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Colorado is home to an amazing (and inspiring) yoga phenom—better known as Big Booty Yoga. The driving force behind this movement? Kady Lafferty, who was recently named one of the 35 Under 35 in Wellness to Watch by Wanderlust. On a mission to show people that yoga is for everyBODY, Kady is taking it on herself to make sure all who practice know alternative poses and language to make yoga feel more inclusive.
I recently met up with Kady during her first class at Bulldog Yoga in Boulder, CO. Kady often teaches musically themed flows, and this one ended up being one of my favorites: Namasbey. That’s right you guessed it! A whole yoga class taught to Beyonce’s greatest hits. After savasana, we headed around the corner to Eureka! on Pearl Street for good food and great conversation. Kady is extremely personable and hands-on—maybe the opposite of the soft-spoken, ethereal yoga teacher that many of us may have experienced. She laughs wholeheartedly, holds eye contact, doesn’t shy away from curse words, and creates a safe space for you too to share some of your biggest insecurities about yourself or your yoga practice.
Over crispy glazed Brussel sprouts and cauliflower bites, Kady tells me a little of what she has on the horizon. This summer, Kady will be making her Wanderlust debut at Denver’s Wanderlust 108. A two-day Denver event that draws in a big yogi crowd from across the globe, Wanderlust 108 is an epic experience. Kady is no stranger to large-scale yoga flows that bring out the masses—she’s led a practice at Red Rocks! Infectiously enthusiastic at the honor of joining such an influential yoga festival, she talks positively of the work Wanderlust has been doing to be more inclusive to all types of bodies.
Next month, Kady, and her business partner Sami Mattei, will see their dream come true in the shape of their Yoga Alliance-approved yoga teacher training for accessible and inclusive yoga, better known as Embrace. Embody. Empower. This training is beneficial for all yoga teachers as it focuses on how to better serve different communities of people, all types of bodies, and (dis)abilities.
After our post-yoga snacks and conversation, I’ve become even more inspired by her spirit. We head into Old Tibet, a shop on Pearl St., where Kady is looking for a gift to give to one of her very own teachers, co-worker, and friend, Katy Rowe. Moving around the store with ease and respect, Kady chats up the shop’s owner and makes a connection, having found out she recently collaborated with the owner’s niece on a mala making workshop. While watching this interaction, I am reminded: This is Kady.
Everything she touches is infused with this mission: to make everyone feel at home in their bodies. To teach people how to access their breath in these times we live in. She lifts them up and leaves nobody behind. Kady is building community through Big Booty Yoga, where everyone is welcome.
Want to find your flow with Kady? Check out one of her classes on MINDBODY at The River Yoga in Denver. You can also learn more about Big Booty Yoga on their Instagram or visit https://bigbootyyoga.com/.
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.