Wouldn't it be nice to get in a great workout and feel like your getting a stress-relieving massage at the same time? Impossible, you say? Well, maybe not anymore. Skinny Mom recently had the opportunity to speak with Moksha Yoga Expert Ellen Bradley and get the skinny on Moksha yoga and how her practice not only keeps her in top fitness shape, but also keeps her life in balance and stress free.
Skinny Mom: What is Moksha Yoga all about?
Ellen: Moksha Yoga is a series of hot yoga designed to detoxify the body while lengthening and strengthening the muscles. Moksha, like any form of yoga is meant to unite the mind and body through focusing on your breath. A Moksha yoga class will give your body an amazing, challenging workout while bring a sense of calm into the mind. Often students will say they feel like they just had a full body massage while burning sometimes over 1000 calories in a class!
Skinny Mom: How did you get introduced to Moksha Yoga and how long have you been practicing?
Ellen: I was introduced to Moksha yoga while living in Toronto, Canada where it originated. I was newly married a year after college and my husband, Michael, was playing in the NBA for the Toronto Raptors. I was a collegiate athlete myself playing tennis at Villanova. After college I tried my first yoga class and then found Moksha when I moved to Toronto...that was 9 years ago!
Skinny Mom: How has your practice changed or impacted your everyday life?
Ellen: Yoga has impacted my life in so many profound ways! Yoga has made me physically stronger than I have ever been especially in my torso region and upper arms. I have truly found a deep body awareness that I never felt even with years of working out and being an athlete. Most importantly I have deeply felt a true union and connection with mind, body and spirit that goes far beyond the physical health benefits. Especially now a mom to 3 little girls ages 5, 3, and 2, I desire not only a great workout to keep me strong but a way to de-stress and find that peace within! Yoga brings balance into my life and enables me to be a better person…wife and mom!
Skinny Mom: At what point did you decide you wanted to teach?
Ellen: I decided to do the Moksha yoga training the summer after my first daughter was born. I did the training to deepen my own practice and educate myself. At the time my husband was still playing professional basketball but I knew somewhere in the future I would love to teach and share the beauty of yoga!
Skinny Mom: How did you know that you wanted to get involved in the business side of things and open your own studios?
Ellen: When I did the Moksha yoga training the summer of 2006, my husband was still playing professional basketball. I knew that one day when he retired I would love to return to Northern Kentucky where I grew up and open a hot yoga studio since there were none in the area. Intuitively, I felt that I would know when the time was right to go forward with this idea...and so in June of 2008, 1 month before my youngest daughter was born, Modo Yoga Northern Kentucky opened! Two years later in Nov 2010, Modo Yoga Cincinnati opened! (UPDATE: Additional studios have opened since the first publication of this story. Click here to learn more about them.)
Skinny Mom: What do you see as the number one benefit to practicing Moksha Yoga as a form of exercise?
Ellen: It is hard to say the number one reason to practice Moksha yoga...but I would have to say its the mind body connection! Not only do I detoxify my body through the sweat…tons of sweat...in a Moksha class, strengthen every muscle in my body, but most importantly I bring calm into my mind. Truly I leave every class feeling like I had a great workout and I feel at complete peace...free of stress and worries!
Skinny Mom: As a mother of three little girls, a wife, and business owner; how do you find time to do it all and balance everything?
Ellen: I have to honestly say that yoga gives me balance and the tools to try and be a good mom, a supportive wife, a daughter, a friend and an owner of two yoga studios! Balance is a struggle for all of us moms…there are many demands with being a mom, wife, friend, co-worker or business owner...too often we have no space in our day and time to even take a deep breath! For me, by focusing on the sound of my breath for a 60 or 75 min hot yoga class each day it brings space and peace into my mind. Although my days are filled from the time I wake up at 4:30am until I hit the bed at 10:30pm, I feel much more grounded and balanced when I do yoga. Also, I do believe that intention is a key component in how we find balance in our days...I try to keep a positive spirit and and believe everything will get done eventually. There are no good reasons to stress and get upset about things...it just creates imbalance!
Skinny Mom: What is your advice to someone who is coming to a Moksha Yoga Class for the first time?
Ellen: For first timers, come to class without any expectations and simply enjoy the experience! Know that it does take about 5 to 10 class for your body to adjust to the heated environment...be sure that your arrive well hydrated with water! Try not to eat a big meal within 3 hours of coming to class but instead have a light snack. All you will need for class is water, yoga mat, and towel or you can get all 3 at the studio!