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Barry’s Bootcamp’s Joey Gonzalez on his new obsession: yoga

Joey Gonzalez
Joey Gonzalez at Barry’s Bootcamp in Chelsea.

You may think Barry’s Bootcamp Chief Operating Officer and bad-ass trainer Joey Gonzalez would turn his nose up at anything that doesn’t involve heavy weights.

Think again. In between blood-pumping sweat sessions, Gonzalez has been popping upstairs to Yogamaya, a (conveniently located) studio where’s he’s been working on developing a new skill set—flexible hamstrings and the ability to teach trikonasana. “I use to practice yoga in my early 20s,” Gonzalez says. “It’s been a gift to have it back in my life and give some love to my body and soul. Bryn [Chrisman] and Stacey [Brass] at Yogamaya have made this experience enriching and fun!”

We checked in with the unlikely yogi to find out why he’s taking the time to roll out a mat.

So, why did you decide to take up yoga? It was a really simple moment. For months I had been trying deep stretching exercises in studios across town, and yoga was my favorite. I began considering learning and experiencing more on the academic front. Then, one day, I was face down on a massage table and the therapist noted my tightness. He commented, “You know, the key to youth is to have open hips. You should start doing yoga.” It was a brilliant message that I was suppose to hear at that moment in my life. Yoga is kind of like that. Signs just appear out of nowhere and your intuition takes over. I’ve had several mini what-was-I-thinking moments as I balance running a company with a 200-hour certification process and nightly homework. But I believe this is an important exploration. (Then there’s also just the fun shock value on people’s faces when I tell them what I’m up to.)

yogamaya new york yoga studio in Chelsea
Yogamaya, where Gonzales is getting certified to teach yoga, is virtually upstairs from Barry’s Bootcamp.

Ha! And does the yoga complement your Barry’s workouts? Yes, at Barry’s Bootcamp, you get everything you need to condition a strong heart, build lean muscle tissue and a fast metabolism, and improve your bone density and overall strength. It’s truly remarkable and an effective use of time. There are some very important and serious reasons why people, no matter their workout, should be implementing stretching and flexibility into their regimen. I find that since the majority of our exercises are forward moving, I have so much strength and a good amount of flexibility in my frontal muscles, i.e., quads, abdominals, etc. On the other hand, when I try and bend over to touch my feet, the tightness in my hamstrings throughout my sacrum and lower back is extremely limiting. Yoga is my physical therapy to eliminate this tightness and create some space.

Barry’s is all about loud music and fast movements. Is it hard to slow down and do yoga? Absolutely. Practicing asana is suppose to be your time to disconnect from the world and and hang in the truth of what is real and important. Although I was originally attracted to the physical aspects, I’ve found myself falling in love with the idea that this time can serve more than one purpose. And Type A personalities like me can really stand to benefit from yoga. However, the opposite is also true: I can’t tell you how often I want to drag some of the people in my yoga class downstairs to boot camp. It’s all about finding a balance and not getting too complacent. Your workout should continue to challenge and humble you. —Lisa Elaine Held

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