We caught up with model Lily Kwong, center, and Yoga for Bad People founders Heather Lilleston, left, and Katelin Sisson on a recent yoga retreat in the tropics. The friends discussed their love of the practice, New Year’s resolutions and tips for staying in shape while traveling (including some airport-friendly ideas).
Lily Kwong: Growing your energy and your happiness. Wellness isn’t a number on a scale; it’s how you feel mentally, spiritually and physically.
Heather Lilleston: Learning to love yourself, listening to your intuition and making time for spontaneity and play.
Katelin Sisson: A knowledge and practice of what is balanced and satisfactory for yourself, including physical and mental wellbeing. (It can’t be assumed that it’s the same for everyone.)
When it comes to healthy living, always remember…
LK: Everything in moderation, including moderation.
HL: Consistency and balance are the most important. Every little effort counts, and makes the next effort easier. Use fitness mediums that complement each other. Never go too extreme in any regimen or diet.
KS: Balance is everything. It’s not healthy if it’s stressing you out.
Favorite fitness activity growing up…
LK: Softball and volleyball. I was on competitive tournament teams that traveled all around California, and some of my teammates have grown into my closest friends.
HL: Dancing in front of the mirror, running on Mount Tamalpais, California, near my hometown (nothing better than a good trail run) and spending hours at the beach.
KS: Soccer. Horseback riding. Long runs with my dad. Beach, beach, beach.
And favorite exercise routines now…
LK: Yoga and boxing. I box with my trainer, Marc Gordon, and it’s insane how quickly it makes an impact!
HL: A combination of yoga, the genius creation called The Class with Taryn Toomey and occasionally a 30-minute run before a 20-minute yoga session. The balance is key.
KS: Tennis! I’m currently obsessed with tennis. Long runs followed by 20 minutes of yoga. Jump rope, weights, TRX — repeat. Also crunches — they’re no one’s favorite, but they work. If possible I like to mix any of these up into a week. This keeps things interesting and balanced. Your body will likely respond much better in form and avoid injury by mixing it up. Incorporate strength-building elements, endurance training, stretching, fast-twitch movements and resistance training.
I started yoga because…
LK: I’m a really physical person, so I used yoga as an entry point into a more focused meditation practice. Yoga does more than strengthen your body; it creates more mindfulness and positive energy in my life.
HL: Growing up in California, I was closely connected to nature. I could watch the sunset, take a walk, play in the garden or ride my bike for hours. When I moved to NYC, I didn’t have those outlets anymore. The yoga studio was right down the street. The room was bright, the teachers were radical, environmental and political activists (perfect for a college-age mind) and they played uplifting music from around the world. Practicing yoga gave me that same feeling I used to have from being in nature.
KS: I started in 2005 as a result of severely overtraining for a marathon. My friends encouraged me towards the practice for rehabilitation purposes. If I really think about it though, I have to credit my Nana for my first taste of yoga. If I spent the night at my grandparents’ house, my Nana would invite me to join her in her “morning stretches and prayers,” a.k.a. yoga and meditation. This is something I will never forget.
My motivation mantra…
LK: “Tough as nails!” — attributable to softball legend and ultimate coach, Don Sanders.
HL: No effort is ever wasted.
KS: Keep it moving.
My fitness tips for travelers…
LK: Go on a run! I studied Urban Planning and love new cities. I’ve found the best way to explore a foreign place is on foot. You get to see everyday life at a different pace; in a car, amazing details and unique interactions just fly right by you. And Vitamin D is a great remedy for jet-lag.
HL: Always travel with probiotics and take them prior to getting on the airplane. Drink a ton of water, and be shameless and stretch in the airport. This idea of being proper and sitting in a chair while you wait for your flight tapping on your cell phone is nonsense. If stretching is too embarrassing, then walk around the airport near your gate.
KS: If at all possible, get a workout in pre-flight (even mild). Post-flight, be sure to get everything moving as soon as possible. It may be hard to be motivated to do anything too strenuous and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be intense. Just get the blood and energy flowing again. Walk briskly to the luggage claim or exit. Do some calf raises while you wait for your luggage or taxi. For me, I also know I need at least 10 minutes of laying on the floor with my legs up a wall after even the shortest of flights.
Favorite healthy snacks/drinks…
LK: Rishi Organic Matcha, Juice Press’ Gravity green juice, raw almonds and mulberries.
HL: Mother Earth from Juice Press. Dried pineapples. Avocado with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little nutritional yeast.
KS: Juice Press’ OMG! and Love Me juices. My baby is obsessed with berries so I snack with her.
My workout playlist includes…
LK: Podcasts! I love listening to Marc Maron’s WTF, TED radio hour or This American Life at the gym — you’ll often find me laughing or crying on the elliptical at Equinox listening to some incredible story or interview.
HL: “Changes” by Faul & Wad Ad vs Pnau, “679” by Fetty Wap and “Huldra” by Gidge.
KS: “Huldra” by Gidge, “Special Affair” by The Internet, “Looped” by Kiasmos, “State of the Art (AEIOU)” by My Morning Jacket and “Chamber of Reflection” by Mac DeMarco.
My 2016 resolutions include…
LK: Spend more time outdoors: hiking, swimming and planting gardens.
HL: To bring more joy and play into my routine. To chew my food thoroughly. To wake up earlier. To plant a garden.
KS: Work hard to help others find their balanced and maintainable fitness routine. I know this will keep me on track with my own.