Tell us about your favorite yoga outfit. What do you love about it?
My all time favorite yoga outfit is the copper ring supplex cami tank and supplex straight leg capri by FILA. The fabric is so comfortable; yet still supportive. The tanks always come out in beautiful colors (I have one in each!) and I love wearing them on air for when I work at HSN. They are feminine and classic and they still do the job when I'm exercising. The black capri pants make my legs look good and are the perfect length for me in my yoga and Pilates class. They are just the best staple pant to have.
You're not just a yoga teacher--you're also a Pilates and fitness instructor. How does Pilates fit in with your yoga practice? Does one inform the other?
I certified to teach Pilates after teaching yoga for a while at the gyms and health clubs--where they kept asking me to sub Pilates classes (not knowing the difference!). I started taking classes and fell in love with Pilates, it as a great compliment to my yoga practice. I really like teaching both disciplines. They are different in many ways so it is good cross training for my body and my students. I find concentrating on my core and powerhouse in Pilates reminds me to keep it strong when practicing yoga. Sometimes doing ab work in Pilates I forget to breath so using my yoga breath and flow when I'm teaching Pilates helps me not get too rigid. The flexibility and mind/body connection from both methods is really great. I am a gym girl and I love all forms of exercise I think it's great to keep informing my yoga and Pilates with as much as I can.
What's your secret to keeping calm amidst all the chaos of city living, busy schedules, and never-ending to-do lists?
I just really try and give myself a chill day. Before I got married to my awesome husband, Tim, I'd often work Monday-Sunday it seems there is always something to do and I could see clients or teach classes all week long. I could also teach until 8 or 9pm then have a 6am the next day! Tim has really helped me slow down and take a day off on the weekends. We might go for a bike ride or to a museum or see a play or musical. Or we might take a hike or a day trips to the beach, botanical gardens, Central park, etc. I've also learned to be kinder to myself and not over do. I like waking up early and seeing my clients and doing my classes. But I realized that at night I'd rather be home with a good book or have a nice meal and glass of wine or see my friends and husband.
I am using the balance that we often refer to so much in yoga and incorporating it more in to my daily life. It is really important to find a nice rhythm between work and play, and yet it's an ongoing journey. There are times when I just have to put in my dues and have many projects going on, and I work my butt off. Then, I go out to Idaho and force myself to take a week off ,and be in the outdoors with my amazing family. I'm so lucky I have that outlet!
What's your favorite pose at the moment? What are you learning from it?
I think my favorite pose right now is Hanumanasana, splits. I've always loved headstand--I could do it right away and it feels awesome being upside down. I always hated the splits, I could never do them as a kid, I was super inflexible and it is one of those poses that I always felt so far from accomplishing. Yet, this summer while practicing Hanumanasana, I really decided to just relax and not worry about getting in to the full posture; and I'm actually finally able to feel really good on both sides. I've noticed the skill it takes to stay centered and not get too caught up in the front leg but to really sit back a little and open up the front of my back thigh. Now I'm able to melt down in to the floor and not freak out about shoving my front leg hamstring open and to the ground.
I've been practicing now for over 17 years, and my body is opening up now in places I thought I might never have the range of motion. It is a true testament to the practice to see that if you keep breathing and keep exploring the postures and your body and the alignment, you really can go further than you ever thought possible. Yoga isn't a sprint, it's a marathon.
Things change and move at glacier speed, not lightning speed. But that's great! Anything worth doing takes time and doing splits right now has helped me realize that patience and perseverance really do pay off.
Tell us what inspires you so we can be inspired, too?
Children inspire me. Seeing the little girls I teach or watching my little nephews play and explore and giggle and have fun and be curious about life, that is really touching. Old people inspire me as well, learning from their wisdom and experience of life. The mountains inspire me, I love being home in Idaho and skiing or hiking and just looking at the unbelievable expansive beauty of the mountain ranges. Rivers, oceans, lakes, streams, forests anything outdoors makes me happy and inspired.
My yoga and Pilates practice and really good yoga/Pilates classes and teachers inspire me. Great teachers of anything really inspire me--I love to learn. Music definitely, I can't imagine my life with out songs or singing. When I hear an awesome lyricist like James Taylor sing or hear my dad play the piano, or go to an incredible musical in NYC and can't stop tapping my feet--that is inspiring. Art, great novels, new inventions, traveling to new places, all inspirational.
The Big Apple--thus the reason I moved here, it's one big playground of inspiration. I can't walk down the street without being inspired every day. My students and clients inspire me and remind me to keep doing what I'm doing and to be the best teacher I can be and continue to come up with creative new ideas in my teaching and practice. I see them progress and stay consistent with their practice, and I feel so very grateful. My husband and family make me want to be a better person every day I'm alive, and they support and inspire me in new ways every day.
Visit Kristin's website www.kristinmcgee.com.