First of all, thank you so much for your time. We know how busy you are! My first question is about Chinese medicine – what is your exposure to it and/or thoughts on it?
I think Chinese medicine is fascinating. One of my favorite yoga teachers, Nevine Michaan, works a lot with Chinese medicine and the elements, the relation to our body with the earth, and the seasons. And of course, I love acupuncture. I think Yinova and Jill and Noah are just amazing. Chinese medicine really taps into the importance of our energy, how we use it, and how it can get stuck in our bodies. Yoga is much the same way.
What led you to yoga?
I was first introduced to yoga at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts where I was studying acting in the early ’90s.
What does yoga mean to you?
Yoga means to unite. Through my yoga practice, I’ve discovered how to unite my body with my mind through my breath. By uniting with my breath, I have discovered how to unite my goals with my true passions. I’ve also been able to unite with so many amazing people throughout the years through my yoga practice and it’s a constant reminder of how we are all united.
I love that! How about happiness – do you think it’s a choice?
Happiness is a state of being not a destination. We can choose to be happy every day. Happiness is taking every situation and cherishing it. Focusing on the positive, not the negative, and learning from experiences. We can’t control what happens to us, we can control how we react to it though.
Some think meditation can help us change our brain and our reactions. Do you meditate?
Yes, every morning. Meditation is the first thing I do. I roll out of bed and go to my spot. I sit on a pillow and find my breath and watch it for as long as I can. My mind is always running a million miles a minute. Meditation slows me down, helps me find insight, quiets my mind, and it reminds me of the most important things in life. It sets an amazing tone for the day. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
Where did you grow up?
Pocatello, Idaho – it’s the complete opposite of NYC!
How is it different from New York City?
I love NYC because it’s so different. I love NYC for the energy, the people, the transportation, the culture, the creativity. I love Idaho because my family is there, but also for the outdoors, for the connection to nature and for the people there as well.
I guess New York’s energy won out but how about relaxation – where can you relax in the city?
That’s tough! There are so many great places in NYC. But I love to relax at home actually, with my husband or with some good tunes. I also find Washington Square Park relaxing or the West Side Highway promenade. Museums are also great places to relax, oh and Central Park. And of course, any good yoga class!
Where do you party and let your hair down? How about a favorite romantic dinner destination?
Hmm…my favorite place to party? I don’t really party that much! But I love to go to the Comedy Cellar and laugh – if you call that a party. I also love to dance but have a hard time finding a place to dance in NYC that isn’t a club. I wish there were more weddings so I could dance the night away! As for a romantic dinner I love Raoul’s, in the back garden. I also love when Tim (my husband) cooks for me at home using fresh food from the Farmer’s Market, we open a bottle of wine and put on Pandora.
That sounds so romantic! What’s your go-to meal?
Salmon, steamed veggies, brown rice, a glass of red wine, and a square of dark chocolate for dessert with raspberries and blackberries!
Yum! That sounds pretty healthy. Do you follow any special diet?
Nope. I eat healthily but listen to my body.
You seem so balanced. Whom do you look to for inspiration?
I look to many people, my husband, my family, my colleagues, my teachers, my friends, my practice, music, art, theater, the city, the outdoors, books and experiences.
Are you living your dream?
How cool is that!? But if you weren’t teaching yoga, what do you think you’d do?
I’d love to be a traditional school teacher. I’d also love to be a professional actress or be a host on TV..who knows maybe that day will still come!?
I’d bet on that! You’ve done so many fun things, from videos to creating your own App, what gives you the most joy?
That is too tough to answer! I love doing it all really, but I think what brings me the most joy is all of the people I meet along the way. Being able to inspire students and to learn as well is truly amazing.
What are you most proud of?
I think I am most proud of staying true to myself. Over the years, there have been many times when I think I should be doing something differently or I’m not doing things “right.” My yoga practice has taught me there is no right or wrong way, just each person’s individual path. As long as I can keep connecting to my inner voice and breath, I can keep creating my own path in this world. All of my experiences along the way are a direct result of that so, I’m proud of the family I’ve come from, the places I challenged myself to go to, the man I married, the accomplishments I’ve made. I look forward to so many more wonderful things ahead of me!
We do too! But forget work for a minute, what do you do for fun that isn’t work-related?
I love to travel, I love to read, I love to go out to dinner or to cook dinner with my husband, I love the theater, I love crossword puzzles, good walks, hiking, skiing, playing tennis, meeting friends, adventures like white water rafting, camping, etc. I LOVE spending time with my family when I can get home to Idaho or have them come to NYC or take them on a retreat of mine. I love to listen to music with my hubby and chill out with a glass of wine.
You travel so much, any tips?
Yes! Always drink lots of water. Set yourself in the time zone of your destination as soon as possible. Sit in an aisle seat and get up and stretch as much as you can. Bring healthy snacks–raw almonds, fruit, string cheese, etc. Sleep a good 7-8 hours the night before you leave. Wear comfy clothes to travel in. Bring a great book. Invest in Gogo internet (in-flight internet) and catch up on lots of emails and work! Also, do downward dog when you arrive at your destination for the blood flow to your brain – it helps energize you, legs up the wall is a great pose too!
One last question! You are such a natural beauty, any beauty secrets to share?
Oh my goodness you are too kind. Thank you for saying that. Actually, I recently did a piece for Well+Good NYC where you can see some of my fave picks as far as products. But eating healthy, drinking lots of water, laughing, being with people you love, movement and sleep, all play a big role. Also, keeping an inner smile! If you smile from the inside out you’re sure to radiate. Everyone is a natural beauty they just have to remind themselves that every day.
Thank you so much. We think your inner smile certainly radiates!
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Kristin McGee is a certified yoga and Pilates instructor as well as an ACE-certified personal trainer. As a fitness expert, Kristin has appeared on CNN, FOX, CBS Morning Show, ABC’s Good Morning America and more. She has contributed to many magazines like Shape, Fitness, Self, In Style, and Women’s Health and is a Contributing Editor for Health Magazine. She is Fila’s Yoga Ambassador and has her own DVD’s and a Yoga & Pilates App on iTunes.