STEPHANIE LASPINA

Hometown:  Middle of nowhere Pennsylvania 

Favorite music artist of 2013? James Blake 

Favorite snack after yoga? In the warm weather - almond butter and banana smoothie with chocolate soy protein. In the cold weather - garlic hummus, sliced avocado and tomato on a multigrain wrap with a ton of cayenne pepper. 

If you could vacation anywhere? Skiing in the French Alps or sunbathing in Thailand. 

Favorite yoga pose? It's very rare to find a class of mine without Ardha Chandrasana. Mastering this posture did not come easy to me, but after practicing it and getting the hang of the alignment it slowly began to feel so good to open the body in such a way, and there are so many variations to play with.  

How did your first yoga class go?  I was weirded out by the 10 minutes of chanting at the start of class. I was intimidated and baffled by the 50 + year old man who seemed to be chilling in chinstand, I couldn't wrap my head around how one could get itself into such a posture and still breathe. The postures all felt so strained and difficult. But after savasana, I felt deeply connected with myself and my body felt so good. I remember sleeping so well after that first class. I was in love with the practice from day one. 

A quote you love?  "What we think, we become." Buddha

What's your favorite part of Y7? First and foremost, the emphasis on music and breath. As a student, you're given the freedom to move with your own breath, at your own pace and in your own way. Practitioners are able to connect with their bodies and the candlelit room not only adds an amazing level of ambiance, it also lets you get lost in the movement without judgement, a sense of privacy is added. The intimacy of the studio guarantees each practitioner gets special attention from the teacher so that you never get lost in a sea of yogis. I am a huge lover of the sweat factor. The temperature of the room is set to perfection. You will not feel the thick musty air of a traditional hot yoga practice, but you will be just warm enough to get deep into the postures and ensure you never leave without a broken sweat. Although, with that said, you will not be sure if you are sweating because of the warmth of the room or of the serious hard work each instructor has you putting in. The teachers here are perfectly challenging, bad ass and refreshingly down to earth.