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Inspired Beyond the Mat with Emily Shapiro: Closed Set with Julie Bensman

I've written before about yoga and how it’s helped me to find balance in my crazy, fashion-fueled, oft-materialistic (oft-unfairly pegged) professional life. What I've neglected to mention is some insight into one particular lady who's helped me find that ohm outlet.

Emily Shapiro

Emily Shapiro had me at Cold War Kids. Mid-tree pose, I smiled slightly when I heard the first notes of "Hang Me Up To Dry" soon to be followed by The Shins, Austra, and Depeche Mode. I had to restrain myself from bringing my iPhone into class to Shazam her songs; instead, I just asked her post-posing and so, a yogi friendship began.

Aside from randomly going to middle school with my ex-boyfriend, it turns out Emily and I had more than music in common: I was familiar with her website, Love + Kale, and it seemed we saw eye-to-third-eye on several other things.

One of the many benefits of yoga is awakening all of your senses, tapping into parts of your body and mind you might not consciously think about on a daily basis. In that vein (and wanting to profile a generally rad person), I asked Emily about the five things that inspire her every day:

What she hears: 

I've been listening to the same music since middle school: Bjork, PJ Harvey, NIN, Elliott Smith, Radiohead… Anything new I hear is from "I heart you/I like you" mix CDs. So, from this, I've fallen deeply in love with Active Child and La Roux. Also, when I hear any music now, I think, "Hmm, could I play this in a yoga class?" 

What she sees: 

I'm a comedian so most of my nights are spent at the Magnet Theater in Chelsea. The Magnet has the best classes and shows in improv and sketch comedy — and I'm not just biased because I work and perform there. It's a wonderful place with great shows and great people. It doesn't get better than this. Have I sold you yet? 

If I'm not in the city, the only place I want to be is in Nosara, Costa Rica. I've spent a good amount of time there for the past three winters. It's a dream. In fact, why don't you come with me?! I'm co-leading a yoga and comedy retreat (my two favorite things) in January. Check it:

What she smells: 

I like the smell of baking bread. Yes, I eat bread.

What she tastes: 

I'm biased to the delicious, local, organic, vegan cuisine of Candle Café because I worked there for a million years. As far as vegan fare goes, it's the best, although if I were rich, I'd eat at Pure Food and Wine all the time. 

What she feels: 

My "jobs" are filled with teaching yoga and comedy, two things built around creating a positive, feel-good experience for others. It's the best feeling in the world to have a yoga student tell you they've enjoyed your class and, as a comedian, to create laughter. Having said that, it doesn't come easy. Regardless of whatever I've been through or continue to go through, I try to live everyday by this: Do things you love and be around people who make you feel good.