Manhattan Beach Pier, California
“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” – Bruce Lee
What’s better than a day at the beach? Well, how about a day at the beach with the cutest kids on Instagram, Stella and Blaise, and my two favorite yogis, Amanda Lee Murphy and Rian Basilio! Now, you combine that with the beauty and athleticism of AcroYoga, and it’s a day made in heaven.
The inspiration behind the shoot was the Onzie brand which I recently was fortunate to discover. Having recently moved, one of the first new neighbors I met works for Onzie and showed me the line. I was blown away by the distinctive designs and they also had yoga attire for little girls! It didn’t take me long to connect with Onzie who generously offered to sponsor the shoot and sent a package full of goodies. If you are a new customer at Onzie, lucky you! Use the coupon code NEWCUSTOMER for 10% off. Practicing yoga is very special to me and practicing in style seems to take my practice to another level.
Perhaps like many of you, I came into yoga later in life. I began practicing in my early forties having been a lifelong runner. The constant pounding took a toll on my joints and after serious knee issues, I began to explore gentler ways of getting in shape. The beauty of yoga is in the inner world. Yoga is designed to create space within you. The continual contraction and expansion in the yogic realm is a beautiful means of creating sacred space within you which you then intend to be filled with something positive for your highest good.
I’ll be honest. The day we met for the shoot, I wasn’t feeling on top of my game. It’s always a little nerve wracking when my energy is off for a shoot, particularly an athletic one like AcroYoga. Stella and Blaise pulled up in the car with their darling Mom, Dana. One look at these two, with an added dose of the giggles, and my energy instantly shifted! Those two are always high energy and they tumbled out of the car and joined me in the studio. Suzy Nece, the delightful yogi owner of the Yogaloft in Manhattan Beach, opened the studio for a warm up session. Suzy is a little ball of sunshine with a wicked sense of humor. Yogaloft takes its vibe from her with it’s birdseye view of the ocean and a tribe of the kindest yogis around.
A typical yoga session begins with a warm up to gradually prepare your body to go deeper in the poses. AcroYoga is a form of yoga that combines athleticism and strength with the beauty and balance of yoga. As it’s all about the poses, the body must be properly heated to allow the muscles to expand in order to hold the poses. Stella and Blaise couldn’t wait to join in the fun. After a little stretching and warming up in the studio, it was time to hit the beach and I couldn’t wait to get started. These two had us all busting out in laughter in no time. Now, it was time to introduce them to Acroyoga!
So, what the heck is AcroYoga anyway? Oftentimes called the “Yoga of Trust,” Acroyoga.org defines it as “AcroYoga blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of healing arts.” That pretty much sums up the experience. My own journey through Acroyoga has been one of personal empowerment. It’s an amazing way of developing self confidence by stretching yourself and your abilities and expanding your personal belief system. It’s not about defying gravity but rather honoring gravity. Technique is every bit as important as the strength. It’s a beautiful means of giving and receiving and learning self trust while also trusting your partner.
Amanda came with a fun idea to start. As yoga is all about love and compassion, we joined together to spell out the word L O V E. Decked out in fabulous Onzie style, Amanda chose the black Chic Bra and the black Fierce striped legging. I selected the white Briana bra and paired it with the white Fierce legging. Rian, who amazingly has only been practicing yoga for one year, chose a long sleeved Tshirt and board shorts in the coziest fabrics. Stella was so precious when I handed her the Onzie outfit. She exclaimed “Is that for me?” … “Do I get to keep it?” This was quickly followed by an astonished expression stating, “No way!” Like any young girl, Stella loves pretty clothes and she was prancing around in her new Onzie attire. She’s wearing the Youth Scoop Back Top in sky blue with the sweetest leggings. It’s amazing how your energy changes when you feel beautiful! And this gang was feeling awesome in fabulous Onzie style! The fabric is soft and silky while also form fitting and figure flattering. With a variety of unique designs, there’s something for every yogi on your list. As Onzie has yet to venture into young boy’s clothing, Blaise arrived in style wearing sweatpants from Crazy 8 and the coolest t shirt from Hunt West Clothing saying “I’m the Real Workout.” Perhaps the truest statement of the day!
We tried out a variety of poses. In acro, someone is the “base” while the other is the “flyer.” Stella, Blaise, and I were ready to fly high trusting in Amanda and Rian to provide a strong foundation. The beauty of Acro is in building trust both within yourself and with your partner. As Stella and Blaise were new to Acro, it really did take a little time to build some trust. Having two strangers hoist you up in the air can be disconcerting, especially for children. Rian is a natural with children and began tossing the kids up in the air. They were having an absolute ball and were ready to give Acro their best shot. We began with some simple poses to build confidence and accomplishment, leading into more challenging feats of athleticism. Stella was a superstar easing into backbends and flying in the poses in no time flat. The trick to Acro is tensing every single muscle in your body to get into the poses and to stay in the poses. It takes a tremendous amount of energy. We had an absolute blast, laughing, falling down and rolling in the sand. We decided to head under the Pier as the sun was streaming through and creating a wonderful effect.. We were lucky to hit it at exactly the right moment as Rian struck his superhuman pose quickly earning a wide eyed reaction from sweet Stella and Blaise, as well as some bystanders who had gathered to watch! Amanda and I had a ball with our handstands and playing around with the kids. Thank goodness, Dana, was around the corner with a bag filled with goodies to toss the kids a little treat along the way.
It was getting late, and frankly, my 55 year old body was toast after an afternoon with these diehard yogis and these two little spitfires with boundless energy. It was time to call it a day and what a day it was! Amanda and Rian are the most loving instructors with hearts of gold and the patience of a saint. Whenever my energy needs a boost, all I need to do is head to the Yogaloft, enter the studio, and feel peace and serenity instantly return. Thanks to Amanda and Rian for a fabulous day. And to Dana for sharing your beautiful children with me. You can find Stella and Blaise on Instagram @stellaandblaise and on YouTube. Thank you so much Onzie for providing such fantastic outfits and use the coupon code NEWCUSTOMER for 10% off their amazing designs.
Amanda is on Instagram as @spin_yin and Rian is @lovetrafficker. No doubt, we will be back soon. Upon leaving, Stella and Blaise shouted, “That was fun!” No kidding…seriously, no kidding. Cheers beauties. Get out and stretch your limits…both on the inside and on the outside.