We are excited to introduce our new DanaLouFIT Ambassador Cristina Rivera. Please read about her journey through yoga, her passion for traveling and her exciting new jewelry line! We are so pumped to have her as a part of the DanaLouFIT team.
When did you start your yoga practice?
I did Kundalini for the very first time in college, my senior year. I loved it and went every single Friday to de-stress at the end of a week while working on my senior thesis. But once I graduated, life got in the way and I forgot about yoga for quite some time. It wasn’t until about three and a half years ago that I read about free hatha classes at the New York Public Library; I checked one out and rediscovered my love of the practice. I’ve been doing it regularly since.
How has your yoga practice shaped your life?
Where to begin! At the risk of sounding trite, it’s made me a better person all around. More accepting, less judgmental. Probably most importantly, much better at going with the flow. Things don’t affect me the way they used to. I honestly feel like my heart rate has slowed down, as has the aging process. If that’s not a ringing endorsement for yoga, I don’t’ know what is. I operate on a more even keel and generally just feel healthier in body, mind, and spirit. I tell everyone I know: yoga is a gamechanger.
You have said that you love to travel! Where is the coolest place you have been?
I’d say it’s a tie between Cape Town, South Africa and Israel. Both are just such a delight for the senses. Beautiful places inhabited by beautiful people. Both are also major cities right on the water, which I love. The prospect of being able to hit the beach for an hour after work (perhaps to practice yoga!) is so appealing to me. Also, the food in Israel specifically is incredible. Since becoming really serious about yoga I’ve also gone vegetarian (ok if I’m being honest pescatarian is more accurate), and the options in Israel are endless. I’d go back for the hummus alone.
What type of traveler are you? Spontaneous or planner?
It depends where I’m going, with whom, for how long…so several factors, of course. But in general I subscribe to the notion of moderation being key in literally every aspect of life (I’m a libra!),and this applies to travel, too. So I like to have a loose itinerary, since basically anywhere I go has spots that I know I need to see. But I’m not someone who plans out every moment of her day. I love to wander and see where I end up. That’s where the magic in travel really happens, in my opinion.
You are launching a new jewelry line? Can you tell us a little bit about it and how you came to the decision to create this line?
I am! It’s in the very beginning stages. Right now the line is just necklaces, but my hope is to design some bracelets soon. The necklaces are a metal disk with a stick figure of a yoga pose etched on one side, and a corresponding phrase about the pose on the other. So for example, a stick figure in easy pose with the words “breathe easy” on the back. The first piece I ever made was for myself:the idea was for the necklace to serve as a reminder of my practice…for me personally, if I’m feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed I’ll look down and see my breathe easy necklace and think, that’s right! All I have to do is breeeathe. My hope is that anyone who purchases a necklace feels the same. To check out Cristina's amazing jewelry line you can visit her website at http://accordingtocristina.com/shop/
What's your favorite DanaLouFIT garment and why?
I love the reversible sports bra! The pattern (on either side!) is so fun and colorful. And the crisscross pattern on the back is sexy. Not that I’m thinking about being sexy when I'm doing yoga, but it’s an added bonus. I love the leggings too- particularly the fact that they’re so high-waisted.
We are excited to introduce you to our strong and fabulous DanaLouFIT Ambassador Amy Chatfield. Learn about her badass journey through Crossfit and Powerlifting.
1. How long have you been Powerlifting?
I began Powerlifting around 4-5 years ago, not long after I began Crossfit.
2. How did you get interested in Powerlifting?
I had been been Crossfitting for around 6 months when it was recommended I try a Powerlifting cycle to get stronger. I enjoyed following the program and soon after signed up for my first Powerlifting meet. I was hooked.
3. How do you prepare for Powerlifting Competitions? Can you give us an idea of what happens at a Powerlifting Competition and how it’s judged and what prizes you receivefor winning a competition?
I incorporate Powerlifting sessions, split up into one day bench, and day squat, and one deadlifting, pretty much year round. I strength train before any wods. But when heading into a specific competition I follow a stricter 12 week meet prep cycle.
In a powerlifting competition you get 3 attempts at each lift; first squat, then bench, then deadlift. All on a platform with 3 judges looking for specific requirements to make it a good lift. Such as proper depth in the squat or a pause and following commands on bench. Two of the three judges must give the white light for a good lift.
Prizes include medals, state and national records, and sometimes cash!
4. You are also very active in Cross Fit. Do you think that Cross Fit and Powerlifting are complimentary workouts?
Absolutely! I have found I am at my best physical shape when I mix the two programs. Powerlifting based lifting cycles increase my raw strength, which translates to an easier time moving the barbell in Crossfit workouts!
5. What have you found to be the biggest benefits in being active in Cross Fit and Powerlifting?
I love feeling strong! It can greatly increase ones confidence and self esteem, especially in women and young girls! Following Crossfit and Powerlifting programs and seeing yourself achieve goals you set for yourself is empowering and that mindset spills over into the rest of your life.
6. What is your Favorite DanaLouFIT Gear and what do you love about it?
I have a few favorites! I'm a big fan of the sweaty shorts to get through hot wods in the summer and her new impact bras are supportive, comfortable, and beautiful both in the gym and out.
We are excited to tell you about the launch of our Tribal Series Project coming this December. We have been working throughout the year to create, partner and launch this series. As a company, we are always trying to find ways to give back to communities that have impacted us in some way.
This year we decided to support a Refugee Community here in America, specifically the Karen Refugees who are originally from Burma. This idea came to us from my experience of working with Karen Hilltribe Weavers while living in Thailand. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to weave on a bamboo loom with a local Karen weaver named Pi Da. It was a very special experience and this type of weaving is its own special art form. We are very excited to share a version of this art form with our customers, and in the process, give back to the people who created it.
If you are interested to learn more about what is happening with Refugees from Burma, please check out one of the resources below to get a better understanding.
When we decided to move forward with this project we wanted to find a nonprofit organization that worked specifically with the Karen Hilltribe Refugees. We were very lucky to be introduced to Project Worthmore out of Aurora Colorado. Please read their mission statement below to learn more about what they do and how they help Refugees in Colorado. Also, check out their website at projectworthmore.org. Our hope is you will be inspired to get involved with PMW in some way.
"We are working to restore worth to our refugee neighbors through the heart of our community. Every family we serve has a unique story, a steadfast courage, and a resilience to survive and rebuild their lives here in Colorado. We provide programs like free, dynamic English classes, the Yu Meh Food Share Program, and our family partners and navigators to help foster community, self-sufficiency and increase quality of life among Denver- area refugees. We serve families and individuals from Burma, Nepal, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Ethiopia."
Here is an insider’s view of how DanaLouFIT started this project from the beginning to the end. First, it started off with Dana and I selecting a Karen Hilltribe textile we wanted to use for this project. We chose one of my beautifully handmade Karen Hilltribe skirts I had brought back from my trip to Thailand. We took a picture of the skirt and sent it to our fabulous graphic designer, Carrie Calvin, to digitize the textile and work her magic. The completed graphic artwork was sent to our fabric supplier in Oregon to be printed and sampled. A few back and forth samples were tested to perfect the product and WALLAH we are now in production. Below are pictures of Carrie working on one of our prints, the finished product and a projection of what our leggings will look like.
We plan to receive the material by the end of November and we will have the leggings ready for purchase by December. A portion of the profit for each legging sold will go to Project Worthmore to help build their programs.
We will be taking pre-orders for these leggings. Please go onto our site and click on The Weaver legging and give us your information so you can be one of the first few customers to sport this amazing legging :)
Thank you for your support!
Angela & The DanaLouFIT Team
DanaLouFIT is proud to introduce Kyla Sfiris as a member of the Dana Lou Crew Team. Please read and learn about her time as a College Athlete at Western Carolina University and how being a College Athlete has shaped her into the person she is today and how it has helped her with her journey of becoming a barre3 Studio Owner and Instructor.
1. You were a College Athlete at Western Carolina University. How do you think being a part of a college sport shaped you into your profession as a barre3 Owner and Instructor? What aspects of your life did it also help shape?
Playing at the collegiate level is a tremendous amount of work, and I think that the work ethic that was instilled in me during my time playing soccer has a huge impact on deciding to become a barre3 owner and Instructor. It's a ton of work but so very rewarding! Also, I think passion is a key attribute. When I was growing up, I had such passion for the sport and I couldn't imagine doing anything else. As an adult I have found that same passion and purpose for barre3 and I am so excited to share that passion with our clients at our new studio!
2. What did being part of a team mean to you? Do you think some people are better at being individual athletes versus team athletes?
I loved being on a team! My teammates from college are my family. We went through “thick and thin” together, and even though we have moved on with our own families and lives, each teammate I played with has a huge place in my heart. We have such a bond that has withstood the test of time that months or even years can pass by and we still pick up right where we left off. There is actually a group of us getting together next month for an alumni weekend!
3. What is the most important lesson you learned being a College Athlete?
Definitely the biggest lesson I learned from my time as an athlete is the value of working together as team. We had each others backs and were always there to lift each other up. It is such a powerful feeling to have people in your corner that truly believe in you. I have been able to find that same team through my family at barre3. It is truly a tribe of super supportive people and each studio that you step in feels like home.
4. How did you get interested in Barre 3? What do you like most about this type of workout?
I actually found yoga shortly after college to help alleviate some of the injuries from my time as an athlete and I started teaching shortly after. About a year ago a friend suggested I look into teaching at barre3 and I was immediately hooked! Being an athlete at heart, I was first drawn to the challenge of each class and I loved the way my body felt after class. I really never felt stronger! Barre3 is a combination of barre, yoga and pilates with a super fun cardio element and amazing music. But as I started to learn more about the Company, I fell in love with what the Company was all about. Not only is barre3 challenging and effective, it is so accessible and accommodating.
5. Your opening a new Barre 3 Studio. Can you tell us about your journey of becoming a owner of the Studio and a little bit about the location and specifics that are special to your studio?
Yes! About 6 months after teaching at another local barre3 studio, I knew this was something I need to continue to share at a higher level. My sister Kristen (who was also my teammate in college) and I decided to go for it and open our studio together! Our studio is in the growing area of Five Forks in Simpsonville, SC and will open in early 2017. We grew up in the area and cannot wait to share barre3 with our community. One of the things that we are most excited about is that we will offer childcare! We both know as busy moms ourselves that it is so important to carve that time for self care.
6. What is your Favorite DanaLouFIT leggings you like to work out in and what do you like most about the leggings?
I seriously love them all! Every time I put my DanaLouFIT’s on, I feel amazing and they are total show stoppers. The patterns are truly works of art, but most importantly the fit is amazing. I would say my favorite leggings are the Graffiti Leggings when I am in the mood for some fun and the Jeannie Leggings when I am in the mood for some black.
DanaLouFIT is proud to introduce Rachel Nelson as a DanaLouFIT Ambassador. We are excited to have this amazing person as a member of our Dana Lou Crew Team! Please read and learn about Rachel's journey through Baptiste Yoga, her involvement with Africa Yoga Project and her upcoming Retreats that she will be offering this next Spring!
1. You are very involved in Baron Baptiste Yoga? How did you get interested in yoga and what led you to Baron Baptiste specifically?
Yes, I am a 500hr certified Baptiste yoga teacher and faculty member. I help lead & design programs for Baptiste Yoga as well as assist Baron at his large programs, I have been with Baptiste yoga since 2006. I actually started doing yoga when I was 16, I was a competitive snowboarder and blew my ACL, I couldn't snowboard or do much other dryland training, I found this tiny yoga studio near my school and would go there to help with my knee recovery. I kept up my practice and would do it mostly on my own from a book I found called the little book of yoga. I would wake up every morning and just do some poses from the book before I would go snowboarding. Then more studio’s started to pop up and I would go take more classes. I did yoga through my whole Pro Snowboarding career, it had a huge impact on me physically and mentally. In 2004 my best friend Josh passed away and that really threw me for a loop. I moved to Denver after that season, I was partying a lot, and then going to a yoga studio nearby to help with my hangovers. By the end of the summer I was going to yoga almost everyday. That studio had a teacher training starting and I didn’t have much else to do before the snowboard season started again so I decided to take the training. Everything shifted after that, my priorities changed a lot, how I viewed myself changed, I was in question of what I really wanted. When I moved back up to Vail to snowboard I didn’t feel the passion for competing or filming I once had, I was no longer so enamored by the party scene. I started teaching yoga at this little studio in Vail and just loved sharing with others. Soon after that, I did a few other training's based on Baptiste Yoga. The studio owner where I taught went to a training with Baron and came home so lit up and excited, later that year she took me to a conference he was teaching at and I took a bunch of classes with him. Soon after I signed up for his Level 1 training and have stayed the path with him and Baptiste Yoga since.
2. What do you love about Baron Baptiste Yoga versus other forms of yoga?
I love Baptiste Yoga for so many reasons and the biggest reason is the community! It’s amazing all the different kinds of people Baptiste Yoga attracts and how our community of people is so supportive, loving, empowering, and how we hold each other accountable to being great and powerful in all aspects of life. I also love the physicality of the practice, being a former athlete and dealing with lots of injuries this practice gives me the right amount of strength & flexibility so my body feels balanced and whole. For me it’s never about getting my foot behind my head or nailing a handstand every time, it’s about learning to listen to what I need in that moment.
3. What do you think is the biggest benefit of having a steady yoga practice?
There is so much available from having a steady and consistent yoga practice. The physical benefits are pretty well known, and what’s cool is now there is actual science starting to back the benefits of a consistent yoga practice on overall health. For me a consistent practice keeps me balanced, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. When students ask me how much they should be practicing this is what I say: 2-3 days per week, if consistent, will create transformation over time. For life-changing results practice 4-6 days per week.
4. A lot of people are intimidated by yoga. Do you have suggestions for our readers on how they could ease into yoga without feeling intimidated?
Well, first of all, starting anything new can feel and seem intimidating! I think what gets in most people’s way is the thinking that they have to know how to do everything, be perfect at it right away, and they are scared of looking dumb or making a mistake. This thinking is a big stop for most people that are curious about starting yoga. Just making that first step into a yoga class or onto a yoga mat is the biggest hurdle, so remember to be easy on yourself, take yourself lightly, don’t be afraid to mess up (cus you will), and try out a few different styles, studio’s, and teachers, one will feel like a good fit. Stick with the one that feels the best physically, mentally, emotionally, and stay with it for awhile, even when you get a little bored, that’s when the magic starts to happen in yoga.
5. You have been very involved in Africa Yoga Project. Can you tell us a little bit about the organization and how people who are interested can get involved?
Africa Yoga Project is an amazing non-profit based in Nairobi Kenya, and founded by my close friend Paige Elenson. AYP was created in 2007 to train youth and build the wellness industry in Africa so that previously un or under employed youth from marginalized communities earn a self sustaining income as community leaders who have the ability to build healthy, wellness promoting communities. We have trained and continue to train hundreds of yoga teachers across Africa, who now teach yoga and wellness in their own communities. My husband, Jay, and I went to Nairobi in 2015 for 2 weeks to spend time with the AYP community there. it was a phenomenal experience working with them, the teachers, and the communities they serve, and we can not wait to go back again, hopefully within the next few years! there are so many ways to get involved, we have an amazing mentorship program that involves a monthly skype call with an AYP teacher in Africa, working on helping them develop themselves in every aspect, work, life, relationships, etc. I mentored for 5 years, the relationship i built with my mentee was life changing for both of us. The other ways to contribute are to go to Kenya of a Seva Safari, a two week long service trip! and of course you can always donate. Learn more here: http://www.africayogaproject.org/
6. You have some really exciting Yoga retreats coming up soon? Can you share them with us?
I am so so excited to start offering retreats! I think the most unique thing about my retreats is that not only will each one be in a great and cool location, every retreat will be a digital detox! meaning, no cell phones & no screens! It’s a chance to re-set on all levels and reconnect to self in a much deeper way, and connect with others without all the distractions we have in the world today. All my retreats also include mindfulness/meditation, yoga practice, outdoor activities & nature, great food, and lots of fun! My next retreat is scheduled for May 3-7th, 2017 in Taos, NM. It’s at an amazing retreat space just outside of town in a historic lodge, surrounded by some spectacular scenery. it’s a really special place! In 2018 I am planning a weeklong retreat at a secluded resort on the water inlet of interior BC canada & vancouver island, think glamping, whale watching, bald eagle sighting, hot tubs, yoga, fun! Info on both will be up on my website very soon!
All of these beautiful photo's are done by Jay Rush. Please check out his website to see all of his wonderful work www.jayrushphoto.com
From a young age I have been involved in both fitness and fashion. When my long time friend and yoga instructor, Becky Cawood, referred me to Dana as a good candidate for an ambassador I could not deny the wonderful opportunity. At Dana Lou Fit I knew I would be able to combine my love for fitness and fashion, while helping Dana build her brand identity.
2. You’re studying Textiles and Apparel Design at University of Texas. What got you interested in Textiles and Apparel and what would you like to do with it in the future?
Interest in fashion is practically hereditary in my family. All my life I have known that I wanted to work in the industry, but not until college did I decide I wanted to learn the art of design. I will probably not work as a designer in the future, but find learning the trade crucial to my success industry. Careers I often admire and consider are trend forecasting and creative directing.
3. Active Wear is the top selling style of clothing being sold in America right now. Why do you think it’s become so popular?
I believe the athleisure craze is do to an overall shift in social attitudes towards wardrobe standards. Today’s society does not believe you need to be dressed your best to go in public. Instead, we value comfort and ease. We have found a way to combine style and convenience via athleisure in order to accommodate our shift in views. I am a large supporter of athleisure and feel lucky to be part of a generation that is not constrained by uncomfortable and impractical wardrobe standards.
4.What’s your favorite way to sweat?
I do not necessarily have a favorite way to sweat; it all depends on my mood! On a bad day I cannot go to sleep without some hot, power yoga. On a good day nothing feels better than a spin class with great music I can jam out to. When I really need to get my butt kicked ,Fight Club’s high intensity interval training always does the trick. I really believe there is not a best way to sweat. Just do what feels right for your body on that day and never push your limits.
5. Can you tell us about Fight Club in Austin? It sounds so interesting and fun?
Fight Club is by far the best workout near campus at the University of Texas. Every class is always different, but equally as challenging. Fight Club perfectly incorporates boxing, cardio and strength training through various of rounds of circuits. I am biased because she is my sorority sister, but Hallie Meland is definitely my favorite teacher. Both girls and guys flock to her class to challenge themselves and always leave drenched and sore.
6. What do you like the most about DanaLouFIT Active Wear? What’s your favorite piece that your wear often?
My favorite part of DanaLouFIT Active Wear is the high waistbands on the pants. As a person with a tiny waist and big butt, it is hard to find pants that will stay up when I work out. In addition, I love that all DLF pieces go together and allow me to always leave the house feeling put together in head-to-toe DLF. My go to ensemble are my sparkly black pants from last fall and my Debbie crop top from this past Spring/ Summer collection.