Jessica Biel‘s the kinda girl who makes doing single-leg, weighted pistol squats on a box look easy. Despite having a badass affinity for doing strength training—and running around after her 3-year-old son—the actress, who just released a new (super-chic) capsule collection with yoga brand Gaiam (which is launching this week at Bloomingdales, Bandier, Macy’s and on Gaiam.com) also loves to do workouts that are on the chiller side sometimes. Like, you know, yoga.
While most exercises require working your body so hard that you’re essentially panting, yoga is all about the opposite—something that appeals to Biel, especially when she’s looking for a whole-body refresh.
“There are so many things that I love about yoga,” Biel tells me when I ask her about one of her fave workouts. “Mainly the breath that comes with practicing. The Ujjayi breath, which is this deep breathing through your nose, oxygenates your body on a level that I feel like doesn’t happen when you’re circuit training or in a spin class. Typically you’re out of breath, as opposed to bringing in the breath like you do in yoga.”
Of course, within the yoga practice are all sorts of positions—some of which can be annoying to hold (chair pose, anyone?). Then there are the ones you look forward to—you know, like savasana. As for her personal bendy preferences? “I love hip-openers,” says Biel. “I love lizard, and I like all of the standing poses that are really hip-activated, like warrior two, reverse warrior, and runner’s lunge. I love holding all of those poses where it activates your hips and your lower half.”
Hip-openers are super beneficial, especially considering most people spend the day parked on a seat. Not only that, but a lot of your emotions get stored in your hips (hence why pigeon pose, for example, can make ya cry)—so it’s really good to open them up for release.
“At the end of it when you’re laying in savasana, you’re high. My mind is calm, my body feels supported, nothing hurts—everything feels elongated. For me, it’s a combination of the physical, mental, and the energy,” she says. If that doesn’t make you wanna unfurl your mat and get bendy, I don’t know what will.
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