Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Buttery toast, rich olive oil, fluffy soufflés—have you started drooling yet? Surprisingly, we were on our mats when yoga instructor Chrissy Carter brought these images to mind, making us dream about our next meal. The ex-Wall Streeter-turned-yogi commonly references food during her classes to help students visualize and execute poses, which we experienced firsthand to celebrate the launch of her new Gaiam DVD Beginning Yoga. Ready to say om…nom nom?
How did you first discover yoga?
I danced in college and the professors would use yoga to warm us up. I became more serious about it when I graduated and worked on Wall Street. I had a crazy-intense job, so I would go and do yoga as a way to relax and check in with myself. It was a demanding career and I felt like I needed some me time; yoga really gave me that.
Why do you think it’s important for people, especially women, to practice yoga?
I think yoga puts us back in our bodies. It gives us an opportunity to let go of all the expectations that we have and all of the things that we have to be to everybody. It also allows us to have a place where we can practice self-acceptance, and for women, that’s always a challenge. We’re always measuring ourselves us against some sort of outside expectation. And to come on your mat and be like, “I’m going to do what I can do today, and that’s OK.” Beyond the physical benefits of having those strong, supple muscles, I think the connection emotionally and mentally is so much more powerful.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I would say it is really clear. I am passionate about giving people the tools that they need to be their own teacher. I want to give everybody a backstage pass into how to do these poses effectively and safely for their particular body. I use humor so that people don’t take themselves too seriously, but I also take the practice really seriously because I think it’s a perfect place for people to apply it to the bigger picture: how do I react to not being able to do this pose, and how is that similar to how I react when things fall apart in my life?