m also a sucker for a pair of red heels… they just make everything better. 

9. What is your go-to self-care ritual?

My morning self-care ritual is 100% non-negotiable: the very first thing I do when I wake up is drink a mason jar of lemon-ginger water or celery juice, followed by a walk with my pups for about 45min. No matter how crazy busy my day is, I’ll get up as early as I need to make it happen. 

10. You have an M/Body retreat to Italy coming up… why Italy and what would you say are the benefits to wellness retreats?

Italy is on most people’s bucket list for a reason. There is just something so magical about it. I found this stunning, private 9-acre estate on the Eastern Coast near the Adriatic Sea and immediately knew it was something special. Not only was it one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen, it felt calming and grounding in a way I’d never experienced before. That’s one of the things that makes wellness retreats so powerful– they remove you from all of the things that weigh you down and give you the space to truly listen to your own inner voice. I think it’s especially important for women who are often the primary caretakers in their worlds, to be able to get away to a place where they are the ones being taken care of. 

11. Lastly, what advice would you have for someone who wants to make a change in their life?

Make space to hear yourself (bye bye social media and asking for other people’s opinions) and listen to your gut…it always knows the answer. Release comparison and the need for someone else’s permission. Choose one clear goal, or step you can take towards it, and give yourself a deadline to achieve it. Rinse and repeat until you feel like you have made the change you are dreaming about! 

Editorial Images-
Photographer: Ben Cope
Glam: Donna Gast

Pajama Image-
Courtesy of Pour Les Femmes