Written on March 4, 2013 at 11:46 am , by FITNESS Intern
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?
Written on January 4, 2013 at 9:18 am , by Samantha Shelton
If we ever got the chance to meet Katie Levans, or should we say Tater, from Sweet Tater in person, we can only imagine it would be full of smiles, laughs and quickly segue into a blissful hot yoga session. The instructor and nutritionist draws us in with her yummy meal posts and makes us laugh with her weekly “Caturday” blurbs.
Since we likely won’t get to hang anytime soon though (darn!), we’ll take the next best thing: Katie is starring on one of our favorite guilty-pleasure TV shows: season 17 of The Bachelor. Gunning for Sean Lowe’s heart, we’ll cozy up on the couch while she tries to win the coveted rose week after week from the blonde heartthrob. If he doesn’t immediately fall in love with her beautiful curly hair like we did, then the bachelor definitely will once he sees her bust out some yoga poses, right?
Regardless, we wanted to get to know a bit more about the yogi with great taste. Check out some of her favorite things, and keep reading for a super yummy recipe!
My favorite way to work out: I practice hot yoga every day, but prefer to separate that from the concept of “working out” because it’s so much more than that. When I strictly want to work my body, I head to FlyBarre. It’s 60 minutes of low-weight, high-rep intervals that tone and tighten all over. If you’re looking to shed inches (not necessarily pounds), this is hands-down the most effective workout I’ve ever done.
I’m happiest when I’m: Cooking. I guess when most people are stressed out or short on time, they order takeout. I crack open a cookbook and all of my cares seem to melt away. There’s something so therapeutic about chopping, dicing and dreaming up new dishes.
My fave fit snack: If I could buy Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds by the barrel, I would. I usually prefer not to eat immediately before or after a hot yoga class, but almonds fuel me with healthy fat and protein without leaving me feeling full or unsettled.
My “I Did It” moment: When I finished my 200-hour yoga teacher training and Master of Science in Nutrition in the same week. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t wise to work on both simultaneously. I was mentally and physically burned out and, by the end, had hit a major breaking point. Once I was done, the sense of accomplishment overshadowed anything else, but I can’t say I’d do it all again.
My gym bag must-have: Suave Dry Shampoo. When I’m teaching back-to-back classes or have to run straight from the studio to an appointment, dry shampoo saves me the hassle of washing and air-drying my long, unruly curly hair. People are always telling me I smell so clean. But oh, if only they knew!
For a fun, hearty recipe sure to warm you up during these cold winter months, check out Katie’s Vegan Chili below – the dish comes straight from mom!
Written on December 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern
When Jane Fonda released her debut exercise video in 1982, Jane Fonda’s Workout, it became its own genre, leading her to create 20 additional fitness videos and selling over 17 million copies combined, more than any other workout series. Now at 74, she’s looking great and feeling better than ever with her latest DVD Jane Fonda’s AM/PM Yoga for Beginners, which breaks up yoga into a rejuvenating morning session and an unwinding evening one.
We got the chance to chat with Fonda, who is one of our fitness icons about her latest workout routine and how she’s staying in shape these days.
What made you decide to create this new routine?
I started my new brand Prime Time three years ago aimed it at the baby boomer generation and older. I realized that there was a hole the series and yoga was that missing link.
Describe this new workout in one sentence.
It is yoga that has been marinating in Pilates. But it’s not pure yoga; I didn’t want it to be intimidating. Read more
Written on December 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm , by Karla Walsh
We’ve all probably had our fill of “Kate Plus 8.” But Cait Plus Ate? That’s a completely different story. Just like that other Kate, Cait is a master at juggling: she rocks her job, her school work (Cait’s working toward her MBA!) and her active lifestyle—and with way less conflict than on a reality show.
Read on for Cait’s can’t-miss gym class, her super-powered snack pick and more.
My favorite way to work out: A well-choreographed, intense step class! My gym has an amazing one during which a routine is taught (broken down into combos) and dispersed throughout are tough cardio peak intervals. The step routine includes kicks, jumping knees and more heart-rate elevating workouts. It’s fun to try to hit every move and the class flies by because I’m so busy concentrating on learning the combos! Top 40 hits on the playlist are the cherry on top.
On my fit life (fitness bucket) list: Aerial yoga! I have read so many cool reviews of these classes on blogs and would love to try one out for myself, but none are offered in my area. I enjoy yoga and any workout that switches it up and keeps things interesting is one for me—how much more unique can you get than aerial yoga?!
My fave fit snack: Fruit with plain Chobani. I prefer to flavor plain Chobani with chopped fruit than purchase the flavored Cho varieties. Bananas are my favorite fruit to combine with the Greek yogurt but I also love doing blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Sometimes I also throw PB into the mix.
My fitness mantra: Do what I enjoy, not what I “should.” I have forced myself to attend plenty of group fitness classes that absolutely crawled by simply because I thought that they were the classes I should be doing. I’ve realized that I reap so many more mental benefits of exercise when I go with the form of fitness I’m feelin’ on a given day. If I want to do Zumba, I’ll enjoy my workout and it’ll go by faster if I do that and don’t make myself run on a treadmill just because running seems like it might burn more calories. Movement should be fun and the enjoyment-not-should mantra is something I am actively working on learning each day, but I have made great progress!
My gym bag must-have: My Big Banjees running wallet by Sprigs! I actually use it to hold my iPhone, case and all, when I lift weights because I use my phone as my iPod too. It’s the only running wallet I’ve ever found that will a) stay fixed on my arm and b) hold my iPhone with the case still on. I used to try to stick the iPhone in my waistband or sports bra, but you can imagine how cumbersome that was. My strength training sessions are easier now!
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email email@example.com
Written on November 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm , by Samantha Shelton
While some of us discover our passions later in life, Whitney from Live Run Love Yoga found hers early: running and yoga. The fitness enthusiast has been active since she was a young girl and hasn’t stopped since! Now an accomplished marathoner who loves flowing through sun salutations just as much as she enjoys lacing up her sneaks, Whitney’s page is one we often turn to when in need of a good stretch (we admit, we don’t always practice as much as we should!). Keep reading to find out which races she has her eye on and what beauty product might need to make its way into your gym bag.
My favorite way to work out: I love to hit the pavement for a run and then find my way to the yoga mat to stretch out my tight muscles. Not to mention it works my abs and upper body!
On my fit life list: Complete the World Marathon Majors! I’ve run the New York City Marathon, the Boston Marathon and the Chicago Marathon. Next up, London and Berlin! I also really want to run the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco!
I’m happiest when I’m: Doing anything that involves running or yoga! Whether it’s running or working a race, talking or blogging about those subjects, or being in the studio practicing, teaching or learning. I’m fortunate that my jobs are my passions!
My gym bag must-have: Yes To Cucumber or Yes to Blueberry Facial Towelettes. They’re so refreshing; I love them!
My motivation comes from: Myself! It’s my own love of running and yoga that gets me out of bed at 5am or through a 20-mile long run. I love the satisfaction and sense of confidence that my runs and practice provide; it’s what keeps me coming back for more each day!
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written on October 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern
Close your eyes and imagine standing in front of one of the most sought-after yoga instructors in the world, Rodney Yee. As the saying goes, “ask and you shall receive!” Better yet, he’s coming to your home – no travel required!
To better meet many people’s urge to practice with Yee, he’s recently released Core Centered Yoga on DVD. The disc features five different workouts – lower balance, back balance, internal balance, bending balance and restorative balance – to give you that overall sense of “ahh” and bring you back to a peaceful state of being.
We got to test-drive the latest workout for ourselves in Yogaworks Union Square studio, and we were quite impressed! Yee eased our minds, engaged our balance and stressed the importance of accessing our core, taking our practice to a whole new level.
“I am very excited for the release of Core Centered Yoga because it is a concept I have always been passionate about,” says Yee. “It has been a great experience to once again work with Gaiam to create this DVD, which teaches how to be in sync with the core to build strength through fluid alignment and mindfulness.”
We also nabbed a sneak peek at Gaiam’s newly launched expansion of its Sol Collection, which features fresh new products including towels, mats and blocks to enhance every girl’s practice in a fashion-forward way. After all, there’s nothing wrong with looking cute while working up a sweat, right?
Now you tell us: Do you prefer to practice yoga at home or in a studio?
Written on October 23, 2012 at 9:00 am , by Colleen Moody
Challenge a runner to a toe touching contest and you’ll probably bend yourself into a pretzel before they make it past their shins. That’s because running can tighten muscles like your hamstring, IT band and calves if not properly stretched and cross-trained. But lucky for you (and us!) we got the top five yoga poses Andrea Orbeck, fitness consultant and Heidi Klum’s secret weapon uses to train the supermodel to celebrate the launch of HealthyChic.com, a new site for yoga and fitness lovers to find curated gear from pros like Orbeck, yoga instructor Anita Goa, track and field coach Scott Cohen and others. Below, Orbeck explains why all runners should start incorporating these poses into their cross-training routines.
“When training Heidi or any runner, I focus on poses that open up the muscles that tend to make us tight from repetitive habits, like sitting all day or exercise-induced tension,” she says. “By working on poses that open the hips, lengthen the psoas (the only muscle that runs from front to back and top to bottom and is usually the culprit for back pain), stretch the hamstring and open and lengthen the lumbar. When these muscles are properly opened and lengthened, we dodge back pain and can continue to run and do our favorite exercises.”
5 Yoga Poses Runners Must Do:
- Child’s Pose: When our tailbone is seated on our heels and our arms are outstretched, it opens up the lumbar spine and gently opens our quads, too.
- Happy Baby Pose: This makes for a happy runner! It opens up the lumbar spine and hamstrings and when legs are open to the sides, stretches inner thigh muscles.
- Pigeon Pose: My personal favorite! This can bring immediate relief to tight glutes, groin, back psoas, and even the shoulders and pecs. Everyone from a runner and a model, to a mogul and mom will know the stress from these muscles.
- Warrior Pose: This movement provides some hip flexor stretch, but also activates the quads and core. Holding it before transitioning out bears weight on the quads statically and is great for balancing and conditioning.
- Goddess Pose: For runners especially, this is a great way to open up the inner thigh muscles and chest while letting gravity give you some much deserved “me” time.
Written on September 25, 2012 at 10:24 am , by Colleen Moody
September’s Top DVD: Yoga Is: A Transformational Journey
Best for: Someone who wants to go past downward dogs and learn how to best channel your inner calmness through yoga.
Why it’s a star: Normally we give you the top DVD’s to sweat to, but to celebrate National Yoga Month; this flick is our top pick for discovering your true self through yoga. After losing her mother to a battle with cancer, journalist Suzanne Bryant went on a journey to the West to interview prominent yoga teachers and learn about the different practices to help herself and others to find peace with their mind and lives. “Your mind is like a muscle,” Bryant says. “I had been practicing yoga since 1991 and became a teacher in 2000, but it wasn’t until I started a daily practice that I felt that mental shift of being able to control my mind. Now whenever I feel anxious I’m able to close my eyes and instantly calm down. It is a powerful thing.”
Sprinkled in with interviews of yogis from all over the world are a few celebrity appearances. Christy Turlington-Burns, who wrote Living Yoga: Create a Life Practice as well as Russell Simmons share how yoga has changed their lives. “Christy Turlington-Burns is someone who is able to be in both worlds and can channel peace in everyday life, which is incredibly important,” says Bryant. “Not many people knew Russell Simmons practiced yoga, so I thought he would be able to motivate people that are his audience to find a way to use this path to be a better person and contribute to the world. He told me that he used to think his anxiety drove him, but after practicing yoga and quieting his mind he realizes how much more productive he can be.” For anyone going through a tough time or just wanting to learn how to chill out after a stressful day, this film is a front row seat to the best yoga teachers in the world telling you how.
Where to get it: amazon.com, $14.99
Written on September 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm , by Colleen Moody
Already feeling a little frazzled and it’s only Monday? Get centered plus save some cash by celebrating National Yoga Month with Exhale Mind Body Spa on Thursday, September 20. The spa is launching its second annual NamasDAY, with complimentary yoga classes throughout the day and an evening yoga party with DJs, giveaways and goody bags at night. And yes, a healthy cocktail or two!
To find a location near you and book your complimentary class, visit exhalespa.com/namasday. You’re already feeling a little less stressed, aren’t you?
Written on September 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm , by Colleen Moody
We were amazed last year when we saw this video of West Hollywood Equinox instructor Briohny Smith doing some morning yoga in her viral video, “The Contortionist.” And we weren’t the only ones. Since then Briohny’s video has gotten almost 4 million views, leading her to create another one with her hubby, Dice Iida-Klein doing acro yoga for the Q by Equinox blog. Both yogis say this type of yoga takes a lot of balance, trust and communication (which also sounds like the formula to a happy marriage!). By the looks of it, they’ve got the yoga and Mr. and Mrs. thing down pat. Enjoy!