Solstice in Times Square 2016


Every year thousands of people from all over the world travel to NYC to participate in the annual Solstice in Times Square Mind Over Madness Yoga event. As an avid yogi, I have been wanting to attend this event for some time but it often falls on Father’s Day so I am always out of town with my dad.

As I was heading back to the city the day after Father’s Day, I saw photos online about the Solstice event only to discover that it was taking place on the day of my return. I just happened to pack a set of workout clothes in my bag so made my way straight to Times Square upon my arrival.

In yoga, we work to find peace amidst chaos which for many people can be quite a challenge to do in a place that is often packed with tourists, giant Elmo’s, a naked cowboy, and city traffic with honking horns. During the hour long class however, I felt a sense of peace, calm, and it seemed as if I were in a quiet space. I believe the feeling was simply the result of me focusing on my breath, closing my eyes, and absorbing the energy of the large group of yogis surrounding me. I don’t remember even hearing a single horn, siren, or people yelling until after the class had ended.

So skip ahead to my favorite part…the free food!! I went from vendor to vendor getting samples of snack bars, smoothies, “skinny” popcorn, and gluten free crackers that taste like tree bark and rabbit food (not that I know what either tastes like). There was also a section where participants could have their photos taken doing their favorite yoga poses. I enjoyed watching people trying to figure out which poses to do and friends laughing with each other as they took photos practicing together. 

Just then a photographer looked at me and said, “I love your hair. Would you mind if I took a few pictures of you?” “Ok,” I responded. Good thing I was prepared with a cute outfit and a mani pedi! Before I leave the house I always think if I were in an accident of some sort and the paramedics had to remove my clothing, my legs should always be shaved, bikini waxed, I should be wearing sexy undies, and have a fierce mani pedi. I mean, what if I’m sent to a hospital to see a hot doctor?? I can’t be seen wearing sweat pants and sneakers…absolument pas!!

So anyway, I start flowing through a sequence of poses for the photographer while tourists on the sidelines stop to take photos as well. Suddenly, this random guy starts yelling at me about how he loves my hair etc. I politely thank him and continue with my impromptu photo shoot but he continues yelling obnoxiously until security guards eventually tell him to leave. Then I remembered… I’m in Times Square!

*Fin

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Women’s Health Mag: Street Style

  
Check out my Street Style feature in the December issue of Women’s Health Magazine!

 http://www.womenshealthmag.com/style/street-style-angilique-campbell

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Reflection: Good Friends

  
|| L I F T || Build positive relationships and surround yourself with friends that support, encourage, celebrate, inspire, and lift you higher!

In the past few weeks while nursing an overuse injury, I have been reminded of how fortunate I am to have such wonderful friends. Two of my physical therapist friends have worked on me and helped me to recover. One of my yoga teachers gave me massages, let me borrow a portable massager that I use everyday, and also gave me a book with restorative poses to practice.

As I have regained strength and my pain has decreased, another friend and personal trainer gave me a boxing lesson that was just the right level of intensity for a workout that would not injure me.

How lucky am I?? I am not in luck though honestly because I picked these people to be my friends! Just as we can make healthy diet and exercise choices to take care of our bodies, we can also decide who we surround ourselves with that will enhance our lives.

It is no surprise that studies show that good friendships have a positive impact on our health. Look around you and make sure that you are in good company. The best friends are those that boost your mood, self esteem, and encourage healthy behaviors.

Get rid of negative and toxic people in your life asap! Kick them to the curb! There is absolutely nothing mean or selfish about eliminating people and relationships that do not serve you well. Love yourself enough to make the choices that are best for you.

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Photo by Masha Creative for Nóli Yoga 2015

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Move of the Day: Hundred

  
|| HUNDRED || Hundred is my move of the day and is a classical Pilates exercise that helps to tone your abs! Adding a set of 2lb dumbbells makes this move even more challenging for the core, and it will help to create lean, sexy arms too!

Benefits:

• Strengthens and tones the abdominals.

• Warms up the entire body and increases blood flow.

• Tones the arms and upper body.

• Coordinates breath with movement.

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1 — Start by lying supine with arms by the sides holding the dumbbells, and knees into the chest. Engage the abdominals by pulling the belly button in and curl the head and shoulders off the mat.
2 — Extend the legs out to a high diagonal with the heels together and toes apart in a Pilates “V.” Lift the arms above the level of the hips and begin pumping up and down vigorously, as you inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts.

3 — Repeat x10 and that makes 100!

4 — Hug the knees into your chest and lower the head and shoulders onto the mat. Move the head from side to side to relax the neck.

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Tips: Keep the body still as you pump the arms by engaging the abdominals throughout the exercise. For more of a challenge, lower the legs closer to the floor, but only as far as you can keep the abdominal engagement without arching the back.

Modifications: If you are a beginner, practice this exercise without dumbbells and start with the legs in a tabletop position, knees bent above the hips and feet lifted as high as the knees. If that is too challenging, you can also perform the exercise with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor. 
If you have any neck issues, do this exercise with the head down and use a small pillow or towel for extra support if needed.

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Photo by Sherry Dubash at KZP

Tights by Splits59

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Reflection: Breathe

  
|| BREATHE || Today was one of those days where absolutely nothing was going according to my plans and everything seemed to be going wrong. It is those days that I remind myself to breathe, to make changes, to adapt, to look for the lessons that I am suppose to learn, and to recognize that everything is actually going right.

Rather than sleeping in on weekends, I wake up early to take yoga. It feels good to move, to stretch, to meditate, and to breathe. Post yoga I typically go to my local coffee shop sometimes for up to 3hrs, where I read, write, organize my schedule, make plans, and work on new projects. Then I feel like I have plenty of time during the day to do other things like go to brunch, run errands, cook etc. 

On Sunday, I woke up and headed to morning yoga only to be turned away because the class was filled to capacity. I was bummed that I was missing one of my favorite classes and that I would have to change my plans for the day. However, I told myself to breathe and decided that instead of being upset, that I would just look forward to taking an afternoon class instead. So, I went back home, had breakfast, FaceTimed with a friend, showered, and started to organize my schedule and tackle my “To Do” list.

The afternoon came and once again I made my way to class. This time around, the class was full but everyone was able to participate, including a little girl that looked to be about 8yrs old. Five minutes into the class, the little girl stood still looking at her mom, clearly not understanding or enjoying the practice. Her mom decided to take her out, along with another family member. They walked across people’s mats, got their bags, took turns using the bathroom, and stood in the back of the studio talking. After a while the teacher asked them if they needed help with anything, as their exit was disruptive and seemed to be taking quite some time. They said they were fine and so they left, allowing the room to be quiet, except for the voice of the teacher, and the sounds of our breath.

Just as I was enjoying the peaceful vibe of the room, a phone started to ring. Of all the ringtones available, I’m pretty sure this one was the most obnoxious and set at the highest volume possible. It’s that one you pick when you know you have to wake up early and there’s no way you’ll sleep through it. The teacher asked for the phone to be turned off but no one moved to do so. A few minutes later, the phone started to ring again. This time the teacher took the bag, put it in a back closet, and shut the door. Finally, we had quiet once again, until another phone began to ring.

‘This is a $h!t show!’ I thought. Here I am coming to yoga for peace, and it seems like there’s nothing but chaos. The guy in front of me almost kicked me in my face in a few times in a downdog split, as he clearly lacked coordination and spatial awareness. Also, the content of the class was very basic as if it was an “Intro to Yoga” class, and I really wanted to flow. That’s when I thought, ‘I guess I’ll just breathe.’

When the class was finished, I thanked my teacher and left feeling a bit unsatisfied. I looked online to see if I could find another class and saw one listed at a studio that I had never been to before. I booked it and quickly went to the train to commute. I stood on the platform waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the train to come. Weekend train service can sometimes be delayed so I hoped that the train would come in time for me to make it to class. Finally, it did and I got on and sat down. A couple stops later, a big guy came on and said, “Excuse me,” as he squeezed himself in between myself and another passenger. ‘Is this dude seriously tryna fit his big a$$ into a small seat not caring that he’s making other people uncomfortable?!” I thought. In addition, he smelled like a mixture of heavy cologne, cigarettes, and funk. I told myself to breathe.

As I got off the train, I ran up the steps trying to make it to my class on time. Just then, it started to rain heavily. I fumbled, digging into my bag looking for my umbrella, dodging puddles and crowded sidewalks, and rushing to the studio. I checked in at the front desk, threw my bag and clothes in a locker, set up my mat in the classroom, and began to flow. The class was wonderful and felt so good. It was just what I had wanted and even more for the morning class that didn’t happen, for the afternoon class that was basic, for the delayed train, and for the uncomfortable commute.

It was so nice to discover a new studio and teacher, to meet and have locker room conversations with new people, and even to run into an old friend from a gym that I use to go to.

Although my day did not go according to my plans, everything worked out in a good way as it often does. Life happens to all of us and things will not always go the way we plan. Though there are many lessons to take away from this story, I am choosing to focus on the breath. Regardless of the outcome of a situation, be it a good or not so satisfying one, I choose to be calm and I choose to breathe. If ever you have a day where it seems as though everything is going wrong, know that it is going right and as one of my teachers says, “All you have to do is breathe.”

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Photo by Simon McDermott-Johnson

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Behind the Scenes: Simon McDermott-Johnson











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