Chrissy Carter, Yoga Teacher & Foodie

on debunking yoga myths, her favorite recipe and how to live your practice

 Credit: Manduka

Credit: Manduka

I first met Chrissy Carter at a YogaWorks teacher training information night back in the fall and knew from her energy and passion for the craft, that I had to learn from her.  Now, a graduate of the intensive teaching program she lead in January (see post), I can tell you that she truly is a beautiful soul.  As someone who inspires and mentors me, I'm excited to introduce you her.  

What initially drew you to practicing yoga?

I started practicing yoga because I was stressed out and it was having a  negative impact on my life. I was working on Wall Street at the time, exactly where I thought I “should” be, but not at all where I was supposed to be. To be honest, I had no idea where I was supposed to be, but I just knew that something had to change. This disconnection created an overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety in my life. Yoga asana re-connected me to my body, but really, to myself. My yoga practice ended up completely changing the entire trajectory of my life. 

Yoga cultivates an okayness with what is. It helps us come to a place of acceptance and peace with the fact that sometimes things are just not okay.

You’ve debunked so many myths about the practice during our teacher training.  What’s your favorite myth about yoga to debunk?

I love demystifying some of the common myths about yoga. I want to empower students with the tools to investigate their own practice and understand the whys behind what they’re practicing. Right now I’m most passionate about debunking the myth that yoga is some magic pill that will solve all of your problems. Yoga cultivates an okayness with what is. It helps us come to a place of acceptance and peace with the fact that sometimes things are just not okay. We can’t always change our external circumstances, but we can learn how to change our relationship to the obstacles on our path. 

Which Yoga Sutra speaks is most relatable to you right now and why? 

I always circle back to Sutra 2.1 because it talks about the three elements of yoga in practice: compassionate self-study, tolerance, and surrender. While self-study and tolerance are both active practices, surrender is, by definition, an act of letting go and it’s the one I struggle with the most. To surrender asks us to relinquish control and place our faith in something bigger than ourselves—the process, grace, Life, God . . . whatever it is that inspires you to hand over the final outcome and trust that, no matter what, You are going to be okay. 

As a foodie, what’s your favorite recipe?

beef-stew

That’s such a hard question! There are so many! If I had to choose right now I would have to say Boeuf Bourguignon. I’ve played with Julia Child’s classic recipe a lot over the years and it has slowly become my own. One of my favorite things about cooking is how a recipe evolves with practice—you take on someone else’s understanding of a dish but with practice you slowly begin to discover it for yourself. This recipe has been such a journey for me, and when I make it I feel like my heart and soul are in that pot, submerged in wine, simmering on the stove. God, now I’m hungry.

What does your daily food diary look like?

I typically start my day with eggs. The protein satiates me physically and energetically, carrying me happily through the morning. If I eat lunch at home, I’ll either make a sandwich or a quinoa bowl with avocado and anything else I have sitting in my fridge. I eat lunch out in the city a lot, so I’ve had to learn how to find nourishing food on the go. I’m currently obsessed with the french lentil bowl at Bombay Sandwich Co. It has just the right amount of heat, spice and veggies to satisfy me on every level! We love to cook dinner at home. I try keep it simple: a hearty pasta with sautéed vegetables, a roast chicken, or soup and a salad (Billy doesn’t eat anything green—don’t get me started—so I’m the only one eating salads in my house). 

When it comes to food, I think it’s important to be honest with yourself. It’s about more than just making the right choice; it’s about making the right choice for you. Sometimes I feel like we’re all trying to eat the same thing. Even the best food philosophy may not be the right fit If it doesn’t create harmony in your body and mind.

Favorite places to eat and play in NYC?

I love to just wander around the city and see where I end up. Exploring a new street, browsing little shops, or grabbing coffee at a local cafe energizes and inspires me. Life is so full of plans, so it’s a true luxury not to have any. I love the Union Square Green Market and I could spend hours at ABC Carpet & Home. Some of my favorite places to eat are Gradisca’s, D’Umbertos, and Il Buco. I’m eternally devoted to La Colombe coffee; the baristas at their Lispendard location are badass. 

gaiam

Congratulations on your partnership with Gaiam! How has that experience been?

I love being a part of the Gaiam family. It’s such a pleasure to work with people who are so passionate about what they do. I recently recorded meditations for their new app, Meditation Studio, and it was so inspiring to watch everyone pour their hearts into the project. They’re bringing yoga and mindfulness into so many people’s lives and it’s been incredible to be a part of their efforts.

What’s next on the horizon for you? 

I want to write a book (gulp), which is both exciting and terrifying! Big updates to my website with more offerings for my students to inspire both their asana and life practice. And most importantly, more time at home with my beloved and my dog, Ellie. Being at home refills my well and sparks my creativity; it’s where I’m the happiest.

You truly #liveyouryoga and it’s so admirable.  What are some tips that can help others embody the yoga practice outside of the studio?

I really believe that Life happens for us, not to us. Choose to see every moment, every circumstance, and every person who crosses your path as a teacher—an opportunity for you to cultivate an honest, authentic connection with life, yourself and others. Ultimately, all roads lead you h(om)e.

Beauty is ____.

Simplicity