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Music Monday: Tunes for Your Strengthen and Lengthen Yoga Session

Written on May 7, 2012 at 10:04 am , by

Yoga + Top 40 music = a match made in heaven! (Photo by Chris Fanning)

For someone who’s gotten used to the nonstop sounds of NYC, doing a yoga class in complete silence is, well, a foreign concept. Which is why I was glad to hear that SLT Yoga officially opened their doors in NYC  this May. The offspring of Pilates-based SLT (Strengthen Lengthen and Tone) combines Vinyasa yoga with popular tunes to sustain and enhance your energy throughout the hour-long routine. I worked up a sweat while giving my muscles a much-needed stretch session and my mind a feel-good recharge.

SLT co-founder Erin Jacques, who led our class, shared her playlist so you can move to the music on your own mats.

Learn more about SLT Yoga here.

Tell us: Do you prefer yoga with complete silence or need a soundtrack to move with?

Veep Star Sufe Bradshaw Dishes About Her New Love of Yoga

Written on April 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm , by

Bradshaw fell in love with yoga last year. (Photo courtesy of Russell Baer)

Actress Sufe Bradshaw lives one hectic life. Whether she’s appearing on Bones, in the slim version of Star Trek, working on developing her documentary or volunteering in her Los Angeles community, her schedule leaves little room for down time. Yet Bradshaw still is able to find inner peace, thanks to her new love of yoga.

Read on to hear about her favorite poses and styles, then catch Bradshaw on Sunday for the premiere of her new HBO show Veep, co-starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

You began practicing yoga last year. Did you have other fitness favorites before that or was this your first love?

I’ve always been a physically active girl, dancing when I was younger, playing basketball and swimming. Adding yoga to the mix builds my muscles because it supports those activities as well. Yoga enhanced the things I did before and has created a greater awareness of my body now.

Do you have a style of yoga that you prefer over others? How about poses that you enjoy the most?

I like to practice Hatha/Vinyasa Flow. But I also like to practice Beach Walk Meditations. During these mediations, I feel more connected with nature, allowing the feet to feel the sand which grounds and roots me to the world.

In terms of specific poses, I feel that Crow challenges me mentally and physically and I also love Headstands. Being upside down, you rely on your hands to keep you balanced—and the pose gives you a new perspective. You have to focus on being present. I also love the Warrior series—not only does it build endurance, but it also gives me a sense of strength and courage.

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Nip Slips and Other Things That Can Ruin a Yoga Class

Written on April 17, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

Maybe skip whipping out this pose in your weekend yoga class? (Photo courtesy of Jody Kivort)

Just as you can have a bad day at the gym, you can also have a rotten time at the yoga studio. To make sure you always have an awesome experience on your mat, make sure to avoid the following mistakes in your next class.

  • Excuse me, I think your boob fell out of your shirt: No one is paying much attention to your outfit, but it will cause a scene if a too-loose shirt causes a bit of indecent exposure. Make sure your outfit is made of fabric that fits well, offers coverage, and doesn’t have annoying tassels, seams, or extra material to get in the way of your movements. Futzing with your outfit when you’re trying to focus on your breath (while also trying to hold intricate positions with your body) is sure to get in the way of a blissful experience.
  • Puddles on your mat: Sweating in a hot yoga class is all part of the fun, but if you sweat too much on your mat, it’s a fall waiting to happen. When wet, some mats are slicker than others, so if you tend to sweat a lot, choose a mat with a grippy surface or place a yoga towel on top. Also bring along a hand towel so you can quickly wipe off your face and get back to your practice. Here are a few of our favorite slipless yoga towels.
  • That burrito you ate for lunch: Eating right before class means your gurgling stomach may be louder than your breath. Avoid pains and bloating by finishing meals at least two hours before heading to the studio, and if you need a pre-workout snack, choose something light, easy to digest, and low in fiber such as a banana. Check out these tips for choosing the right pre-workout snack.

Keep reading to find out other things that can ruin your yoga class.

More from FitSugar:

7 Ways to Get Stronger Arms in Yoga Class
Yoga Sequence For Balance and Strong, Sculpted Legs
7 Reasons Your Yoga Instructor Might Yell at You (and How to Handle It)

Take a Breather With This Puerto Rican Yoga Retreat Deal

Written on April 11, 2012 at 11:07 am , by

Imagine relaxing here between classes! (Photo courtesy of St. Regis)

You drive up to the gas pump and feel like you’re charging your paycheck away—we get it! Money is tight, but with summer coming up, a feel-good getaway may be just what you need. Luckily, we found an amazing deal on a restorative yoga retreat that will leave your brain, body and bank account in fantastic shape.

The Bespoke Yoga Retreat, in partnership with Yada Yada Yoga, will be held June 15 to June 18 at the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico. Those who attend will be treated to delicious meals, morning and evening yoga classes overlooking the ocean and beach activities from kayaking to paddle boarding (and of course lounging).

For double occupancy, a stay at this luxury resort in a Garden View room during the retreat—with all of the extras above included—is only $357 per person per night. Score!

To book your space (a two night minimum is required), contact Angelica Lenox at (954) 624-1784 or at angelica.lenox@stregis.com.

More from FITNESS:

Fit Links: Competitive Yoga and America’s Healthiest States

Written on March 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm , by

This week’s fit links from around the web:

OK, we forfeit. (Photo by Jody Kivort)

Yogis Unite to Help Somaly Mam Foundation

Written on January 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm , by

Taking a yoga class this month will benefit a lot more than your health. (Photo courtesy of Yoga Freedom Project)

If one of your fitness resolutions is to take up yoga this year, we’ve got the perfect opportunity for you to stick to it and do something good in the process. This month Off the Mat NYC is partnering up with Somaly Mam Foundation to create the Yoga Freedom Project, a global initiative to raise awareness and funding against sex trafficking.

By joining the Yoga Freedom Project, you’ll get connected to a global community of studio owners that will allow you to collect donations for the Somaly Mam Foundation throughout the month. To start collecting, you can either host a donation-based class, sell copies of Somaly Mam, founder of the Somaly Mam Foundation and survivor of sex slavery’s book Road to Lost Innocence, sell jewelry made by survivors of trafficking in Cambodia, or set up a donation box at one of the Yoga Freedom Project’s studios during a class.

On Tuesday,  Jan. 31 the project will end with a sun salutation event in NYC featuring Elena Brower, Dana Flynn, Cyndi Lee, Jodie Rufty, Alan Finger, Sri Dharma Mittra, Sierra Bender, Tricia Donegan and Suzanne Sterling. Buy tickets here to attend and help the fight against modern-day slavery.

For more information on the Yoga Freedom Project, and a list of studios involved visit offthematnyc.com.

More from FITNESS: Yoga Tunes to Move You

Yoga Tunes to Move You

Written on January 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm , by

Pure Yoga instructor Loren Bassett. (Photo courtesy of Pure Yoga)

I scored a seat in Pure Yoga‘s coveted Loren Bassett Hot Yoga class last night and left with not only a relaxing mind and body, but also this awesome playlist. I’ve done lots of hot yoga over the years, but nothing like Loren’s class. The studio was fully dark and these tunes filled the empty spaces as you made your way through flows and inversions. I loved everything about it and although I couldn’t master the handstand (OK, I was too scared to even try), this class is a must-do on my growing yoga class list!

Match your yoga poses with this playlist from Loren—who’s been teaching hot yoga for more than 10 years—and get in the mood to move.

Be a Better Yogi

Written on January 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm , by

I’m really trying to hold on to my New Year’s resolution as long as I can—they say people tend to fall off the wagon by the time February hits. But my goal of attending two to three yoga classes a week is manageable, especially since here in the FITNESS office, we’re lucky enough to have a yoga instructor come in at lunchtime two days a week! There’s really no excuse I can’t accomplish this goal, and after seeing this ridiculously cool and inspiring video, “The Contortionist,” from West Hollywood Equinox instructor, Briohny Smith, I’m even more motivated to perfect my yogi-ism far into 2012.

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Briohny—Bri for short—was introduced to yoga while on a trip to Thailand in 1999. She found yoga to be the cure to getting more “me” time and adding some much-needed serenity to her busy life. Upon exploring different varieties of Hatha yoga over the past 14 years, Bri fell for the arm balances and inversions you see her mastering in this video. As a yoga teacher, she helps her students bridge the gap between their mind and body, as well as helping them strengthen their muscles, while safely edging them closer to the positions she so beautifully aces. Even if I never reach the level that Bri does with such ease, I’m in awe of what she can make her body do and I’m keeping this video in mind as I hope to lengthen and strengthen my body this winter!

[Check out Equinox's innovative new blog, Q by Equinox, for cool things happening at Equinox locations and fun celebrity and athlete Q&A's...plus much more!]

Looking to be a better yogi this year too? Keep reading for two of Bri’s favorite beginner moves!

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An Affordable, Accessible, and Awesome Getaway Destination

Written on December 22, 2011 at 8:30 am , by

My Christmas cards finally went out, complete with a list of 11 things I learned in 2011. Among the lessons? “Sometimes you have to peel shrimp before you eat them. —Dewey Destin’s, Emerald Coast, Florida”

(I also learned Yoloboarding in Florida, but I wanted to keep my destinations diversified!)

My point: As the year wraps up, we can’t help but think about the memories we made in the past twelve months and the trips we took. Our Fit Stop readers have heard about staff adventures like Karla’s in Colorado  and Marla’s in Mexico, and I’m going to throw another log on the inspiration fire: When you’re thinking about your affordable options in 2012 and looking to get a little sand in your soul and in between your toes, I’d head toward the “Emerald Coast” (Destin area) in Florida. Because I like lists, here’s why:

*The sand is like perfect, white flour and the water is a pretty, jewel-green. It doesn’t feel like other American beaches. My sun salutations were extra peaceful!
christie griffin warrior 1 sun salutation at inn at crystal beach on emerald coast in florida

*It’s where YOLO/paddle boarding really took off! You can rent a board for $20 from lifeguards and don’t need any special lessons. I scored mine right outside  the Inn at Crystal Beach, which is where I was lucky enough to stay.christie griffin paddleboarding on yolo board in destin, florida

*Locals call it the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.” I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and just look!christie griffin and red snapper catch deep sea fishing

*There are a lot of family-friendly things to do, like parasailing, jet-skiing, the “Gulfarium” (sooo fun!), dolphin watching, and more!
women interacting with dolphin at Gulfarium in Emerald Coast Florida

*There are grown-up things to do, too: golfing, wine and cheese cruises, and even the top level of AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar turns into quite the party later at night!AJs seafood and oyster bar

*Lastly, the people are so nice and you’re treated like a new friend, rather than a tourist…Which can be a huge sigh of relief when you have no idea how to eat their local cuisine.emerald coast florida zimmerman agency destin locals

For more on the Emerald Coast, visit emeraldcoastfl.com or check out this cool video.

 

Meet The Trainer: YogaWorks’ Keisa Parrish, Former Broadway Rockette!

Written on December 21, 2011 at 9:53 am , by

Keisa, second from right, in full Rockette regalia! (Photo courtesy of Keisa Parrish)

The start of the New Year means the start of so many new fitness routines. Hitting the gym hardcore may be your 2012 resolution (studies say losing weight or getting in shape is the top promise people make), but what about those “off” days, when you’re sore or just don’t feel like getting your butt kicked by your favorite bootcamp master?

That’s why we thought it was so important to give you a total-body stretch/yoga routine that’ll keep your body moving but also give it a nice break too. Plus, when things get hectic before the New Year even begins, you can take a breather with these relaxing moves. January’s Express Workout moves from YogaWorks instructor, Keisa Parrish, come straight from her popular DanceWorks class. Psst…Keisa was a former New York City Rockette too! How cool is that?!

You were a Rockette. What was it like to have this job? (It seems amazingly fun!)
It was amazing! There’s nothing like being apart of a legacy and a sisterhood that spans many generations. And performing for about 6,000 people, is not half bad either!

How did you get into dancing?
Well, it was actually Ms. Renee (the school secretary) who saw me “moving” in the fifth grade Christmas show. And she thought I was a natural dancer and suggested I go take class at Universal Dance Design. These legs haven’t stopped yet.

What’s one thing people would be shocked to find out about Rockettes?
That they do anywhere from two to five shows a day during the Christmas season.

Is Christmas one of your most favorite times of the year?
Yes, it definitely is. I love New York City at holiday time. The lights, decorations, the shows and attractions, the family feeling in the air. Hands down favorite time of year!

What’s on your holiday wish list?
Two things! A day at Bliss Spa to pamper myself (I’ve been saying this for four years now…we’ll see if it happens!) and Rachael Ray serving size casserole dishes. It would be easier to make my son’s favorite homemade mac and cheese!

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