Even in a super saturated city, there's always that one teacher that everyone agrees is awesome, from truly knowing their stuff to a sparkling personality and endless energy. For many fitness enthusiasts in Los Angeles, that's Carly Lind. Also a professional performer, the Shelton, CT, native has won the hearts (and bods!) of her students not only with her knowledge, but also with her compassionate, individualized approach.
The daughter of a dancer and gymnast, Lind started dancing at age three, so fitness naturally became a huge part of her life, especially as she managed 30 hours of dance training a week.
After going to college for singing and songwriting, she found her way to Los Angeles, where she started going to Hot 8 Yoga. She fell in love with it, and when her mom noticed, she pushed her to do the barre teacher training program. Nerves kept Lind from actually teaching for six months, but after branching out, she added yoga sculpt training, filling in whenever the studio needed her. Since yoga felt similar to dance, Lind started to find her groove.
Now, she's fully in that swing, teaching regularly at various studios. Check out what the upbeat, diverse instructor has to say about taking (and teaching) yoga, her own top tools for wellness and how to use compassion and kindness to fuel your workouts—and life.
SBS: What and where do you currently teach?
Carly Lind: My home studio has and will always be Hot 8 Yoga. I currently teach barre on Wednesdays and Fridays at the Sherman Oaks location. I also teach yoga sculpt Tuesdays at White Heat Yoga in North Hollywood, and I occasionally sub at Evoke Yoga DTLA where my teaching career really started.
SBS: What are the different branches of your work? How are they intertwined?
CL: Teaching barre and yoga has helped me in my singing career immensely. As a teacher you have to be able to get up in front of a class and give people your energy, and not care what people think while doing it. When it comes to getting up to sing and perform, I needed that training, and it's crazy how they’ve intertwined. My confidence level has gone up and I don't mind talking to a crowd. I feel at home in front of people now.
SBS: How would you describe your teaching style?
CL: My teaching style is upbeat. I love mixing my dance background in with my barre and sculpt training, so there is a lot of leg and booty involved.
I like to mix in not only the physical challenge, but the mental as well. Train your brain when it comes to discipline in the classroom so that you can bring those tools outside the classroom into your everyday life. Do you squirm when it gets uncomfortable or do you fight through it? The louder the music, the better, and I always give a disclaimer that I will be playing ratchet, inappropriate music because it makes me feel like a boss! I like to keep it real in those settings, and I remind everyone that I’m only there to suggest things; you are there to make the choice for yourself about how difficult you want the class to be. Choices are everything, and expression is necessary.
SBS: What do you think those new to yoga should look for in a yoga teacher? What are some red flags to avoid?
CL: I think you should always be in tune with whether the teacher can give you options and adjustments when it comes to those with injuries. Are they knowledgeable and are they aware of what is happening in their classroom? I don’t like when teachers make students do something; not everyone is going to come up to me before class and tell me every injury they are working with. So, who am I to tell them how to listen to their own body?
SBS: What obstacles are the biggest in front of people trying yoga for the first time, as well as for those continuing on? What about for yoga teachers?
CL: I think people have this mentality that they have to be flexible and 'good' at yoga. No one is 'good,' and the point of going to take class is to attain flexibility. You would never go into something new thinking you’re going to be a master at it in the first class, right? Getting out of your head is definitely something we all can work on, whether it be a beginner or advanced or a teacher.
SBS: What were happy surprises and obstacles along your yoga path?
CL: The people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting has been the biggest take-away. Some of my students have become major key players in my life, including my music manager. I also don’t think I would have gotten through both my parents passing away two years apart without being able to take yoga and being surrounded by so many awesome communities around town.
SBS: What tools, emotional and practical, helped you move forward?
CL: Yoga has taught me so much about myself and life:
-If you show up every day, you will see progress. That helped me realize I needed to apply that to my goals and dreams.
-Remove the ego, and get rid of the need to win, be right or show off.
-Breathing is everything.
-Spending alone time is necessary.
-Yoga has helped me realize that not everything is that serious or deserves my energy to get worked up over. I’m much more relaxed and calm. Letting go has been one of the best things I’ve ever learned how to do.
SBS: What's your own health and wellness routine, and how has it evolved?
CL: I recently changed my diet, and I'm now meal prepping every week. I eat six small meals a day to help fuel me for the highly demanding physical schedule I lead. Not only am I teaching, but I also am a professional dancer taking at least five classes a week. I float back and forth between yoga and lifting weights every so often to keep my body in check, but also because I like to try new things. My trainer J (of JRo Fitness), who I see three times a week, is amazing and is so creative with his weight training workouts, so I'm never bored. One thing I will always encourage is, don’t just go, go, go. Always take the time to slow down. It’s something I have had to work on over the years, but rest days are necessary, and I now invest in a massage therapist at least once a month for a tune-up. Take care of yourself.
Carly's SBS Mantra: Be Kind. I think over the years I have experienced such loss, I really empathize with people. Be kind because you truly have no idea what is happening in someone’s life, what’s going on in their brain and why they act the way they do. I try to give most people the benefit of the doubt if they maybe aren’t in a great mood or having a bad day, because I have been in dark places. I think be bright, be the light and show people love, even if they aren’t to you, because all you can do is love. You can’t make anyone feel or change something, but you can be supportive and be kind to help them be open to that idea.
The best, zaniest part of being Carly: I truly don’t care what anyone thinks, and I will act a fool anywhere and everywhere. I am the first to dance in public and help others be free in the process, because life is short, and you should live it free.
Carly's LA Faves:
Splurge Restaurant: Madeo
Healthy Restaurant: SunCafe in Studio City
Nightlife Spot: The Baked Potato jazz club
Fun Activity: Anything with virtual reality or Six Flags America
Calming Activity: Writing songs at my apartment
Fitness Studio: The District Sports Performance in Glendale
Yoga Studio: Hot 8 Yoga or SoHo Yoga
Athletic wear: Koral
Athletic Shoes: Nike