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Happy International Yoga Day runners!

by Press Release
Wednesday 21st June 2017
Tags  Yoga   |   Animal   |   Philly Lewis
On International Yoga Day we get some top tips from Animal Ambassador Philly Lewis. Because let’s face it, all us runners need to stretch more. 
How important is having the right kit for any fitness activity?
Really important, the kit needs to be able to perform for what ever activity you’re doing, yoga, running etc. so you can perform at your best and enjoy it at the same time—without having to worry about adjusting your kit or kit rubbing. You need to be able to move comfortably!
How important is it to invest in the right sports bra for your body type?
I think a sports bra is probably the one thing you need to fit right, without a good fit, you'll be adjusting every time you move! The Animal Lea Felix sports bra top has really great adjustable multiway straps, which means it sticks in the right places.
What are your yoga kit essentials?
A yoga mat, the Eyelyn Ocean legging and Rebel Twist vest. The great thing about yoga is that, aside from your awesome yoga gear, you don't actually need that much, just yourself, a mat and maybe a good playlist! I love the colours Animal uses across its activewear range. I think the bright shades give you that burst of energy you need for a work out! It helps bring some fun and positivity to your fitness regime. 
What changes might you see to your body after taking up yoga?
An increase in strength, flexibility and a more toned body. It's also really important to find your mind-body connection and to bring awareness into your movement, body and everyday life. That way we can start to find happiness in all things and make better life choices. 
What are the main differences you notice in a day where you haven’t started by doing yoga to a day you have?
If I don't practice, I get very distracted and unconnected. I find it hard to concentrate which makes me really unproductive, I'm also very unaware in what I'm doing, I tend to 'switch off'. That usually means I eat pretty bad, get stressed, lazy and frustrated over little things. If I practice I generally have a more positive day; I'm aware, I feel light, focused, happy, energized. I'm way more productive, I make good choices that day, I feel healthy in my body and I smile more! 
What changes might you feel after taking up yoga?
Yoga is an incredible practice as it can really bring a positive change to your life. You generally feel happier, lighter, less stressed, healthier, more confident, more focused, more connected to people around you, more calm, more peaceful. It's not just about your yoga workout but also about how you bring everything you learn on the mat into your everyday life. Practicing kindness, compassion, surrender. All things that will help you live a happier life. As well as all of that, you can feel stronger and burn calories.
Why has yoga become so popular?
For all the reasons above! 
Are there any new yoga trends on the horizon?
Hot yoga is really popular at the moment, as well as aerial yoga. There's so many new classes popping up, hip hop yoga, piyo, it's great!
How often should someone practice yoga to see the benefits?
I try to practice a little every day, sometimes that's an hour flow class, or sometimes it's just 10 minutes of slow stretching before bed. It's important not to get caught up in 'how often you should do yoga' and focus more on what your body needs and how you can serve yourself best today. As long as you are practicing mind-body connection everyday then it doesn't matter how much you do or don't do. Once a week can really benefit some people, and every day can benefit others, whatever works best for you. 
Why do you think so many of us opt for high intensity ‘sweaty’ workouts over low intensity classes?
When we do high intensity workouts we sweat a lot, raise our heart rate and release endorphins that make us feel good. When we do low intensity workouts we don't release as much and don't have that amazing feeling when we leave a class. I also think for a lot of people, we are always working against time, we have busy jobs, busy social life and only have 40 minutes to work out in a day, so naturally, we feel like we need to get as much as we can out of that 40 minutes with high intensity. It's probably those people who actually need to slow down and find some calm in a low intensity class. But it's also important to know that yoga is definitely not low intensity. It's low intensity on the joints and body, but if you pick the right class you'll be sweating more than you ever have before. Or try hot yoga! 
What are the health benefits of doing yoga outdoors?
Being in nature! We are a part of nature and it's a natural thing to be outside. We have strangely put ourselves in concrete buildings and we have nothing to connect with. It can re-energise you, feeling all the energy swirling around in the world, it can increase your awareness and allow you to feel calm knowing you are as much a part of the earth as the trees, the ocean and everything else living on it. 
What is the best thing about working out in the great outdoors?
Finding your connection and experiencing the magic of nature!
What changes have you noticed to attitudes around health and fitness in the time you’ve been teaching yoga?
It's definitely increased crazy amounts, which is amazing. There's such a positive aura around being healthy and fit and it's sort of fashionable to be at the gym, or running or at a yoga class which is incredible. We all need to move more. But like with any fashionable trend, there's also a lot more obsession over being fit and healthy. It's really important to find what suits you and not to get obsessed, but live a happy life. It doesn't mean you have to workout every day. I think that's why yoga is so great, because it teaches us to find balance and not to focus on the materialistic things like having a perfect body. That being said, there's now a lot of yoga around promoting the wrong attitude, which really damages people's perception of yoga. Don't ever feel like there is a perfect body...there is only a healthy body and mind.  
Do you prefer working out individually or as part of a group? And aside from the obvious, what are the main differences?
I love both. I love going to a class because the energy of everyone else gives me more energy and there's always such a positive feel to classes. It also allows me to switch off and leave my day behind, as I have someone else telling me what to do. I love working out by myself because it gives me some time to reflect when life has been buzzing away, it's like a pause button. 
How much planning goes into your fitness regime?
None! I wake up, I do yoga in the morning or I go to an evening class, if the waves are good I'll surf. If I feel like running, I'll go running. I really just go with what I'm feeling on the day! My only plan is to dedicate at least an hour everyday to move a little or a lot. 
What differences do you notice when you workout after not eating right, compared with after a healthy meal?
You are what you eat. Eating processed foods and sugars will just turn your mind and body to mush. If I eat too much of them, I feel lethargic, bloated, un-energized, unfocused and it often makes me skip a workout or working out is really hard work, I feel weak and headachy. Eating organic veg, fruit and grains will turn your body into a temple! It will give you more energy, more focus, more strength. If your body is in its best working order, your workouts will be the best they can be. Usually, my workouts last a lot longer and are a lot more beneficial when I've been feeding my body with the good stuff. 
Do you ever restrict your diet to certain foods?
I like to have the same outlook on my diet as I have on my workouts. I listen to my body and I choose to eat what it needs. It's important to have a balanced diet and have a little bit of everything. I'm vegetarian so I don't eat meat, sometimes if I feel lethargic and slow I'll cut out wheat for a few days. If I feel up and down, I'll cut out sugars. If I feel weak, I'll eat lots of leafy greens full of iron. Apart from meat, there is no restriction to my diet, if I want a pizza, I'll eat a pizza!
What is the best way to go about setting goals when it comes to timing and how achievable they are?
Schedule some time in every day, write it down, block off your calendar and figure out how best to spend that time. Set your goal, but don't be disheartened if you don't reach it. It's all about the journey and the progress you make along the way. 
What fit kit can you not live without?
Yoga leggings. I love the Eyelyn Ocean leggings by Animal.

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