Heidi Kristoffer is a yoga instructor who leads workshops and retreats all over the world, and is part of the management and creative team at Strala Yoga in NYC. She is a true believer that yoga cures. Lengthening and strengthening through yoga helped heal a herniated disc in Heidi's cervical spine and prevented surgery on two broken vertebrae in her lumbar spine. Stemming from her desire to use yoga as a tool to heal and strengthen the body, Heidi maintains an intense focus on core integration and alignment and believes that playfulness is vital - always balancing strength with levity. Nothing makes Heidi happier than being able to share her love of yoga and being upside down in the most fun, safe way possible. In her classes, expect to breathe, laugh and sweat!
By the way, Heidi is the resident yoga and nutrition expert for SHAPE magazine. Featured in numerous publications, Heidi is a Brand Ambassador for SOLOW Sport and also contributes to MindBodyGreen.com, where she details her quest to find the most delicious and nutritious vegan ways to fuel and re-fuel pre and post-yoga.
Name: Heidi Kristoffer
Occupation: Yoga Instructor and General Manager/ Part of the Creative Team at Strala Yoga
Favorite yoga style: Strala (Strala is a movement based system of yoga that lets people to feel into the full range of their selves)
Favorite yoga pose: Handstand!
Yoga is... Everything! Yoga means union, which means connecting: to yourself, to others, to the world. How you are on your mat is how you are off your mat. If you can figure out how to approach things that you perceive as difficult on your mat with ease, you will be able to approach any difficult situation in life with ease. A yoga practice gives us all of the tools we need to live a calm, capable, healthy and happy life.
What Do You Love Most About Yoga?
I love how yoga makes me feel. Remembering always to take deep breaths, and connecting my breath to my movements makes everything feel great. My body feels great, relaxed and full of space, and so too does my head. I also love how anyone can practice yoga. You don't need anything but yourself, and the air you breathe to have a yoga practice -that is pretty cool- it accessible to everyone!
How Has Yoga Changed Your Life, Personality and Physique?
Both physically and mentally, yoga has made me stronger. Yoga has made me feel like a much more calm and capable person. When anything in life happens, yoga has given me the tools to step back, take a breath and move forward. Body wise, accidents early in life left me with broken vertebrae in my lumbar spine and herniated discs throughout the entire spine. The core strength that I have been able to cultivate through yoga has prevented back surgery, and alleviated huge amounts of pain.
What Everyday Thing Did You Get Better At Because Of Yoga?
Breathing! Remembering to breathe. It is amazing how long deep breaths can change any situation for the better.
How Do You Keep Your Yoga Practice Interesting and Challenging?
At Strala, we encourage every one to explore every inch of themselves. If you approach yoga this way, remembering that each moment is new and different, and if you always approach your body like an experiment, your yoga practice can never not be interesting. I always try to find the ease in everything that I do, and that alone creates a much more spacious body and mind - it is incredible how much stronger and more flexible my body has gotten approaching yoga this way - nothing is ever stuck or stagnant - things just keep getting and feeling better.
What Book, Website or Person Inspires You?
Tara Stiles is the most incredible and amazing person I know. She has endless amounts of energy, generosity and strength. I have no idea how she does everything that she does and never seems tired or over-extended. Tara is never without a smile, a positive thought, or a helping hand. She reaches and helps so many people on a daily basis, it is mind blowing. Tara has taught me so much, and getting to see her in action everyday is a huge inspiration!
What Do You Listen To While You Do Yoga?
Everything! What I listen to when I practice is entirely different from what I put on my class play lists. For my personal practice, I listed to whatever makes me smile: everything from 2Pak and Flo Rida to Fun to The Bird and the Bee.
What's The Best Advice You've Ever Received?
Try moving towards the things that are happening easily for you, and away from the things that feel difficult. Not an exact quote by any means, but this advice from Tara Stiles changed my life completely, and so much for the better.
Is There Anything Else You'd Like To Share With Our Readers?
Don't forget to smile and have fun! Try turning the corners of your mouth up! It makes everything easier. Plus, it takes less muscles to smile than it does to frown :)
Other links: http://thetravelyogi.com/book-now-heidi-kristoffer/ (My next retreat!!) and of course www.stralayoga.com