As we enter into Spring and the temperature begins rise clothing becomes more optional than ever and we can't help but think of ways to achieve your perfect body! Especially because Los Angeles is a city where your typical 'seasons' are nonexistent due to the weather being pretty nice all year. However, there is such a thing as 'festival season and my friends, festival season is rapidly approaching! From trekking to the desert for Coachella to Napa Valley for BottleRock - festival season is in full effect!
What have you done to change habits and evolve into a better version of your current self? The key is to remember that keeping a healthy fitness regimen is more than working out it is all mind, body, and spirit. We spoke with Ali Johansen, Area Leader for CorePower Yoga North LA, about tips and tricks to achieving your personal fitness goals, while creating a healthy 'space' for yourself.
IdentifyLA: Yoga is said to be a 'full body' work out, how so?
Ali Johansen: A regular yoga practice increases flexibility and strength in your muscles and promotes long, lean looking muscle tone. Rather than bulking up from repetitive motion exercise, in yoga you work your full range of motion in every joint of your body and build strong and long muscles so we can do all the things we love throughout our whole life. Additionally, increased circulation from all yoga postures aids in the best function of the skin and organs. And, The meditative benefits of a complete yoga practice result in a calmer state of mind, which reduces stress and promotes happiness.
IDLA: How does CorePower differ from other yoga studios?
AJ: CorePower Yoga is easily differentiated by our powerful, unique and intense brand of mindful fitness. No one else out there works every muscle and every emotion the way we do in our studios.
IDLA: How does yoga help individuals connect with themselves?
AJ: Yoga is a moving meditation - it requires conscious breathing and attention to specific parts of your body. It's more than just the poses but also the transitions between them where a lot of the personal connection happens. How you tackle a tough pose can reveal how you approach challenges: do you stay and breathe or try to escape? Yoga isn't about getting stronger or more flexible, it's about uncovering the strength and flexibility you already have within you. When you connect to what's within you, it then becomes revealed.
IDLA: For an individual that is always on the go, can you provide tips for calming the mind to relax?
AJ: Breathe! Working on breath is not only a major component to any yoga class but it's also an indicator of your current state. When you're stressed or hurried, you'll often find your breath has become short and shallow. When on the go, work to find a few moments to consciously breathe. Try the following simple exercise, you can do it eyes closed in a quiet space or even in your car:
• Start with an exaggerated sigh. Take a deep breath in and loudly sigh it out. Allow your shoulders, chest, and jaw to let go when you release. You can do this as many times as helps relax your shoulders and face.
• Now take a breath in to a steady count of three. Soft pause at the top. Release your breath to the same steady count of three. Do this three times.
• Take a breath to a steady count of four. Soft pause at the top. Release your breath to the same count of four. Do this four times.
• Catch the pattern? Do this again to a count of five, five times. Finally take it to a count of six, six times.
• Don't worry if you lose count of what breath you're on! You can start over or take one more before moving to the next pace!
IDLA: Biggest mistake people make during weight loss journey?
AJ: The biggest mistake people can make is that they lose focus on their overall health and well being. I encourage students to view their path holistically and not sacrifice any area of wellness, including peace of mind. Sometimes our goals can begin to create more stress which can work against you. Health is a journey and a lifetime goal, set yourself up for habits that will have a long-lasting positive impact. Like a yoga practice! Whatever your fitness goals, it is important to ensure you are taking care of yourself both physically and mentally.
IDLA: Tips for achieving weight loss goals.
AJ: Depending on your personal goals, it's crucial to always live a well balanced and healthy life. A regular yoga practice supports a variety of personal fitness goals because it's about mind body connection. When you spend time on the mat, you're focused internally: your breath, state of mind, and body work. By developing a stronger connection to yourself, you'll be surprised how naturally your habits shift towards healthier choices. Instead of focusing on what I am taking out of my life, I try and focus on what I'm adding in: nourishing foods, self-care, and positive results. This helps the journey feel more enriching rather than a sense of lack.
IDLA: Coachella is coming up, tips for achieving that 'perfect Coachella bod.’
AJ: As a multi-day festival in the desert, the perfect Coachella bod is one that's well-hydrated! Body perfection is celebrating how strong and capable each of us is no matter size or shape. The dynamic movement of a yoga class connects us to our power and overall confidence and that's where beauty really shines. Coachella is an incredible celebration of so many unique artists so every bod there should be just as celebrated for its uniqueness and design. If you've got a body, it's a perfect one.