A whole lot of real talk from our favorite (funny) Hollywood star.
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I’m a high energy individual. My days are often spent packing as much as humanly possible into every hour. I have many passions, interests, commitments, and ideas that keep me in a perpetual state of striving, accomplishing, doing—and for most of my life, I have dealt with stress by doing more.
Many years ago when I suffered a sports-induced injury, I lost my primary coping mechanism of exercise. Suddenly, I could not do the physical activity that my system had learned to rely on to be well. That’s when I turned to meditation, a coping skill that requires no action, no activity, and no doing. As I began to sit in silence regularly, I realized I was learning to just be. Over time, I have continued to learn that practicing the art of “being” allows me to maintain the high energy and multi-passionate parts of myself without feeling frantic or overwhelmed.
As a Holistic Psychologist, here are my two guiding mantras for embracing the “power of the pause.”
After years of meditation practice, I still have to intentionally remind myself to do less and simply just be. For example, I recently had a meeting canceled last-minute, which opened up a full hour in my day. My mind immediately went to all the emails I’d be able to respond to.
When I took a breath to listen to my body, I realized I felt frazzled by running from one thing to the next. I put my devices away and sat in a park for a full hour—thinking, reflecting, breathing, people watching, and just being. I noticed a sense of calm flow through my body, a sense of thankfulness fill my heart, and a feeling of contentment wash over me. Listening to my own internal need to do less is what propels me to carry on with my day in my usual upbeat and high-energy manner.
When we create space to be, our nervous system calms. When our nervous system is relaxed, our body and brain function better. Therefore, somewhat ironically, the best thing we can do for our productivity and our drive is to take a break—hit pause, slow down, breathe. I teach clients how to pause, since both mental and physical health depends on restful moments.
Science shows that continually being in a state of activity causes stress at a cellular level. Our systems need to decompress and rejuvenate to prevent disease, illness and to thrive. So the question is: to be or to do. My answer is both. I will always love being active and doing, and over time I’ve come to know the deep value in learning the skill of just being.
With doing as my default, practicing the importance of being is an ongoing journey for me. It’s also a skill I feel passionate about sharing with others, as we can all benefit from being given the permission to just be. So, the next time you feel like you “should do something,” remind yourself that taking the time to be is positively fueling your entire system—mind and body.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.