One evening after work last week, I hustled over to Chelsea Piers (an amazing recreation complex along the Hudson River in New York City) to attend the Wanderlust Yoga In the City event. I enjoyed an amazing waterfront yoga session led by Schuyler Grant, studio director of Kula Yoga, and Elena Brower, founder and co-owner of VIRAYOGA. Watching hundreds of people hold warrior pose in unison was quite a sight, and we certainly challenged our balance and our muscles with poses like crow and twisting triangle. After the event, I caught up with Elena and Schuyler to snag their yoga playlist must-haves and the poses that they think you should stand up and do right now!
What do you see as the main benefits of yoga? Elena Brower: Long, lean muscles, expanded patience, confidence, healthier cells, more efficient breathing and circulation and a level of consistency both internally and externally that most of us haven't yet experienced in our lives. Schuyler Grant: It's not just a workout—that's why we call it a practice, and that's why it's taken off so completely. Yoga complements other workouts so well. People stick with it because it gives them something besides a workout. They feel centered and balanced.
If someone is sitting at their desk now has time to get up and do one pose for more energy, what would you recommend and why? Elena: Stand tall, root your feet down into the ground and reach your arms up over your head. Bring your palms to touch above your head in prayer, and use your arms to hug your ears. Breathe in and out five to ten times, and slowly lower your arms out to the sides, then down next to your body. Schuyler: The downward facing dog (see a how-to here) offers a good leg, shoulder, arm and back stretch. It's meditative and strengthening, and is a really well-balanced pose.
What artists are mainstays on your yoga class soundtracks? Elena: Inner Splendor, Andrew Clark, Garth Stevenson, Random Rab and Earthrise Soundsystem. Schuyler: I love Garth Stevenson too! I'd add Moby, Nick Drake, Cat Power and Iron and Wine to the list. M
ore from FITNESS: Looking for some additional yoga inspiration? These extreme yoga poses and positions have to be seen to be believed.