Pilates with Ashlee

Although I have never met IRL Ashlee Carignan, she is the new hot pilates teacher in LA. Strong, cool, motivated, interesting, and fun, we were put in touch when Ashlee agreed to participate in Natori Caftan Day (thanks Mary!). Always interested in health, wellness, fitness, and cool, I had the chance to interview sweetheart Ashlee, so take a look. Thanks so much, Ashlee, and I can’t wait to come to Los Angeles and take a class from you!

 

Beauty Ashlee of PWA (Pilates With Ashlee)

Beauty Ashlee of PWA (Pilates With Ashlee)

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What led you to become a pilates teacher?

 

I grew up playing competitive soccer so I’ve always been active. After being in and out of gyms through my early 20s, I needed something different more stimulating, where I could lengthen and tone, not bulk. A close friend told me about Pilates (about 13 years ago, this December will be my 10th year training and will be considered a “Master Trainer”,) saw a local studio, signed up, and knew from my first class this is what I wanted to do!

 

Ashlee in her caftan for Natori Caftan Day.

Ashlee in her caftan for Natori Caftan Day.

 

Where are your classes held in LA?

 

I recently expanded my new boutique studio this past January 2017 located in the heart of Beverlywood, Los Angeles. In just 6 short months PWA’s success has been exceptional! Our studio offers a warm environment for clients to come and feel comfortable, confident, and achieve and maintain their workout goals.

 

Long and lean.

Long and lean.

How do you find that pilates benefits / enhances / helps the body?
Pilates has endless benefits, really! Out of any other workout practice, and of course I’m a bit bias, I feel Pilates really encompasses so many benefits to match any clients needs. It’s incredible for rehabbing injuries, helps correct posture and especially front forward posture ( when your head is pushed out further than your spine allows) which is extremely common these days from looking down at our phones, computers, iPads etc! Pilates helps and maintains balance issues and/or vertigo, great for RA and osteoporosis, and of course it’s great to keep your body looking and feeling strong as well as long and lean.

 

In Josie!

In Josie!

 

Do you practice pilates on your own time / is it your exercise of choice?

 

100% This is what I love to do in my spare time! I’ve been doing pilates 13 years, teaching for 10, and Pilates has consistently maintained my body’s shape the exact same way, it’s incredible. Of course there’s been peak times where I can workout more than others but when I’m not consistently practicing Pilates, my body feels it!

 

Feeling good and looking good!

Feeling good and looking good!

 

Do you teach mat pilates or reformer pilates? Which do you prefer and why?

 

Yes, I’m certified in both and I can’t say whether I prefer one over the other since they both have their benefits. Mat Pilates uses your body weight, activating different muscles, whereas the reformer is resistance training using 5-6 differently weighted springs. Currently I’m teaching at ALO Yoga’s flagship store in Beverly Hills as their first and only Pilates instructor which is an enormous honor! Every last Sunday of the month I host a “Mat Pilates Party,” which is more of a destination event for my clients to come get a great workout while having a blast. We don’t take it too seriously, it’s more of an event to showcase and support new collaborations happening at PWA while also creating a PWA community. It’s really quite beautiful to see 20-30 of your clients all coming together, I definitely look forward to my monthly classes 🙂

 

On the reformer.

On the reformer.

 

Why is it important to have a strong core (speaking from someone who has a weak core and doesn’t do pilates…)

 

Core strength is so important because it helps support the entire body and one of the 2 main things that gives you balance, CORE and FEET. A stronger, tighter core alleviates back pain because your whole body is balanced better, if your abdominal muscle aren’t being used then your body will compensate elsewhere usually the low back, glutes and neck/shoulder area. Also a common misconception is that the core is just made up of abs, it’s not, its everything associated with your midsection i.e. back and glutes. So within every Pilates exercise we’re trying to connect that movement to your “core.”

 

Ashlee, strong core, strong mind.

Ashlee, strong core, strong mind.

 

Do people sweat in your class?

 

Oh YES they do! I guess you could consider me a “cardio” Pilates trainer, meaning I have a strategy to my workouts/workout flows. I tend to use less weight and more reps to build up the exercise to the point of muscle fatigue! When you’re legs are uncontrollably shaking that’s because we’ve broken and beaten down the muscle in a healthy way so it’s only choice is to grow back stronger. Depending on my client male or female by nature our bodily makeup is different, so for woman I like to do a lot of leg work because the quadriceps is our largest muscle, by working that you increase your heart rate thus burning more calories. Men I do the opposite, lots of upper body to get them breaking a sweat 🙂

 

Sweaty, but looking good in Natori!

Sweaty, but looking good in Natori!

 

What type of music do you play in your class? What are your current top 5 favorite songs to work out to?

 

Most people wouldn’t assume this about me, but I LOVE hip hop and rap! I love all music, lately I’ve been rocking the classic 90’s hip hop songs we all know and love. Top 5’s at the current moment are:
1. Humble- Kendrick Lamar
2. PnB Rock- There She go
3. Dj Kahled- I’m The One
4. Kid Ink- Time Of You Life
5. Anything Future and Drake

 

What do you love most about living and working in LA?

 

LA is such a special place and definitely what I call home, I’ve been living here almost 11 years! There’s so many things to love about SoCal one of which of course is the weather. It never gets old waking up to sunshine and palm trees, everyone’s always in a good mood lol. LA is so close to multiple little getaways like Vegas, Palm Springs, Mexico, Big Bear mountain so whenever you wanna jet town you don’t have to go very far and you feel  like you’re in a completely different part of the world.

 

Working in LA as a Pilates instructor has definitely had its share of struggles because there’s just so much competition, there’s some sort of studio on every block! I apprenticed and was mentored doing privates so that’s where my heart is, but I had to join studios for extra money while growing my personal business and found myself not enjoying the 10+ group class training. I’m so happy I decided to finally take the leap of faith and trust myself when I opened PWA earlier this year. Of course I went back and forth and wanted a plan B, what if it failed?? All these questions kept circling my head but one thing always stayed the same, I knew in my heart and soul that there was no way for me to fail! The success of the studio is unbelievable and I really feel like we’ve hit our stride and are making PWA a known name in LA. I like to look a challenge straight in the eye and wink at it!

 

High five.

High five.

 

Thank you so much, Ashlee! To follow her on instagram, go here. To see her website and book an appointment and class, go here.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Onda Beauty

As a devoted regular of Taryn Toomey and her class, I have met a group of tremendously talented and incredible women. One of them, is Larissa, who just started Onda, a store that sells natural beauty products. She has incredible taste and has curated the best assortment of products currently on the market. She is incredibly thoughtful, knowledgeable, and is a walking encyclopedia on every item — Enjoy!

 

Larissa: a beauty inside and out!

Larissa: a beauty inside and out!

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Natural Deodorant: Agent Nateur

I am constantly on the search for several things: the best granola, natural deodorant, lipstick, and cookie (who needs anything else?). For each, I always think I have found “the best,” until my next new discovery. But honestly, I just found the best new natural deodorant, and I don’t think I will ever say that again… because THIS ONE, is seriously… The. Best. Natural. Deodorant. Ever.

 

Don't judge a book by its cover, but COME ON, this packaging is gorgeous. Seriously, I felt bad recycling the box! (But I am not a hoarder, and what would one do with a deodorant box anyways!)

Don’t judge a book by its cover, but COME ON, this packaging is gorgeous. Seriously, I felt bad recycling the box!

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Smarty Pants Vitamins

Don’t you love how small the world is and how everyone is connected somehow and someway? Well, lo and behold, I recently was introduced to the CEO of my newest find and obsession, Smarty Pants Vitamins. I first came across them at the Chicago Marathon, where they placed a sample of their vitamins in the goody bag from the race expo. Upon trial (I love freebies with good marketing and packaging), I was hooked! These vitamins are delicious, smart, and healthy. Read more to find out about the company from the founder and CEO, Courtney! Thank you, Courtney!

 

Smarty Pants: First grabbed me by the packaging, and then won me over by the taste, health benefits, and the company itself.

Smarty Pants: First grabbed me by the packaging, and then won me over by the taste, health benefits, and the company itself.

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3 Chia Products

Currently obsessed with chia seeds. Because, hey, why not? But really, they have a lot of good things from them (like their omega 3 oils!), which make you healthier, right??? That simple! Eat em, and you will be long, lean, healthy, and beautiful! So here are my favorite chia products. On trend!

Chia!

Chia! DELICIOUS treats that turn you into a health nut.

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Summer 13 Nutrition Tips

Now that it is August, it’s the perfect time to finish the summer on a good note with some nutritional advice from the lovely and talented, Dr. Jana Klauer. Featured on JGB twice before (last summer and early 2013), Dr. Klauer continues to motivate, inspire, and educate all of us. So, thank you Dr. Klauer for sharing more wisdom and science, and helping us commit to a healthy and active lifestyle!

dr. klauer

The ever so beautiful and smart, Dr. Jana Klauer!

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Urban Moonshine Bitters

For some horrible reason, my tum tum has been killing me recently. Like SHARP AWFUL pains, nausea, gas, on and on and on. Not fun. (Yes, I am going to the doctor soon, as my pains are unreal). So a friend told me to try bitters to aid my digestion.

The only type of organic bitters sold at The Meadow is Urban Moonshine. So, I happily picked up a bottle and tried it immediately.  The listed benefits of bitters are staggering! Bitters soothe gas and bloating, relieve occasional heartburn, and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  There are about a million other things they are supposed to help with too.

bottles

Three different varieties of bitters: original, citrus, and maple.

Bitters original.

Bitters original.

The theory behind bitters is fascinating. Everyone is supposed to consume daily the 5 main flavors: sweet, salty, sour, umami, and bitter. Each flavor has a different effect on the body, and bitter flavor effects the digestion. Unfortunately, current diets focus mainly on sweet and salty, and lack bitter.  So bitter supplements in theory help your body balance.

Dandelion.

Dandelion.

I am so excited to make this a part of my daily health regime. It’s only been a week, but my stomach is already feeling better.  I am going to keep going with this, and hopefully my repeated stomach problems will permanently go away.

Digestion relief.

Digestion relief.

You can buy Urban Moonshine bitters on their website. Happy Spring — a toast to getting our bodies working correctly, and feeling great. Have a good weekend!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Eco-Friendly Toothbrush

What can make a toothbrush deserve its own blog post?  A commitment to environmentalism and a unique subscription option that is affordable and good for your teeth!  Not to mention unique packaging, materials and bent-body design.

Preserve

Preserve

preserve. indeed.

preserve. indeed.

Preserve launched in 1997 with this incredible toothbrush. They make the toothbrush, and then when you are done with it, you can send it back to them so a partner company can grind it up and turn it into plastic lumber for other plastic goods (picnic tables, park benches, the sorts). It is the epitome of recycling! Preserve toothbrushes are sold on drugstore, amazon, and even Whole Foods.

Deets.

Deets.

Yep, it is made from 100% recycled, BPA-free, #5 plastic (for some incredibly interesting research on plastic, take a look at Dr. Giora Proskurowski‘s work. FASCINATING stuff) and the toothbrush bristles are made of new nylon (germaphobes, no need to worry).

Feminine body

Feminine body.

For an annual $15 subscription fee, Preserve will deliver a new Toothbrush every three months (just what the dentist orders!). It’s actually a great deal.  For those who can’t wait, Recycline offers four American-made brushes in a bulk pack, complete with return-mail packs. Amazing, right? Happy Brushing your teeth! ESPECIALLY AFTER ALL THE EASTER CANDY FROM YESTERDAY! Have a great week!!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Juice Generation

Recently, I have become seriously into (nice way of saying “obsessed”) with Juice Generation‘s hot drinks (Juice Farmacy). Mind you, everything from Juice Generation is delicious (my favorites outside of the hot drinks include the pacific pineapple smoothie, the ginger miso tofu sandwich, and the amazing green acai bowl), but the hot drinks are especially addicting. They are warm, comforting, nutritious, and FIGHT OFF THE FLU EPIDEMIC!!! SHOO SHOO FLU!

Juice Generation is a NYC Juice Bar that started in 1999, created by Eric Helms. His mission was to have a friendly, accessible juice bar where New Yorkers of all lifestyles, ages, and dietary backgrounds could experience the energizing effects of fresh, raw juices made with premium ingredients—conveniently and affordably. And boy did he do so! Juice Generation now has 10 locations in Manhattan and more to come!

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Muesli

Love breakfast food. Love. Cereal, oatmeal, eggs, pancakes, granola, yogurt, and especially muesli. My parents are good ‘ol Europeans and like to eat Muesli most mornings for breakfast. They simply add the flakes with buttermilk or kefir, and devour it. While I like that version, once I discovered the true way to make museli, I fell head over heels in love. WATCH OUT KEN.

Ingredients:

* Swiss muesli flakes

* Some type of milk

* Some types of fruit (I like raspberries, apple, banana, blueberries)

Ingredients

You can really put any fruit and liquid with the flakes to make a delicious muesli.

Directions:

* Easy peasy. Place all of the fruit into a cup.

* Cover the fruit layer with muesli.

* Cover the fruit-muesli with milk.

* Store in fridge for 1-24 hours. THIS IS KEY. The muesli flakes expand and soak up the liquid, forming an oatmeal textured smooth bite.

Grating an apple really just juices it....oh and a half a banana adds some sweetness and depth to the muesli, too.

Apple
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