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Top 10 Most Lovable Things About Yoga-ing

Fitness

Tom Holland said "yoga won't make you skinny" on The Joy Behar Show. Well, that's easy to say if your mat is full of dust, Tom! I think yoga is one of the best core workouts and it keeps me from having to do crunches day after day. If you power up your yoga practice with a fast moving flow and a touch of strength training, you will indeed drop pounds. It all depends on your approach and intensity. So I'm going to say that Tom Holland is WRONG. Whether you're a fan or on the fence, check out my TOP 10 reasons to love yoga paired with stylish trends for summer.

 

TOP 10 MOST LOVABLE THINGS ABOUT YOGA AND FOR YOGA:

#1. Yoga is about listening first.

Beautiful poses and a smooth yoga flow don't happen overnight. But you'll get there, building up the courage for handstands and more by listening to your teacher's guidance, your breadth and your heart. You can even listen to your yoga mat! The Audio Yoga Mat from Gaiam ($39.98) talks or sings to you with a built-in speaker. Just attach your ipod and play an instructional workout that you can download for free HERE!

Audio yoga mat gaiam

 

#2. Yoga embraces all people, even non-hemp-loving-vegans.

Individuality is sacred to yoga. Yes, every instructor or school of yoga has a philosophy to preach but that's just something they're sharing to enrich your life. You can take it or leave it. The consensus is that you should always make your practice your own, whether you deviate from a yoga sequence in class or wear something different than everybody else. Express your personality with a yoga bag that doesn't look like the rest. Vintage Modern Design bags by Jane Schneider have a front pocket for your yoga block. You don't see that everyday.

Cool yoga bags mizzfit fitness fashion

Matware Mat Sling ($38)Manduka Lyrics Practice Tote in OmVintage Modern Design yoga bagsGaiam Embroidered Yoga Mat Bag ($46)

 

#3. Yoga is for sharing and there's always room for 1 more mat.

Yoga Vida, one of my favorite NYC-based yoga studios, doesn't mind asking people who have already laid out there mats to make more room for more incoming students during peak hours. Owner Mike Patton has openned up a 2nd Yoga Vida location (which is large, airy and sunlit) to accommodate the overflow even though he admits a 2nd studio is risky. He just doesn't like turning students away and at $10/class you can imagine Yoga Vida is a popular spot. Yoga can be pricey in NYC but not at Yoga Vida where a student ID gets you a $5 yoga class. 'Great prices, great instructors' is their shtick. My favorite instructor, Hilaria Thomas, has quite a story to tell. She was a competitive ballroom dancer who broke her hip from over-exercise and ended up in a wheelchair for months. She rebounded with a style of yoga instruction that focuses on knowing your body and its limits. She makes anatomical references during class and each week the focus is on a specific body part. Hilaria is famously known for her strenuous but totally-worth-it ab sequence (sit-ups, twists, grunting, etc). She'll easily win your yoga heart just like she won actor Alec Baldwin's. Listen to him gush about how he'd rather travel the world with her than do anything else. Hopefully Alec knows how to share!

yoga vida hilaria thomas mizzfit

 

#4. Yoga gives you strong arms. 

The kind of arms that look like they've been worked out but still fit into your favorite going out tops. They're called "yoga arms" and they're deceiving because they can hold your body weight without looking bulky. It's amazing how a holding pose (like Warrior 1) with arms reaching to the sky can activate the muscles in your arms, even when you're holding them still. It's not easy and you definitely feel the burn. For strong yoga arms, I like the Voyage Wrap from Athleta ($59) and the Yogi Arms Hoodie ($57) from Sprigs (call 888.327.2241 to order). Whether you go short-sleeved or long, these stylish cover-ups are lightweight and easy to layer.

yoga wear cover-ups

 

#5. Yoga brings balances to your life.

Sometimes the way it happens is magical and you can't explain it. In my case, I one day became less wobbly and more collected in heels. On a deeper level, I acquired the ability to make important things in my life play nice with each other and not quibble or compete for my time. It feels like life is on your side, whether things are perfect or not. To fully understand, embark on your own journey or read Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer. It's an inspiring yoga memoir and a fantastic summer read.

Poser Clair Dederer

 

#6. Yoga keeps morphing.

Lots of people still think of yoga as a new-agey meditation gathering set to Sounds of the Rainforest music. But a lot has changed. For example, it's 2011 and Barrack Obama is President. Even though classical forms of yoga still thrive, news kinds have grown out of it significantly changing the yoga landscape. The list is endless and right now I'm loving YogaTone, created by Kristin McGee (who I adore). Her dvd isn't fancy by any means but it's legit by all means. It combines strength training with yoga and it's only 30-minutes long. All you need is a pair of light weights and a mat. I'm sticking my tongue out at Tom Holland right now because this is definitely a skinny girl workout.

yogatone dvd yoga fitness

 

#7. Yoga is like a good massage.

It's a 2 for 1. A workout and a massage at once! Whenever I'm feeling sore after a high-impact kickboxing class or brutal bootcamp beatdown, I make sure to do yoga the next day. Yoga relieves muscle tension and opens space up throughout your body, especially in tight zones like your shoulders. Just because you're stretching doesn't mean it isn't exercise or that you can't burn calories doing it. I think it's a misconception. I honestly sweat more in my favorite power yoga classes (non-heated) than I do in high-impact cardio classes. I like to apply Badger Sore Muscle Rub on my shoulders, back and calves before yoga class to help relieve any muscle pain I'm dealing with. It sounds weird but it really helps to get your muscles and joints extra warmed up. Badger Sore Muscle Rub has cayenne in it which is naturally anti-inflammatory. It also contains an organic ingredient list of ginger, cardamom, rosemary and lemongrass. You can buy it HERE on Amazon or for $7 at Organic Beauty Now.

badger sore muscle rub pain fitness

 

#8. Yoga improves your sex life.

I'm going to keep this short, sweet and PG-13 since I know my mom will eventually read this. Here's what you can expect to improve: your flexibility, range and overall creativity. You'll flow in bed like you do on the mat. Give it a roll and catch your lover's attention in sexy yoga-wear by Margarita Activewear. The slash detailing is scandalously thought provoking! On a serious note, the slashes will keep you cool when things get hot...in yoga class, duh!

Margarita Activewear Yoga clothes

Margarita Activwear Tank ($54)  /  Margarita Activwear Capri ($90)

 

#9. Yoga reminds you to stick to what you stand for.

Let's be honest, sometimes we forget to adhere to the values we claim define us. It happens and that's OK. This is where yoga can have you back because the practice of yoga makes you more self-aware. You learn to shut out all the noise and let go of the chatter in your head. You find the inner voice that often struggles to be heard and you begin to catch yourself when you stray from what you believe in. Jewelry designer Jennifer Stock makes a beautiful collection of yoga-inspired jewelry that I wear as a constant reminder to always be me. Russell Simmons is also a fan (such a copycat, that Russell!). I discovered Jennifer at Jivamukti NYC and got to see her entire collection at once. Her dainty necklaces are quite stunning paired with yoga attire or a little black dress. And I'm pining after this OM Ring! If you'd like a custom design, email her here.

yoga inspired jewelry

 

#10. Yoga is a dance.

It's not meant to be rigid and it's certainly not bootcamp. There is a flow and sequence to yoga that turns it into a dance, especially once you're comfortable with the poses. Yoga has actually made me more of dancer, improving my foot coordination and making my step lighter. The crossover between yoga and dance has inspired hybrid classes like BarWorks taught at YogaWorks Studios (located in NY and CA). Taught in NYC by professional ballet dancer Courtney Helena (jumping below), BarWorks combines ballet barre fitness with stretching/stability yoga poses like downward dog, plank and lunge twists. Barre fitness classes are everywhere these days but BarWorks does a beautiful job of preserving the pace, inner focus and zen nature of yoga, more so than the rest. The barres are detachable and everyone in class gets their own. You'll even use the barre as a free weight to work your arms. You won't leave this class dripping sweat (at all) but you'll walk out tighter than you walked in. Courtney's cool Yumiko dancer-wear might rub off on you too!

barworks yogaworks dance yoga class

 

GET SKINNY YOGA GIVEAWAY:

I'm giving away a Vintage Modern Designs Yoga Bag. The designer, Jane Schneider is a yogi inspired by 60's and 70's textiles. If you can guess her favorite color, you win the bag! A winner will be picked on June 8th, 2011. Guess away and good luck!

 

Photos of Hilaria Thomas courtesy of photographer Dominic Neitz.

written by Bianca Jade a.k.a Mizzfit

Tags

workouts

Say what's on your mind!

32 comments
MizzFIT May 26th, 2011 9:40AM

By the way, the fit-goddess in the main picture for this article is Hilaria Thomas (instructor and partner at Yoga Vida NYC). You must take her class!

MizzFIT

megan hutt May 26th, 2011 10:09AM

Hey! Great article. I'm going to have to guess that Janes favorite color is purple! Fingers crossed and thanks for the chance!

Xo- Megan (pigtails)

Lizz May 26th, 2011 10:24AM

Hi!!! I am actually terrified of Yoga so this is def motivating :D

I think Jane's favorite color is Green!

Karin May 26th, 2011 10:48AM

I suppose it is... fucschia.

Flying Yogini May 26th, 2011 10:53AM

guessing that her favorite color is orange

Ilana Taxman May 26th, 2011 11:37AM

COOLIO

Shannon May 26th, 2011 1:01PM

I'm going to guess blue!

Thanks for inspiring me to to up my yoga - especially during tri training! I've kind of fallen off the vinyasa wagon lately.

MizzFIT May 26th, 2011 2:39PM

Hi Shannon,

I'm here to inspire and yoga is always waiting for you!

MizzFIT

MizzFIT May 26th, 2011 2:40PM

Great guesses ladies! Right now only Jane knows the answer and I can't wait to ask her in 2 weeks. Until then my guess is as good as yours, lol!

MizzFIT

Nik May 27th, 2011 4:18AM

I have no idea what color is Jane's favorite but her yoga bsgs are lovely. I will guess purple.

MizzFit, can you tell me more about the shorts Hilaria is wearing in the main picture. Gorgeous!

Renita May 27th, 2011 4:29AM

Interesting, I never thought about doing yoga to relieve muscle soreness from all my other high-impact workouts -- excellent tip! I'm going to try the badger rub too.

Nicola Yvette May 27th, 2011 4:41AM

Yoga Vida is a great studio. I love the space and nothing about it feels inauthentic. I have taken from Hilary and the flow is challenging and steady. This coming week I am going to stop by Shala House and Strala Yoga to mix it up a bit. Great article.

MizzFIT May 27th, 2011 8:46AM

Hi Nik,

Hilaria says this: "They are from Spain. I got them like 10 years ago. No name on them, sorry!"

MizzFIT

MizzFIT May 27th, 2011 8:48AM

Thanks Nicola,

I've never been to Shala House but Strala is great! I like Tara's and Heidi's class there. Let me know who you take class from at Strala.

MizzFIT

MizzFIT May 27th, 2011 8:49AM

Thanks Renita!

Yes, yoga is FANTASTIC for sore/tight muscle relief. In fact, I really need to go because my calves are full of knots...not good!

MizzFIT

Katelynn May 27th, 2011 11:53AM

Since someone already guessed purple, I will go with pink =o)

Nicola Yvette May 27th, 2011 1:37PM

I took class from Jenn and loved it. I am going back to try Heidi and Tara. Great article because I always forget how challenging yoga is.

Kate May 27th, 2011 2:18PM

I have taken a lot of yoga and can tell you that Hilaria is the best of the best for teaching anatomy and function while giving an all-around fantastic workout. I love how she gives individual attention to each student in every class. You can feel how much she loves teaching and how much she cares. She also has a great sense of humor and is very entertaining. Her music mixes of pop, classics, oldies, Spanish and classical are great!

Jane's favorite color is yellow.

meg May 28th, 2011 7:46AM

i'd have to guess PUPRLE!!! My favorite color too. Great post, Bianca!

MizzFIT May 28th, 2011 2:16PM

Nicola,

That's why I love yoga. It keeps me on my toes (literally and figuratively) with it's variety of challenges. And every class is really different, right?
Have a great weekend!

MizzFIT

MizzFIT May 28th, 2011 2:20PM

Hi kate,

I couldn't agree with your comment more. Hilaria really does care and she is always so very kind and sweet to all who approach her. She and I chatted for a while when I interviewed her and I was really inspired by her story. She was a competitive dancer and lived a different way of life and even looked different. She was rail thin and always had to put on a show. I believe she's made a huge change and really enjoys the lifestyle and career she's made for herself now. I think yoga has had quite an impact on her life and helped her decide to be kinder to her body. This is what she helps her students do--take inventory, check in, and appreciate what you've got. How can anyone not love that about her? Obvi I'm a fan. But I usually don't rave about someone unless they're beyond great. And Hilaria is BEYOND.

MizzFIT

MizzFIT May 28th, 2011 2:21PM

Thanks so much, Meg!

WoW May 30th, 2011 3:20AM

I want all it to myself! Heh =)

MizzFIT June 1st, 2011 12:33PM

Hey there,

What do you want all to yourself? The top 10 of yoga or the giveaway prize??? Do tell!

MizzFIT

Christa June 5th, 2011 10:32AM

I'm going to guess violet.

MizzFIT June 6th, 2011 11:12PM

Thanks for the guess, Christa. I'll be picking a winner soon!

MizzFIT

MizzFIT June 9th, 2011 9:55PM

Congrats Megan Hutt,

You were the first to guess it right! Send me your address and your prize shall arrive! You're gonna love it!

Thanks to everyone else who commented. More giveaways are a comin'. Promise!

MizzFIT

MizzFIT June 9th, 2011 9:57PM

CONGRATS TO WINNER MEGAN HUTT who was the first to guess purple, Jane's fav color.

And that's a wrap on the giveaway.

xoxo,

MizzFIT

Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat August 20th, 2011 5:53PM

I always visit your website and I really love the content. Thank you for sharing such beneficial articles!

Jodie October 3rd, 2011 2:30AM

If you want to see some amazing yoga inspired jewelry check out my friend Michelle's line: Niyama! Tell her Jodie sent you! ;)
http://www.michellemarocco.com/2011/09/the-world-of-niyama-jewelry/

Maui September 2nd, 2012 8:15PM

Yoga is great!

MizzFIT September 4th, 2012 8:47PM

It sure is! -MizzFIT

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