Fashion & Fitness: Camyoga (Wolford Body, MICHI NY Leggings)

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Wolford-bodysuit

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Wolford-bodysuit-MichiNY-CamYoga-1I am a true believer that if you love fashion, this sentiment will enter into all aspects of your wardrobe, be it outerwear, underwear, or accessories.  Even fitness wear – I find that the right workout gear can motivate me to get moving, get to my class on time and get me ready for action before I’ve even started.

Here in my new hometown of Cambridge, UK, I’ve signed up with Camyoga to work on my strength and flexibility.  Boasting three yoga studios, a delightful cafe bar and a vibrant community of yoga, pilates and ballet enthusiasts, I’ve been inspired to (re)start Barre Fitness, which I am attending twice a week.  Barre Fitness brings together the best elements of ballet, pilates, sports conditioning and stretching in a one hour full body workout. The moves are fairly low impact but high intensity intervals of strength training followed immediately by deep recovery stretching. More about this method of exercise in my second Fashion & Fitness post (to come…!)

So, I caught up with Rachel Blyth at the studios for a chat about the minefield of different yoga types and the benefits of these, as well as more on the Camyoga philosophy:

I’ve been a member of Camyoga for just a few weeks and I already feel so welcome there. Tell me about the Camyoga community and how it began…

After several years teaching yoga and training yoga teachers in venues around Cambridge, Camyoga’s founder Louise Palmer Masterton recognised that there was a real need for a dedicated yoga centre in the area. Never shy of a challenge, Louise embarked on this rather ambitious project and Camyoga’s first studio opened its doors in Central Cambridge in 2010. The centre was the first of its kind in Cambridge and really tapped into the needs of the city’s population. So much so, that we opened Camyoga Shelford just two years later! We now have both a lively urban centre and our flagship teacher training studio in the tranquil surroundings of South Cambridge…two diverse and state-of-the-art venues.

What are the benefits of yoga?

Wow, where to begin?! A regular yoga practice can have profound benefits, on both body and mind. Physically, you will start to feel more mobile, with a greater range of movement and a certain “comfortableness” that comes from releasing tension.  Breathwork is key to yoga, and learning how to breathe fully can be a life-changer! You’ll gain a whole new tool for increasing your energy and vitality, or calming down when you need to. Depending on the style of yoga practice, yoga can be a full-on cardio workout, or a nourishing, rejuvenating nerve soother. Mentally, regular practitioners report feeling more relaxed, more connected to the present moment, more “in control” of their lives and thoughts, with less mental “chatter”. All this means yoga is brilliant for managing stress and supporting the immune system.

So many different styles of yoga exist.  Can you give a brief overview of the main ones so beginners (like me!) understand which class to choose based on fitness goals and aims?

Yes we have over 60 classes a week in a whole range of styles, so it can be a little tricky to know where to start! Our classic Yoga Open classes are a great starting point. The best advice is to try a few classes to find out which teachers resonate with you. The same style, taught by different teachers, can offer a very different experience indeed. If you’re looking for an energetic practice which will help you to tone up, get fit and possibly even lose weight, then classes such as Hot Yoga and Hot Power Yoga are for you. If you don’t like the heat but do want to keep things dynamic then Yoga Flow is a beautiful, almost dance-like practice. If you need to rest, renew and nourish yourself then Restorative Yoga or Yin Yoga are great starting points. If you love philosophy, chanting and the history of yoga then Jivamukti is a very integrated practice, whilst Forrest Yoga is a strong, healing practice which emphasises the breath and being fully present to the sensations unfolding in your body. So, there are a few styles to get you heading in the right direction! If you’re still not sure, give us a call or email Izzy our Yoga Advisor  - izzy@camyoga.co.uk. She’s super friendly and really great at matching the right style of yoga to the individuals’ needs!

Camyoga really emphasises the mind-body connection.  What are the benefits of Mindfulness, which seems to be a unique addition to your programme?

Mindfulness has been subject to over 600 scientific research reports, which reveal a really wide range of benefits. Above all, mindfulness is a very simple practice which can be built into your daily life. It can give you the tools to cultivate a high level of attention, to move from being reactive to considered in all of your responses, and to recognise the tricks that our minds can play on us; those tricks which increase stress and anxiety.

How often should you practice yoga?

Ah, well at Camyoga we have a handy saying – Once a week? Good. Twice a week? Great. Three times a week? Amazing! There are no hard and fast rules but when you start to fit a little yoga into your schedule, you’ll find yourself wanting to do more and more naturally. And the more, the better, really!

What should I wear to my first yoga class?

Comfort is paramount, and a little stretchiness always helps too. We’d recommend leggings or jogging bottoms and a tee or tank top. Shorts are fine too, especially for hot practices!

I also love running and pilates. Are some forms of exercise more compatible with yoga than others?

Yoga supports and complements all sports, and can be tailored to suit the individual’s needs. Some of the benefits of sports specific yoga include injury prevention, improved flexibility and movement efficiency, improved breathing and improved awareness. To find out more we’d really recommend An Introduction to Yoga for Sports People, a 2 day course with expert Hayley Winter, later this month. Click HERE to read more.

What are you waiting for, Blog Reader? Get moving!

Photos: Taken by Beth Morton, on location at Camyoga studios. With thanks to Rachel, Chris and Izzy.

Wearing: Michi NY leggings. Bodysuit: Wolford.

Thanks also to A Girl A Style for the yoga studio recommendation!

Let’s Get Physical: MICHI Fall Collection 2012

I find it difficult to keep fit whilst I am traveling, Blog Reader, so back in England this weekend I turned to the outdoor-gym-of-Lincolnshire. I took a little run around the villages close to where I grew up, dressing in my favourite work out gear, MICHI.  Designer Michelle Watson just released her fall collection for 2012 and as usual I am in love with all of it.

Watson took inspiration from the mysterious underwater world: the unstoppable forces of the deep ocean meeting with serene and natural beauty.  Michelle explained, “Sinuous mesh insertions in contrasting fabrics and textures mirror the undulating oceanic waves and blend with sensual boudoir overtones to flatter the female form and create length.”

I am excited about the new layering pieces in the fall collection.  Long sleeved tops, sweatshirts and tank tops can be worn with the statement bras and leggings both in the gym and on the street.  New colours have also been introduced, including mustard and crimson.

I asked Michelle about her favourites from the new range:

1) The Medusa Leggings in black soft stretch denim because of the sinuous mesh inserts and mixed material mesh. They lengthen, flatter any body shape and are subtly sexy. Great for the gym and even better to dress up for the evening.
2) The Medusa Bra, which has a very clean front with small flattering details such as the center front cut-out triangle. The back is designed to be exposed by layering with a low back or sheer shirt. This bra creates a beautiful silhouette under a sheer or backless top.
3) The Abyss Top is an easy long sleeve layering top made with a buttery, super-soft Italian cotton fabric. The waist, back and shoulder mesh inserts are very flattering and slimming. They give the illusion of a nipped in waist and dress up any work-out outfit.
4) The new french terry sweatsuits (Aurora Sweatshirt, Jacket and Hoodie, and Frontier Sweatpant): MICHI now offers a sweatshirt, sweatpant, hoodie and varsity jacket. They’re perfect to wear to and from the gym, whilst travelling, for lounging and leisure and when you want to feel warm and comfortable but still want to feel polished and put together.
5) The Pipeline Legging is for the customer that wants minimal skin exposed but still wants a chic boudoir look, with an ‘X’ lattice down the side of the leg. A very durable and functional legging for the gym, but very easy to dress up for the evening.

Time to let me hear your body talk*, Blog Reader.

To view the entire Lookbook for MICHI Fall 2012 click here.

*Thank you, Olivia Newton John.