A fashion designer turned yoga teacher lends her expert eye to a carefully curated yoga studio.
Caitlin Gottschalk knows how to create beautiful things. The 30-year-old yoga teacher studied design at both Parsons and London College of Fashion before launching her first business, sustainable clothing and accessories brand Cait the Great. She worked with Wanderlust Festivals in 2016 to bring pop-up shops to a number of city stops and last year served as a studio partner, putting together a tour guide for mindfulness seekers in her hometown of Minneapolis. Her mantra for her career, one she still relies on heavily today, is Create the grace: “It’s my way of saying, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’” she says.
Since February 2017, she’s been channeling her artistic vision as the founder of Sacred Space, a Minneapolis wellness sanctuary where practitioners can try a range of offerings such as energy work, sound baths, reiki, and crystal healing. Oh, and there’s plenty of yoga and meditation—about 20 classes per week—with limited sessions held in an adjacent yurt, an old storage facility that she rescued and gave new life. Gottschalk takes design cues from worldly artifacts such as Moroccan rugs and Joshua Tree’s minimalist landscape (she fell in love with the park as a kid on family vacation). Warm white walls create an easy canvas for her rotating collection of crystals, textiles, and singing bowls. “I find the most joy in integrating found objects with alive elements—like flowers, fresh incense, and handcrafted oil blends—that activate your senses and pull you into the present moment,” she says.
A cooling eye mask is one of the best ways to quickly relieve pain and gently relax you whether you are struggling with swollen and itchy eyes, stress, or headaches (perfect for those long yoga teacher training days). Most designs use either gel or gel beads encased in smooth plastic or soft cotton designed to hold their cool temperature for extended periods of time. To make sure you choose the right eye mask for you, we’ve put together a guide to our favorite picks.
Best for Sleeping: IMAK Compression Pain Relief Mask and Eye Pillow
Most eye masks are encased in plastic (even latex – a potential allergen) that rests directly on your eyes. This choice is made from a soft and breathable cotton-lycra blend that will gently conform to your face. This mask’s stitching, built with migraine sufferers in mind, is designed not to put direct pressure on your eyes as well. The cute design even blocks out light to allow for undisturbed meditation or sleep. Note: When cooling this mask, be sure to put it in a plastic container to keep it from absorbing freezer smells. Ding: True cold sensation doesn’t last much longer than 15 minutes, say some testers. $13; Buy Now
Best Reversible: Ice Eye Mask by FOMI Care
Most masks are either soft cloth (providing greater comfort) or vinyl (allowing more direct contact with your eyes), but this dual-sided mask does double-duty. The mask’s wide shape also makes it perfect for use on strained arm or leg muscles. This simple and comfortable design is available in either a gel bead or a clay pack. Tip: the clay pack will hug your features more closely, while the gel bead pack will cool more quickly in the freezer. …
One of my favorite recipes to teach in my private cooking classes is quinoa pilaf. Whenever someone requests rice, I always gulp in terror and then slyly redirect them towards quinoa.
I’ve eaten under cooked (yet somehow also burnt) rice more times than I care to admit. And the probability that I will again is made exponentially higher when you introduce a foreign kitchen into the equation.
But quinoa is actually difficult to mess up. I know, because I’ve subconsciously tried many times to make it happen. And even when I went to take a shower without remembering that there was a pot of grains coming to boil, and emerged to find starchy liquid all over my stovetop, the quinoa still survived. So because a monkey emoji with his eyes closed could make good quinoa, I try to make things interesting by having my pupils try their hand at a pilaf.
It’s actually surprising how few people know what a pilaf is, considering we’ve all had the Rice-a-Roni theme song in our heads since 1987. The difference is simply in the technique. When you’re making any grain, you usually bring a set ratio of liquid to a boil, cover, and cook until tender. But a pilaf involves sautéing the grains first in a mixture of aromatics—usually onion and garlic, but most notably in our high school cafeteria days with the addition of peas and carrots. After the grains are toasted, you add the liquid, which is often some sort of stock instead of water, and then boil/cover as per usual.
Rice can get a little mealy when cooked as a pilaf, especially if you don’t take the proper care in toasting the grains in the oil and vegetable mixture before adding liquid. But quinoa on the other hand, being ever …
Rachel Brathen’s book hits stores this week. In this excerpt from the chapter entitled “Forgive,” Brathen attends a shamanic ceremony in Costa Rica where she finally releases some ghosts from her past.
One day John [Brathen’s boss at the time in Costa Rica – Ed.] told me the commune was hosting a cacao shaman at the farm and that there would be a chocolate ceremony later in the day. I had heard of chocolate ceremonies for emotional healing and I was intrigued. A cacao shaman works with special types of beans from sacred parts of South America. An ancient ritual to prepare the cacao involves roasting and grounding the beans, then mixing the hot chocolate with brown sugar or agave syrup and cayenne pepper in a large pot. Cacao increases the blood flow to the heart and frees the heart chakra. Emotionally it translates to releasing pent-up feelings, and the ritual can be both intense and therapeutic.
John and I arrived at the farm in the early afternoon and joined the group on the patio. The circle of twenty or so people, some of them new faces, sat around the big pot of bubbling cacao. I’d never met a shaman before and was intrigued to see what he would look like. I envisioned an indigenous man, dressed in beads and robes. Instead, I arrived to find that the shaman was an American man in his sixties, with white hair and a long white beard. I sat down in the circle feeling a little wary—what had I signed up for? Of all places, the shaman sat down right next to me and we locked eyes. Looking into his clear, blue eyes, I felt a jolt of electricity zap through my body. It felt as if he were …
Within the past decade, many different styles of yoga and movement have influenced Irene Pappas’s practice and teaching. “I started with weightlifting, then found Rocket and Ashtanga yoga, and eventually added in gymnastics-style strength training and calisthenics,” she says. Her teaching incorporates concepts from each of these movement styles into a yogasana-based flow designed to build strength and improve mobility.
This creative sequence from Pappas includes her favorite squats and leg lifts within a vinyasa flow, but each move can also be practiced on its own. She likes to warm up with a few minutes of light cardio and a wrist routine, but she says you can also start with some Sun Salutations or even just a Downward-Facing Dog.
This practice is meant to be a challenge, so don’t get discouraged if you find it difficult. “You might not be able to do all of these exercises the first time you try them— I definitely couldn’t,” Pappas says. “The first step is committing your mind to doing the hard work, and the physical strength will follow!”
Nicole Cardoza’s organization Yoga Foster gives teachers free and low-cost training and mats, so they can practice yoga with students.
In 2012, Nicole Cardoza was volunteering at P.S. 140 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan through a community initiative. When school staff learned that she practiced yoga, they approached her about sharing the practice with students. “They were looking for a way to stir the kids to move without needing a gym or going outside,” Cardoza says. Although she wasn’t a trained yoga teacher, she’d been practicing since college and found that yoga “was the first thing I did that made me feel at home in my body,” she says. “It made me feel like I was enough.”
Cardoza began teaching yoga to third- and fourth-graders in hopes that it would help them feel comfortable in their bodies, too, and give them time when they didn’t have to worry about bullying, issues with their teachers, or what would happen when they went home. After a few months, both the school and Cardoza saw that the students were more present and focused in class and performing better on tests. Teachers began saying they wished they could bring yoga to more kids.
A light bulb went off for Cardoza: She began hosting trainings for teachers in New York City and founded Yoga Foster. Two years later, she left her job in tech to focus solely on Yoga Foster and to bring yoga to more elementary and middle schools where gym classes and recess were being cut. “We really do have a health crisis happening in our country,” she says. “Giving kids the opportunity to move and breathe can be really powerful.”
The five-time NBA All-Star and mental health advocate can’t live without these yoga and fitness tools.
Kevin Love started his eponymous Kevin Love Fund to find purpose beyond basketball. After struggling with anxiety and depression, he developed a trust that focuses on helping people improve mental wellness alongside physical fitness. Through a partnership with Headspace, in 2018 the Love Fund donated 850 app subscriptions and in-person mental health training sessions to UCLA student-athletes and coaches—and this year will contribute to the Just Keep Livin Foundation for empowering high school students. Here, Love shares his must-haves for staying happy, healthy, and hanger-free this fall.
Master teachers Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee discuss hitting plateaus as a yoga teacher and how to overcome them.
The struggle is real. Even long-time celebrated teachers like Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee need new inspiration from time to time. From their Yoga Shanti Studio in TriBeCa, the Yees share where they find renewed passion and excitement to share and teach yoga.
Live Be Yoga ambassadors Lauren Cohen and Brandon Spratt are on a road trip across the country to sit down with master teachers, host free local classes, and so much more—all to illuminate the conversations pulsing through the yoga community today. Follow the tour and get the latest stories @livebeyoga on Instagram and Facebook.