Camp photos from CGI Silicon Valley where Bring The Gym to Me's instructor Nelson taught this summer! I love getting these pics sent in and seeing how far across America we've branched out. We even worked with a camp in Montreal (!) this summer! More pics coming soon.
I'm the only female out of the 3 entrepreneurs in this feature. Download the article here or scroll down to read it (if it shows up on your screen):
By Emily Frost | March 3, 2016 10:35am
A yoga class only for men led by a male instructor is launching on the Upper West Side.
Flickr/Nicholas A. TonelliUPPER WEST SIDE — A local resident is launching a yoga class just for men with the help of a booking agency specializing in non-traditional fitness classes.
As an Orthodox Jew who puts a premium on modesty when it comes to contact between men and women, Daniel Kronengold was willing to go out of his way to take a men-only yoga class.
Not finding any such classes on the Upper West Side, where he lives and was raised, the 36-year-old resigned himself to making an hour-long trip each way to Crown Heights to take an all-male class.
After it was recently canceled, Kronengold started taking private lessons in his apartment as a way to continue his practice, as there really weren't any suitable options nearby, he said.
Now he's looking to save money, form a community and offer a service to other men — Jewish or otherwise — who want to take yoga classes without women present.
Kronengold is working with Sarede Switzer, who previously ran a fitness studio in Crown Heights and specializes in yoga for Orthodox Jews who, for religious reasons, want to abstain from the prayer and devotional side of most yoga sessions, separate the sexes and emphasize modesty.
Switzer, 35, has since launched a start-up, Bring the Gym to Me, that works as a kind of fitness booking agency. More than 500 instructors in various practices work with Switzer, who helps them book classes in people's homes and offices, at birthday parties and at other events.
This "virtual" gym model serves as a way of connecting busy instructors, who don't want to set up or run their own businesses, with people seeking to exercise outside of the traditional gym structure, Switzer explained.
"People have this notion that you have to go the gym and be around all this fancy equipment," she said. "As long as there’s a nice space that can accommodate however number of people you have, you really don’t need anything fancy."
Once Kronengold nails down a space — he's looking at local synagogues and existing yoga studios — Switzer's company will handle the logistics of assigning a male instructor. Kronengold will collect payment from however many participants he attracts to join the weekly class, and then pay a lump sum to Switzer, she said.
It's ironic that so many city yoga classes are filled only with women, because "originally yoga in India was a very male activity," Switzer noted.
Beyond the religious motivations behind single-sex classes, "there’s something nice about that separation... there is a certain comfort and a certain lack of self-consciousness," she added.
And there's also more of an opportunity for connection among participants, Kronengold said.
"Friendships can be made," he explained. "In general in male groups, there’s a type of bonding that takes place there."
Kronengold anticipates a lot of interest in the class given the large population of Orthodox Jews in the neighborhood. But he also expects the turnout to include yoga enthusiasts who would go to a mixed class but still may find an all-male class more attractive.
"I think the privacy is appealing," he said.
Anyone interested in the class or with information about a possible location can reach out to Switzer at email@example.com.
Link to original article here.
The fascinating story behind Paul's life changing illness and how he cured himself.
Paul Sanchez is the man behind the Bring the Gym to Me Yoga Videos. In addition to yoga modeling, he's also a certified Yoga Instructor and Personal Trainer and has worked with a number of clients at Bring the Gym the Me. Paul exudes a warm and cheerful disposition and you'd never know upon meeting him that he's had so many health issues he's suffered with over the years. In this interview, he shared with me the incredible story of his self diagnosis and ultimately how he cured himself from cancer.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, your background, where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in New York City, in the Upper East Side. So I’m a Manhattanite by birth. My parents are hispanic in origin. My dad is from Cuba and mother from Dominican Rebublic.
What made them move here?
My dad moved due to the political unrest in Cuba and my mother just wanted to move away from her family and be independent.
How did you get into Yoga? What did you want to be as a kid?
When I was a kid, wanted to be an astronaut and then I wanted to be a lawyer. Then when I was 19 I decided I wanted to become a doctor. Becoming a doctor made the most sense since I saw myself as moving in the direction of becoming a healer.
Yoga came to me when I was in High School. I had some friends who were practicing yoga. So they would share their experiences with me. They offered a class or 2 at school and in the gym and it slowly became a larger part of my life as the years went on and I experienced it’s benefits and I studied more about the deeper aspects of healing.
When I got to college, I actually started out as a Psych major and then in freshmen Psych we started learning about the body and that's when I shifted my gaze from just therapy to medicine because I loved the body and I wanted to help as many people as possible. But then, in my second half of the first semester of pre-med. The pressures didn’t work for me. It was too science based and not spirit based. In my experience, healing comes from a middle ground between science and spirituality. I stayed with it one more semester, to give it a real go, but my soul was into other things and I was getting more into spirituality. I was experiencing quite a bit of struggle.
What do you mean by struggle?
Well a little more about my background. I had a challenging upbringing. From nutrition, my physical habits, my environment, my thoughts, my development etc. So I was depressed at a really early age. I was suicidal at the age of 7.
Wow that's really young.
Yea. Nutrition had a lot to do with how my brain developed. It’s taken along time and a lot of energy work to transform.
So back to Pre-med. What did you do when you realized that wasn't for you?
That's when I decided to travel to India.
What happened in India?
Well, I discovered G-d. A life changer for sure. I went looking for healing, looking for masters, temples etc. and while I definitely crossed masters and great people along my journey, I recognized that this phenomenon of healing was within me all along. All of the questions I had were answered with love and surrender.
How did that revelation happen?
I’ve done a lot of work with consciousness and past life regression and getting in touch with the spiritual realm and I absolutely have had experiences of being alive in other times. When I arrived in India, I had a recollection of being a yogi in a past life and often it works that way that people need to reenact things from past lives.
Did you meet a lot of other seekers there?
I met several. It was a whirlwind of a trip - 2 weeks. These people were definitely instrumental in unfolding me into this line of consciousness.
So what did you do after you got back to NY?
When I got back to NY I was a little more grounded. I’m a lover of kids so I worked with children for a little while. That lasted for awhile but then I started thinking about my next career move. I decided that I wanted to work for myself. And I thought what better way to guide the planet than through yoga? So I decided to commit myself to a regular yoga practice. I said I was going to do it every day for 1 month. And then 1 month became 2 months etc. I realized that it was my work int eh world and I realized that I have an ability and that that is where the market is headed.
Were you practicing a certain style?
Yes, Kundalini yoga.
How did you discover that?
It was doing a lot of self study. I got really into Barbara Brennan. I’m a huge fan of hers. I love her work. I discovered her when studying psychology. She answered so many questions. She bridged the gap between science and spirituality like no one had. I was working with an energy healer who had graduated from her school.
Did the yoga help with depression?
Absolutely. That’s what made me commit to it professionally.
So did you do a teacher training?
I did some research. Everyone said that you need to commit to having a regular yoga practice for a year so I did. And then it took a little while longer to do do the research and the funds but then in 2010, I was registered in YogaWorks Teacher Training.
What made you decide on YogaWorks?
They had me sold in their first conversation. Barbara Brennen would She would often alignment and energetics. I felt a resonance with the word alignment. I was also studying Abraham Hicks who talks a lot about alignment. So when I asked the women in charge about the school and she said “We base our teachings off of the Principles of Alignment” I got chills and I knew that was where I needed to go. I loved the focus on the neutral spine and the health of the vertebral column.
And did you start teaching right away?
Yes, I started practice teaching with anyone who would let me. Within a few short months I had already been applying for a grant to become a certified personal trainer. I completed that in March 2011 right before I moved to Colorado. Did it with WITS.
Why did you move to Colorado?
I had a lot of health issues. I was hospitalized when I was 5 for back infection in my lymph nodes. When I was 14 for a tumor removal surgery. I ignored it. I started to take a little bit better care of myself when I was 17 eat a little better. But while doing my teacher training, I was under more stress, I started getting liver pain and back pain and shoulder pain and was getting all this feedback from my body that something wasn’t right and I didn’t know what it was. And all the stretching from the yoga wasn’t helping
I started seeing a acupuncturist who said my blood was acidic and I started to learn about what that meant and around that time by “coincidence” I met someone who was on an alkaline diet so I started to learn about what that means. So I moved to colorado in search of health and was there for almost 2 years. teaching yoga doing the personal training etc.
Did your health improve while you were there?
Yes. Also had to do with my diet and the emotions that are associated with it. I started figuring out why I had so many health issues since I was a little kid. I was addicted to sugar and I now realized why sugar is so bad. It's basically nutritionally void.
It’s clear that my brain couldn’t function at a very young age so these things dramatically impact your experience.
But then eventually you came back to New York. So why did that happen?
Well, the original plan was to go to California but I didn’t have any connections there so Colorado was meant to be temporary. I attempted to go to San Fransisco for a bit and while it was a good fit culturally, it wasn't he best fit geographically because it was still very cold. My acupuncturist had told me that my body overheats and then shuts down and then gets cold. So it was health concern that my body needs the warmth.
So I decided to leave San Fransisco and go back to NY and work on my business. Before I did I took a vacation to rest and recuperate so went to Florida and spent time with my mom for most of the year it was there that I discovered the culmination of all these years and discovered that it was cancer.
Wow. So tell me about that.
The story is unbelievable for most because of the manner in which it arose.
I had suspected for awhile that that was what it was and I tried a couple of different cancer cures and they helped but I didn’t do it properly so it was in the back of my mind. I came across a natural cancer cure called Cancer Detox based on Coconut Oil where you take one spoon of coconut oil every hour with something anti inflammatory like lemon juice, cayenne pepper, turmeric or raw garlic drink water throughout the day. I learned more about why sugar was a problem but was hard because as a former/struggling sugar addict was hard to cut it out and there were underlying emotional components which were coming to surface throughout the process.
Otto Warburg who was a nobel prize winner in 1931 proved that the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar. So basically cancer thrives in an acidic/low PH low oxygen environment which can be caused by sugar. When the body is starved of sugar and offered a different energy course, such as coconut oil, the cancer cells come back to life. I tried it, and that's where the story gets a bit interesting and out there for some.
How so? What happened? Did you go to a doctor and get officially diagnosed?
It was a self diagnosis. I put all the pieces together. In addition to everything that had happened to me, I had also had a tumor removed at age 14. It was identified as benign. But what a lot of people don't realize is that even benign tumors predate cancerous ones. So it’s a sign that cancer is cominng.
I had never drank water growing up only soda. I started drinking water whiten i was 17. It was was hard to get used to at first. But I made an effort, and while living in Colorado i had started wanting to get into good water got filter for water to remove fluoride. I was drinking a lot of this water and noticed that the pain was starting to ease in my lymphatic system. My lymph nodes had gotten it started to open up for the first time in 21 years. It had been hardened for 2 decades and then it healed. The water made it open up a little bit.
So flash backwards for a bit - I had seen an energy healer from many years. We were working on emotional stuff and she said she has full spectrum of psychic abilities. That basically means higher sense perception. Any human being can develop it if you are sensitive enough, you can perceive things across all sense. So she said that she could taste cancer. I had never heard anyone said this before. There's this thing called psychic transference. Where someone shares something with you immediately you can sense it and know what they are talking about. So I tasted what she tasted. It
tasted like death and decay. The worst food you’ve ever tasted. Worse than putrid chemically rotten.
Now, years later, I was doing this cancer cleanse before lunchtime, and I woke up and was laying in bed in excruciating pain. like shards of glass moving through my lymphatic system. It was the most nauseating and disgusting experience of my life. In that moment I knew, because it tasted exactly the as that moment years ago when I experienced that psychic transference with my healer. I know, it's a a bit of an unorthodox story.
A lot of people don't believe people can diagnose their own cancer but there are so many stories where it stays undiagnosed and then t's too late.
So was that a traumatic moment?
Initially it was a relief, because everything came together. It explained my whole life.
I’m very rational. I love learning about science but I also am drawn to spiritual realm and I don’t know why that can't come together.
As a kid when they would show on TV kinds with leukemia, I always identified with them for some reason. Now it made sense.
What's striking to me about your story is that this diagnosis came about specifically once you made the decision to heal.
It came when I was ready to handle it. I don’t think I’d be able to handle it before.
Once I knew what it was I was better able to deal with it but it was also a harsh reality of dealing with it. Having to confront my own inner shadows and demons in a way I had never done before. Taking charge of my eating, my emotions, my aggression that I had festered inside of me. The challenges with my family that had never been resolved.
Do you feel like it’s a lifelong struggle?
I don't think it need be. I think it depends on the person. For me, it’s been about letting go of my attachments and being willing to change. Forgiveness is the most important thing. Learning to process and deal with emotions. Like anger, aggression. Usually anger at ourselves.
What as the anger about?
Mainly I had anger towards my parents towards not being there the way that I needed. The anger towards myself that I contributed to that. I felt that I was unlovable. The painful part was realizing that you are the one who creates your own suffering.
How long did it take to heal?
It took about 3 years. But I think the cancer left a lot sooner or at least the majority of it. Everyone has cancer cells in their body. It’s just a matter of balance being maintained in immune system. It's 32 years of an identity being reshaped. Letting go of anger in my heart that’s the final stage.
So what were the main components of your diet/healing regime.
Mostly coconut oil and cutting out sugar. I would have a lot of green juices.
Also, cannabis oil. Cannabis cures cancer as well. I was a recreational user for years I didn't know why it helped me with pain in my life. Then I found out oil was more effective so I started including that in my regime.I also went to Peru and worked with shamans. That was another big breakthrough but was 6 months prior to having this final cleanse.
You say you cut out sugar but what about carbs?
A lot of people forget that carbohydrates turn to sugar int he body. I would go through cycles and stay carb or sugar free for a week or 2 or a month if i was disciplined and then I’d go back and have what used to be my favorite foods like pizza. The more i stuck with it, I didn't crave it as much. Also, too much protein can turn to sugar.
It’s essentially an alkaline diet. There's a book called the PH miracle by Robert Young. He explains the science behind it. Proteins, carbs, alcohol and caffeine are the most acidic things. Vegetable are alkaline so want to get as many as we can. Doctors and scientists will admit blood has the best function at a PH of 7.365 which is very alkaline.
Is this like the ketogenic diet?
Yes it’s the same thing. Dr. Mercola talks about that diet a lot and I follow a lot of his research.
How did you know that you were finally cured?
I no longer had that experience of the taste or the shards disgust so that was a strong signal that it was no longer present. I didn’t feel the same way. Also, I went to see a medical intuitive who does this magnetic therapy/polaris and he also said that there was no cancer in my body. So it was another affirmation that my intuition was correct and it was no longer present.
What’s the plan now? Are you going to stay as strict on the diet now that you are healed?
I’m committed to eating this way as a way of life however I don't want to make any hard lines. I just finished my longest stretch of 44 days of staying off of all sugar and carbs so I’ve kicked the sugar addiction. However I did make some allowances the other day and ate some ice cream and chocolate however I noticed that my body has responded to it in better than i never had. I'm thinking of doing another 40 days cleaning out my system from some residual stuff. It gets easier and easier though.
Right now I’m cutting up some dandelion greens and kale. and avocado squash I love my food. my palette has changed and I want to just i want keep moving forward.
Any final thoughts?
The greatest spiritual lesson that I’ve come across that I’m still learning to master and my message to the world is for people to love themselves. That they are divine being and spark of the creator and a source of love if only they allow themselves that.
To find out more about Paul and his yoga work, visit his website
I often joke with my friends that I spend 1/2 of my life hunched over a computer typing and the other 1/2 of my life upside down balancing on my head or my hands. While I like to think that this dichotomous living creates a harmonious balance, it seems my muscles don't always agree. As a certified yoga instructor, I know that I should know better than to overtrain, especially without properly warming up/cooling down and that sitting for hours on end answering emails is not exactly the ideal way to rest my muscles. Alas, as the saying goes: "The son of the shoemaker has no shoes."
So getting a deep tissue Swedish massage from Chana Sahler this past Friday was just what the doctor ordered. She used trigger point therapy to press into the areas which were especially tight and worked on lengthening my neck and opening up my shoulders. I left felling super blissed out and slept like a baby later that night.
Oh and the sandalwood massage oil she used was a great bonus. What a yummy smell!
Chana's training is unique in that her approach is very clinical and Western in origin.
She gives the following types of massages:
Trigger point therapy
These are the benefits of massage therapy:
Increased range of motion
To book an appointment with Chana Sahler, contact her at:
Carlos Márcio Moreira is the real deal. At 18 years old, he made the critical decision to drop his original plans of attending a more traditional university to become an engineer so he could pursue his passion for acting and circus arts. Carlos subsequently became a Cirque du Soleil performer and renowned actor. He's appeared in numerous theatre performances, TV shows, commercials and most recently a music video by Blasterjaxx. Carlos' story of how he came into his own is fascinating and inspiring. I could have kept the interview going for hours, there was so much to take in. In the Summer of 2015, Bring the Gym to Me hired Carlos to teach Circus Arts to kids at a camp in Roslyn, Long Island. The campers fell in love with Carlos, and Carlos describes his experience teaching at the camp as the highlight of his summer and the reason he stayed in New York.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Resende. It’s a small town 2 hours from Rio.
What was that like? What’s it like over there?
It’s a small town in a valley - surrounded by mountains.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a Circus Arts Performer?
No. I wanted to become an engineer or something like that. Or possibly work at the bank. At a certain point I wanted to be a math teacher. But I had a passion for theatre and that was bigger than anything else.
So how did you get into acting?
Well while I was still in high school, every Wednesday I would take the bus to go to a theatre workshop in Rio. That's where people in Brazil go to get into acting - Rio or St. Paulo - it's like NY and LA. Those workshops were a big deal for me. So when I was 18 and had graduated high school, one week after the workshop I didn’t come back and I decided that’s what I wanted to do with my life. It was pne of the best schools in Rio, many famous actors came out of there.
How did you find out about the theatre workshops?
I was passing in front of the theatre one day that was in my neighborhoood and I saw a sign about it.
What did your parents think about you going to acting (and then later circus) school?
They supported me, but they were also very worried. My mother kept asking me to come home. They weren't so aware of what I was doing there. They agreed to pay for my school if I also got a job. So I worked at a McDonalds type of place.
What do they do for a living?
My father owns a neighborhood bar. My mother is a housewife.
Did you work at the bar?
Yes I worked there as a teenager like 14-17 years old. Mostly helped by getting stuff in the market.
Did you think about becoming an actor at that time?
I was thinking more about engineering or possibly administration but the acting was there deep down.
When did you first discover your passion for acting?
The first time I felt the love of acting was when I was 16 years old and there was a National Theatre Festival in my hometown and we had to go watch the plays in my school. I don’t remember the name of the play but it was an amazing production and I remember that moment when I was in the audience watching the show. It was basically my first time watching theatre. And I felt something that I couldn’t describe, but something happened at that moment when I left the theatre, something happened to me. It wasn’t clear. I wasn’t aware of what was going on. I still thought I had to go to university and go into engineering or something but I wasn’t excited about that. Only when I started going to Rio for the theatre workshops that I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
What was the hardest part about acting school?
Music. Because I’m a horrible singer and it was really hard for me to act and sing.
Do you have any siblings?
A brother and a sister. I’m the youngest. My brother works with my father in a bar and my sister is an Education Coordinator at a school. She’s very intelligent and a big inspiration to me.
Are you close to them?
I've been living far away from everyone for so many years, I kind of got used to it but we love each other very much.
What does your family think of your career now?
They are very proud of me. It’s a big deal - It changed my parents lives for me to become a Cirque de Soleil member. Since they live in a small town so everybody knows and is familiar with Cirque du Soleil. People go to the bar and always talk about me so it’s a big deal for them. They get very emotional about it. Just remembering it now I get very emotional.
So what happened after acting school? How did your career begin?
Well I hadn't even finished acting school... after just one year of acting school, I landed my first part as a professional actor in a theatre performance of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. And then I kept getting hired for more acting jobs. So that's how my acting career began. The last play I performed was the 3 Musketeers. I did a small role in a Tele Novella (spanish soap opera). Which was a big deal - in Brazil, Tele Novella’s are very well respected/watched internationally. They always win Emmy’s.
And then where did Circus Arts come in?
Well 3 years into acting school, I heard someone talking about circus school and I always wanted to do something with my body because I had never done anything with my body before. I grew up kind of lazy. I was about to turn 21 and you could only get into the school if you were between the ages of 12-20 to get into the school. So I just made it. I did an audition and I got in. The training was very intense. It was 5 days a week for 4 years. That changed my life completely.
Did you have any prior experience with Circus Arts?
Nope. None. That was a big transformation in my life and in my body. And I was still doing acting on the side.
What is Circus School like? What kind of things do you learn?
Oh, everything. Tumbling, aerial arts, clowning, trapeze, hand balancing. They teach you all the techniques and then at the end you decide what you want to specialize in. I loved trapeze and hand balancing. It was very intense. But I loved it. It totally transformed me. I was paying attention to my body for the first time ever and doing things I would never guess I could do. Like hanging from my neck and hanging from my heels. The first day there were 40 students. Only 5 or 10 of those made it to graduation.
Did you ever do gymnastics as a kid?
No, I never did anything like that. I was really lazy. My high school really focused on sports but I was not into it at all. The only thing I did was this game - I don't know what it's called in english, but there's a pole in the middle and two people have to roll the ball to the middle. The ball was hanging by a rope on the top of the pole. I didn't like to play the game but I would be the one who would climb on the pole to put up the ball - so I guess that was my body was prepping for the circus.
Were most of the other students more advanced than you/more experienced with gymnastics
Yes. They were strong. It was very hard for me. I got a lot of pain. Especially back pain. I got health insurance!
Do they divide you up by body type?
Yea. Bigger people do more contortion. Tall and strong people are the "catchers". Small people (like me) are good for flying things like trapeze or anything else that's up in the air and involves people catching you.
Were you scared of heights or anything like that?
Yes, I was scared of heights. I still am, though not as much as I was before. But if I go to a balcony, I still feel something. There was a dream I had when I was 5-6 years old. A recurring dream. I was swinging on a swing and it was hanging from the clouds and when I got high enough, I would get goosebumps and I would wake up. And it’s so weird because then later I did trapeze. I love to be high - hanging from a trapeze but still I’m afraid.
How do you deal with your fear?
Repetition. Getting used to the thing that I fear. The first time I had to really deal with my fear was in the 3rd year of Circus school when I had to perform a certain show over and over again. The repetition helped me get over my fears. This allowed me to be freer with my movements. To act and be more artistic. I was able to incorporate my acting background into my trapeze.That's what made my trapeze act not typical.
Was there anyone in Circus school who got seriously hurt?
Yes. I remember when one of the girls in my school fell really badly. She fell during a performance. Some people from France were watching and she did a trapeze act and she put on the cable the wrong way and holding the ropes and she took her hands off the ropes like she was about to touch her feet but instead of touching her feet she was supposed to hold onto the bar but she missed the bar and fell to the floor. I had to leave. I can’t see things like that. I can’t see blood. I get very nervous. The ambulance came etc.
How high up was she?
She was maybe 28 feet up. It was crazy because the school didn’t want to do trapeze any more and that was the thing I was the best at and I talked to my coach and director and they made an exception for me and let me do my trapeze act and that’s what changed my life - that’s what Cirque de Soleil saw when they came in for auditions at the school (see below).
I have seen several really bad accidents and I don’t like it. This was one of the reasons I eventually wanted to leave Cirque du Soleil. Nothing I did was ever super dangerous, but still.. it's dangerous, especially when it's dark and you can't see much. I knew I was taking a risk every day and I didn't want to risk my career. It's funny, I'm a circus performer but I don't want to take risks. Maybe because I didn't grow up as a circus performer.
I would hang by my neck without warming up or stretching. And then when you hurt yourself you rethink how you think about it. I had marks on the back of my neck. I used to bleed.
How did you get to start working for Cirque du Soleil?
One month before graduation, Cirque du Soliel came in for auditions. And we all had to do a show for them and then a few people were selected (including me) to come back the next month for a show. I did a solo trapeze act.
In April 1998 they invited me to create an acrobatic character for a show in Orlando so I flew to Montreal to start the creation of the show. This took 6 months. And then we went to Orlando. I was a bit lost. I went from TV to doing Cirque de Soliel and I didn’t speak English or French very well. But eventually, about 2 weeks before the first performance, the first signs of my character started to appear - he was this guy who walked kind of funny, hung from doors. A little bit reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin. They named me "The Little Walker". He was a funny character. Kind of a clown.
So I was with Cirque du Soleil doing that same show for over 15 years. 10 shows a week. It drove me crazy because it’s too much to do the same thing all the time and I always had a desire to do something else/to do something new. It wasn’t easy to leave but I knew I really had to.
Did you travel a lot to perform?
There wasn't a lot of traveling. The show was a permanent show at Disney World. The only time I traveled with them was to do a performance on Good Morning America in honor of the 15th year anniversary of the show.
Carlos as "The Little Walker"
What did you want to do after Cirque du Soliel?
More acting, to be able to create new characters. To develop other sides of me. As an actor, I feel like I have to explore sides of me that I was not aware of.
So how did you finally get out?
Well, right before I left, I was invited to create 3 characters for Brazilian pop star Anitta for her first DVD in Brazil. So I flew out to Brazil and I did very different things than in Cirque de Soliel. So that was the start of branching out.
Do you have any specializations when it comes to Circus Arts?
Clowning, unicycle, trapeze, handbalancing and tumbling - those are all on my final certification.
Do you prefer doing more of the acrobatics or more clowning/acting?
I like combining them. I'm performing in an upcoming NY based web series called Home Cooked News. There's a clown scene where I’m hanging from a hook and saying my lines. There's a play in brazil where I had to do a fight that incorporated acrobatics. That’s when I feel completely actualized. 100% me. When I'm combining both skills.
Do you remember how you got connected to Bring the Gym to Me?
I was searching online for jobs to work as an acrobatic coach and a job came up - I don’t remember what. I didn't end up getting that one but I subscribed to the Bring the Gym to Me instructor mailings. After awhile, when I saw that there was nothing relevant for me coming up, I unsubscribed. And right after I did that, you sent me an email asking if I wasn't interested in the last job you had just posted about. I didn't even look at that email since I assumed I wouldn't be able to do it as I was just about to leave New York. Because of that job you mentioned, I ended up staying in New York
Oh yes, I remember that. It was really funny because I have quite a few Circus Arts instructors on my list but the reason why I thought of you is because you unsubscribed so your name came up in my inbox!
So funny. Meant to be!
So how was it working at that camp in Roslyn, NY?
Well I was really afraid when I found out how many kids there were going to be. I was like - I’m on my own and I don't know how to do this! As much as I wanted to plan, I felt like I couldn't plan too much because I need to get to know them. So it was more improvisation. So the first day I didn’t know what I was going to do so I just went in and got to know them and integrated all of experience and saw what happened. The fist day was the biggest challenge and then I figured out how it was going to work. They were different ages. So I wanted to make sure they could all do no matter how young or old they were I wanted all the kids to be able to participate, whether they were 5, or 9 or 12 years old.
I loved it though. You learn the most from your challenges. You learn from the kids as you are teaching them and then you keep growing as a coach from there. My goal was to plant seeds in their hearts so that when they grow up hopefully it will help them to choose a profession so that if they ever want to be a dancer, acrobat clown etc. they’d have some experience with it. It was very cool when the parents came to watch the presentation at the end. I didn’t know that was part of the program. So I was freaking out because I knew they would behave in a different way because the parents were watching and clapping for them. So that was a very rich experience and the relationships, the love, the hugs, their motivation. That smile on their faces, that’s what I look for as a coach.
What was something that you taught them that you were skeptical that they'd be able to do? Or that you were really inspired to see them accomplish?
The partner work. The first week, they could not do anything at all and then it was amazing to see how fast they were learning things and collaborating in partners. In the beginning i would spot them in handstands and then one day I told them that now they have to spot each other. And they did. That was cool. Seeing them spot one another in handstands. And working together in making pyramids. They didn’t know they were able and capable of doing that. They were surprised and I was surprised as well. Their relationship with each other helped them to succeed. When the parents came to perform I was not on stage. They were just spotting one another They were there by themselves.
Campers learning Circus Arts at Beth Sholom Day Camp Summer 2015
Was there any particular camper that you specifically connected with or remember?
Yea I remember one girl - the first few times we had class, she was like “What’s this?”. She would scoff me. She didn’t help and was constantly complaining. Very negative and not excited to be there. And towards the end she changed completely. She was really proud of what she could do. She saw herself and her friends doing things and she completely changed. I remember her face clearly - she went from scoffing to smiling and saying my name and thanking me so that was a big deal.
Do you have a teacher who was very influential to you?
Yes, my trapeze teacher in circus school. She was very influential for me. During my Cirque du Soleil audition, I fell and she was holding me and everyone was like "Get down! Get down!" I was still hanging from the cable but I wanted to get back up. The casting people from Cirque de Soleil were watching and my teacher just looked at me and didn’t say a word but she knew that I wanted to do it again and we knew each other. I knew what went wrong the first time, so I did it again and it was fine. That communication between me and her was very important for me to achieve that. The trust. She is everything to me.
Who do you admire the most?
A brazilian actress named Malu Mader. She’s my idol. I became an actor because of her. I loved watching her on TV. She came to Cirque de Soleil once as a fan and we became friends. She’s a huge star in Brazil she is the artist that I admire the most.
What do you admire about her?
Everything. I love watching her act. I like how she looks. I don't know how to explain it. She’s going to be in a Tele Novella soon and it’s the only show I’ll watch every single episode of. She knows that she’s my idol. She was in the audience and I saw her and during the trapeze act I had a flower and I gave her a flower and I wrote her a note that said come see me after the show and she came and gave me all her contact info and and we stayed friends. She has over 30 years of experience.
Do you have a training regime that you follow?
I do Ashtanga Yoga. It's a very good way to stay in shape. Because of the breathing and the strength and the flexibility involved. Especially now that I’m not at Cirque, so I have to do it on my own. When I was in Cirque I had those 10 shows a week that's 2 shows per day. That keeps you in shape. I also run outside. And bars - I hang from bars.
Do you train every day?
I’m supposed to do 5 days a week at least. I don’t always but I should. When I was teaching at the camp I would come early and warm up a bit on my own so I was improving my handstands etc.. it's very good to train every day.
Favorite yoga pose?
Handstand! Oh and also Wheel - when you stand and drop back into a wheel pose. It stretches my whole stomach.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start learning Circus Arts?
They should go to Circus School. Any Circus School or Circus classes that they can to discover their body and be aware of what their body is able to do.
Is there an age limit?
It's much easier to start when you are younger because your body grows into the acrobatic work. That wasn’t my case I was already grown up. It's much harder if you start late. Almost everyone says that Circus performers have short lives. But I want to go against that. In my first year at Cirque du Soleil I developed chronic neck arthritis and after 5 years I had shoulder surgeries and then I came back and my neck was really bad because it’s all connected. Eventually I did a special treatment and now I don’t feel pain anymore but I also I don’t hang by my neck anymore. I left without any injuries. I felt great. Some people can't work anymore after a certain point. I found ashtanga yoga helped me to keep my body in shape and avoid injuries. That was my preparation for shows etc. I get breath and air in my body and conscious of the air I have to breathe and everything i need to do to be safe on stage. People say that circus life is short but there are exceptions. And I want to be an exception. There are performers out there who are 80 years old.
What do you do now?
Now I'm in LA. Picking up different jobs. Mostly acting and not as much circus. There's a circus school here and I know the owner but I need to get in touch with him. I’m going to be in a play on Sunday in a small theatre in Hollywood called The Dark Side of the Moon (it's a tribute to Pink Floyd). No lines. All expressive movements. I've done some comic theatre. My most recent project was a music was Music video that came out I play one of the reporters and George Bush. They are pretty famous it's a funny video.
Do you have any new years resolutions or anything you’d like to accomplish by the end of the year
To do a movie.
Any yoga pose you have a goal to do?
That pose where you put your feet behind your head. So you can be your own couch and watch TV like that! Very challenging!
Scenario: You’ve been on this low calorie, health-conscious diet for a few weeks now. You are seeing your desired results and you are getting a hang of this new dietary lifestyle. All seems right and you’re well on your way to goals. But then you notice a lag in your progress and your optimism wavers: you have hit the dreaded plateau.
What is this dreaded plateau; why aren’t you losing weight even though you are following your diet just as strictly as before?
Interesting fact: when you get use to a new diet, so does your body.
Let’s take a step back and ask ourselves why new diets work in the first place: In order to reach a particular body weight or appearance goal, pushing your body out of its comfort zone is how you instigate change.
At the end of the day you eat to survive, and this comfort zone is where your body resides to survive. Food is the fuel for all of your organs to function and it likes to function with the same type and amount of fuel each time. When you change up that fuel perhaps by eating less than usual, your metabolism has to make adjustments to feed those organs properly. How? By using your body’s storage of fat and sugar. This period of adaptation outside of your comfort zone is the goldmine; it’s when you lose weight.
So far you have done just that. But now you have reached a plateau. Your new way of eating is the “new normal”. You have slid back into your body’s new comfort zone, and it is time to jump back out again.
The positive side? It’s time to cheat.
What Does It Mean To Have A Cheat Meal?
“Cheating” often has the connotation of doing something naughty, but in this scenario perhaps it’s better to think of it as simply “mixing it up”. As noted before, if you want your body to change, you have to change what you put into your body. A cheat meal is the extra nudge in your healthy new regimen to keep and body guessing the progress going.
Losing weight through diet is simple in theory: eat less, eat better. “Better” generally refers to clean protein sources, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Therefore in order to “mix it up” we eat a meal high in calories and all macronutrients—protein, carbs, and fat but in a way that would not normally be part of a proper diet plan.
Some FAQs about Cheat Meals:
Time Carefully: Timing is everything. It is recommended to cheat right after an intense workout for maximum use of calories as well as a period of fasting if possible (“Fasting” refers to a period of time when you consume a minimal amount of calories or no calories at all for at least 12 hours).
Don’t Cheat with Junk: It’s a trap! Sure, you can splurge a little but it is by no means time to eat anything and everything. Some food should flat out be avoided, such as trans-fats also known as fake-fats, highly processed and chemical-rich foods, and please try to avoid high fructose corns syrup (and generally any savory products with a type of sugar as one of the first few ingredients). It’s fine to eat non-dietary foods, but keep the real junk at bay. Fat or skinny, big or small, these foods can do a lot of harm and little good.
Plan in Advance: The leading issue with cheating is the likelihood of overeating. Once given permission to indulge we do just that, and naturally it’s hard to put on the breaks. Planning is the answer. Lay out the exact amount of food you plan on eating and ignore the desire to search for second helpings. Try your best to eat slowly as well. Don’t you want to fully enjoy this scrumptious, special meal?
500-1000 Calories: It’s hard to eat more than 1000 calories without overdoing something. If it’s easy to pass that threshold you are most likely consuming some of that junk we talked about and/or are overeating. This also goes hand-in-hand with planning, which includes keeping up with food intake recording (which hopefully you are doing anyway – highly recommended to use the app, MyFitnessPal if not!)
Avoid your Addictions: Have a food you love but know it’s your biggest weakness? Keep it away. It’s a lot harder to stick to your plan if you include this food. Yes, a cheat meal is a great time to munch on something you’ve been missing, but it is not the time to binge on the bad stuff, which you are much more likely to do if it’s your drug of choice. Stay away from “drugs”, everybody!
Protein Always: Cheat meals are often high in carbs but protein is necessary especially if you want to keep the muscles in check after your pre-cheat workout. Make sure to include that clean protein source each time and at least 5oz.
Minimal Alcohol: Sure, alcohol is mostly sugar/carbs and happens to be our brain’s favorite source of fuel (crazy, right?) but you definitely want to avoid racking up alcohol-based calories. Alcohol has no nutritious value and throws your blood sugar off way past the time of your cheat meal. A glass of wine, a beer or a serving of liquor is just fine, but if you want to “party” keep the excessive drinking as a treat for another time. “Cheating” is not synonymous with “Treating”.
Meal vs. Day: Both are only to happen once a week. However, meals are better recommended as opposed to days. This helps you avoid throwing off your week’s hard work. It is unwise to do a cheat day unless you are already extremely lean and fit and/or your goals are specific to such a diet. You’ll find that a single, well planned cheat meal is rather satisfactory in instigating that necessary metabolic jump. It has also shown to be just enough of a mental and physical benefit that you feel ready to get back on the weekly regimented wagon without major cravings.
When it comes to losing weight, cheating is not the devil as long as it is planned out and deemed appropriate according to your dietary regimen. Random acts of binging are always a no no, even if they include your cheat day pre-approved foods. It is not recommended physically or mentally to ever let yourself go crazy on any food.
Do what’s right for your body and your body will do right by you. That includes cheating responsibly.
Eva Lana is the founder and CEO of Bria Body, an integrative whole-body health approach toward health and wellness for new mothers. Eva is a Nutritional Scientist, Certified Personal Trainer and Stress Management/Postpartum Coach. Eva is the nutrition consultant at Bring the Gym to Me. To find out more about Eva or book a session, click here.
Maya is one of BGM's most in demand instructors. She can teach anything from Pilates to Yoga to Zumba and due to her impressive dance background, anything from Hip Hop to Jazz to Modern and more. She exudes charisma and has boundless energy. All of her clients love her. While Maya has been working for Bring the Gym to Me for years, I never really had a chance to sit down with her before and hear what the experience of working for our company has been like from her perspective. It was inspiring and humbling to learn that in addition to keeping our clients active and in shape, my company has concurrently been serving such a pivotal role in her professional career.
Where did you grow up?
Outside of Philadelphia, in the suburbs. 10 minutes away from the city.
Where did you go to school?
I went to the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet as a kid.
Oh wow, so you were into dancing from a really young age…
Yea, I started when I was like 3.. my parents saw that I was always dancing so they put me into ballet and it took off from there.
Do either of your parents dance?
No. But they stay in shape. They both do yoga.
What do they do?
They are psychologists.
Cool. So what came after the Ballet Academy?
When I got older I went to George Mason University for college. That's where I got introduced to Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais etc. All of that stuff was part of my training. We learned anatomy, physiology, kinesiology... so I really got a good sense of the body. Also, you are constantly touching and working with bodies.
From what I understand, in addition to performing dance, you also do choreography, is that right?
Yes, I love to choreograph and create in addition to dancing for other people. I have my own company for this. I choreograph for all kinds of different projects. I recently did the choreography for a Nike commercial for example.
Do you have specific type of dance that you like to choreograph and/or perform?
I like Modern Dance.
What is it about Modern Dance that you like?
I like the athleticism of it. The physicality. The partnering aspect.
I know that you frequently travel around the world to perform. Where are some of the places you've traveled to?
London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Montreal, Bolivia, Costa Rica - to name a few.
Do you have a favorite place?
For dance, I like Brussels. For travel, I love Spain.
And how did you transition into teaching fitness from being trained primarily as a performance artist?
All my teachers at George Mason were saying that a great side job for dance is to be a personal trainer/teach fitness. Then I went to Brussels and was dancing in Brussels and then came back to New York. When I got back, I didn't want to do a waitressing job or anything like that. So my friend Nancy - remember Nancy?
Oh yea, that's how we originally met! That's right..
Yea, I had friend Nancy who was working for you. She and I were in the same dance company. And one day she asked if I wanted a side job and I said yes. So I subbed for one of her kids yoga classes she had through your company and that's how I got introduced to you and you started sending me more work. I soon realized that while I am able to teach kids, my real passion is in teaching adults.
So was Bring the Gym to Me you first experience with teaching?
I had taught a bunch of dance before, but for general fitness, yes Bring the Gym to Me was my first teaching job. In the very beginning, I asked a lot of my friends who had been teaching for awhile for advice and pointers. I also took a lot of very intense classes and would pick out the things I liked from those classes to teach. At this point, I now teach the type of class that I would want to take.
How do you feel that your teaching style has evolved?
I think I'm a lot clearer and I think I'm able to personalize it more to the client. Like for example if I client wants to specifically work on her lower half, or has wrist issues, or uses her neck too much in sit ups... I can cater the classes specifically to their needs at this point.
What types of things do you tend to emphasize in your classes?
It's important to me that they know the proper form. I don't want people to just do what I say, I want them to actually learn how to use their bodies. I like to teach clients about their bodies. Like it's cool, the other night I saw one of my longer standing clients and she said to me "oh my pelvis feels a little twisted.." It's nice to hear them talk about their hamstrings and their triceps... they are much more body aware than when they started. It's really cool to see how their form changes. For example, I have a class with women in their 40's and in the beginning, their alignment was pretty out of whack and I'd be yelling at them a lot to fix it and now they are in better shape than like 22 year olds.
Oh yea. They look great. And they aren't complaining of back pain and other things that a lot of other people their age tend to.
What makes your classes unique?
I like to incorporate my dance background into my classes, so it's not just pilates or yoga or toning.. there is an added element of intensity that comes from my background. I like the dancer body because it's strong and lean and full body. Instead of focusing on just one body part I think that's why clients like what I do because it's full body and it gives them the long lean lines that they want instead of just bulking up in certain areas like some other exercise styles might do.
Do you have a personal workout regime?
I do ballet, hot yoga and pilates. I like the high intensity that's involved with pilates - getting strong. Most of the classes I go to are taught by other instructor friends of mine who teach at various studios around NY. We work out an exchange - I teach for them and they in turn teach me. Teaching for and learning from other instructors keeps things fresh.
How long have you been working for Bring the Gym to Me?
Oh it's been awhile... I think like 3-4 years now?
Yea that seems right... wow time flies. What do you like about working for us?
I like the fact that at this point, Bring the Gym to Me has grown so much that I can pick my own clients. Depending on who I feel I'd enjoy teaching best. I like the flexibility of the job. That I can still fit in my dance rehearsal schedules around the classes that I teach. I love seeing concrete results in my clients. I feel like I'm really helping them. It's a nice feeling to really see that. It's nice as a teacher to see over a couple of months how a client has progressed. If I were teaching at a gym, I'd just be having random clients come in all the time and I wouldn't have that same personal connection with them. Also, I like working for you (Sarede, Bring the Gym to Me owner) since you are so respectful and flexible with my periodic travel schedule. It's nice. It's a good fit.
Can you share a success story of one of your clients that was especially moving for you?
Well, I was recently invited to a client's son's Bar Mitzvah. And all these people were coming up to me raving about how amazing she looked. And she was really proud to show me off to her friends. It was a very cool feeling. And it was so nice to see how she was holding herself. In the beginning when I first started working with her she was slouching a lot and now when I see her she stands really tall and looks so healthy. It was so nice to see her look so great and see how everyone noticed and how proud she was of herself. That was a nice feeling.
Do you have any advice that you regularly give to your clients?
Working with me is a good start but it's not enough. To really see concrete results, you really need to have health and fitness be your lifestyle. You need to eat healthy and do some kind of regular cardio in addition to working with me.
How do you motivate a client who isn't motivated? Or complains that the workout is too hard?
I yell at them! I mean, they need to want to be there. I'm not going to force someone... Most of them want to get healthy and want to get better. It's all about getting them in the right mindset, keeping a positive attitude. Making things go fast. If things drag along too slowly, they'll get bored and lose the mindset. You need to keep it at an intense pace and keep it fast and interesting, for yourself also. Because it's boring to do the same type of thing over and over again. I need to find ways to make it interesting for myself and look at each body differently and keep them intrigued in showing them the right form. Also, playing the right music helps.
Do you have a favorite fitness exercise that you would recommend to people reading this?
I think side plank is the best full body thing to do. I love side planks. They are really hard and tone the full body. They strengthen the back as well as the abs. It's a real 360 body toner.
Do you have any New Years Resolutions for 2016?
To have fun, travel, eat good food. Be involved in cool dance projects. To cross train more. To do more cardio. And to just keep doing what I'm doing.
Do you have any final message for your clients or for people who are looking to get in better shape?
I don't like when clients say they want to lose weight. That really bothers me. I really want them to know they'll look better and feel better if they just focus on getting in shape. Like, I don't remember the last time I weighed myself. I don't own a scale. It's about lining your bones up in the right way. Doing ab work, doing some stretching, eating well, walking a lot. I don't want them to be telling me about pounds or anything like that. I just want them to be healthy.
Check out this nice note and picture we got from the Ganeinu Preschool in Queens at the end of the last school year. The classes are still going strong and Jennifer loves working with these kids as much as they love her!