Instagram’s favorite forest nymph discusses the beauty of surrendering what you think you know. In collaboration with Health-Ade PLUS.
By: Bibi Deitz
Instagram can start to feel like one big advertisement sometimes. And then there are the feeds of people like Hitomi Mochizuki, a self-described forest nymph—which might sound a little hyperbolic until you catch a glimpse of her photos.
Mochizuki is outspoken about the power of changing one’s life—and outlook on life—to heal one’s mental health. She waxes equally poetic on social media about spirituality, sustainability, veganism, yoga, and traipsing through nature, and she practices what she preaches. You get the sense that she’s only more herself offline, rather than just performing for the ’Gram and then going and bingeing on junk food or whatever.
Naturally, Mochizuki is a fan of kombucha. In honor of Health-Ade PLUS, which combines Health-Ade’s classic kombucha with extra benefits from powerful adaptogenic and functional ingredients, we got to chat with Instagram’s favorite forest nymph about quarantine in Hawaii, white candles and chill, and her favorite meditation, nadi shodhana. And if you want to try the new line for yourself, we’ve got you: Health-Ade PLUS is sold at Whole Foods Markets nationwide.
We love your Instagram—scrolling through feels like a journey through a portal into a mystical world. How do you choose what you share on social media and what you keep for yourself?
“Being on social media as a main part of my job, I’ve learned to take a fair amount of time completely off of my phone every week to fill up my cup and be present. I only share my life online when it doesn’t feel distracting or too invasive to me spiritually.
“I take one full day a week not on any of my devices and only post when I have something I really want to share. I snap away on my phone and then put it down, not looking at or posting the photos until later. Using my social media in a very present and meditative way has become necessary and more refined throughout my years on these platforms.”
You’re very vulnerable on Instagram, but as we all know, there’s the self you share on Instagram and the self you are in real life. Your two selves seem pretty integrated; what’s the difference for you?
“I have always been an open book with my audience because I know the healing power of speaking honestly about the shadow and light of our individual experiences in life. It is equally beautiful, and tender, and messy, and there is space for it all.
“I think the main difference is that the picturesque moments are a lot more documented than the messy ones—even if I talk about them, it’s often accompanied by a magical photo rather than me in tears at 3:00 AM sitting on my kitchen floor, which is the reality of those denser moments that I share about.”
Meditation is important to you—can you share a favorite meditation you’ve been doing lately?
“I feel like meditation is me, it is me touching the truest essence of myself and my most natural state of being. My favorite meditation as of recently has been a breathwork practice called nadi shodhana, translating in Sanskrit to alternate nostril breathing. It balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain, allowing for more focus and clarity. It’s a great one to do every day, any time of day.”
What yoga pose has been speaking to you the most recently?
“I ask my fellow yogis this question all the time because I feel like different poses resonate with you in different seasons of your life. I have been loving simple seated forward folds because they activate apana vayu, the energy of grounding and release. If you have digestion problems, a busy mind, or anxiety, forward folds are really great medicine for that.”
You have an app! What was it like to design your own app? Does it take a lot of work to maintain and update it?
“Designing an app was something that I never dreamed was in the world of possibilities for me. My friend and I dreamed up the entire idea in a tiny cabin on a secluded beach in Thailand right before my first yoga teacher training.
“Maintaining and updating the app can be challenging for me while trying to post consistent content on other platforms. I realized that taking breaks from posting to deepen into my own practice is the best process for me, because then I’m really teaching from personal passion and experience rather than forcing the wisdom to the surface.”
What is inspiring you right now?
“I feel very inspired by the miracle that happens when we switch from an energetic state of fear to love. How that single shift can change our entire experience of reality. How we have that choice in every new moment.”
How do you let loose at the end of a long day?
“I love to light a bunch of white candles around my yoga mat, put on a face mask, and stretch while reading or watching an anime.”
So, kombucha—what flavor of Health-Ade do you like the best? Do you like drinking it solo, or do you mix it with other things?
“My current favorite is the Health-Ade PLUS Beauty flavor because it has biotin and bamboo extract, which support healthy hair and nail growth. And the strawberry-rose flavor is so divine. I usually drink them solo because I think they’re perfect on their own!”
Health-Ade is all about “health to make you happy.” What does that phrase mean to you? What other types of healthy things do you do or embody or ingest on a regular basis?
“Our health is our most potent gift in this life; being healthy is reason enough to rejoice in gratitude every single day. I take a green powder full of all the supplements I’m missing on a vegan diet, as well as vegan collagen, protein powder, and probiotics to keep myself glowing from the inside out.
“Everything we absorb can be medicine, so I’m mindful of how much time I spend on social media, the movies I watch, and, of course, the food I eat. Really being present with how everything feels in my body and mind.”
Wellness is a word that gets tossed around a lot, but sometimes, as far as we’re concerned, wellness looks like a glass of red wine while watching TV after a long day. Are there things like that for you that feel restorative, though they might not fall into the traditional category of wellness?
“I think the world of ‘wellness’ has been highly curated and marketed in recent years, but I really want to remind people that you don’t need anything external to practice self-care or wellness.
“Some practices that I feel are less traditional in the world of wellness include free-bleeding out in nature when I’m on my cycle, free-styling to lo-fi music when I’m sad, praying and burning my intentions in a big fire under the full moon. Anything that returns you to your center is a wellness practice, and I think rituals are so important in helping us do this on a regular basis.”
Adaptogens are becoming ubiquitous in the health and wellness world—are there any in particular that you find yourself gravitating toward over and over?
“I love turmeric because it supports brain functioning and is anti-cancer and good for skin elasticity. I usually have it in a golden milk with pepper for best absorption. I also eat goji berries nearly every day in my oats. They boost energy and physical and mental performance while being super delicious.”
Your photos are insane—you’re from NYC, but where have you been riding out quarantine? What has that been like?
“I will forever be a New Yorker on the inside, as I was born and raised in New York State and have experienced the most important transformations of my life in the city. However, I’m also a wild woman and was really blessed to relocate to Kauai, Hawaii, in early June to get my paws muddy again.
“Within the first two weeks I felt my nervous system just completely relax and restore itself to its natural state of equanimity. I have been spending so many moments here in complete solitude and stillness. Being in nature always gives me the opportunity to witness any lingering shadows and create an entirely new internal reality. Everywhere in nature feels sacred.”
You’ve talked a lot about turning to spirituality, sustainability, veganism, and other ways of life as a way to go inward and heal your mental health. What was it like to change your lifestyle? Do you have tips for people who want to do the same thing?
“Changing my lifestyle and diving deep into spirituality was what saved me after I seemingly hit rock bottom at 17 years old. It felt like I was falling into nothingness, and spirituality was the one thing that stopped me from plummeting deeper, eventually bringing me back up to the stable surface.
“Once I found stability through my spiritual practices and therapy, I realized it takes daily effort to stay balanced and connect to your highest potential. For anyone looking to change their lifestyle, I recommend surrendering a lot of what you think you know about this reality.
“Empty out and make space for the unknown. How things are is not how they will always be. Take some time every day to do something that contributes to your dream reality. Also, take at least eight deep belly breaths every morning and night.”