Finding movement throughout the week in NYC is surprisingly hard. Yes we walk a lot to and from the subway. But fitting in an after-work gym session or making it on time to classes at studios across the city is often a challenge. It's not only about location. A good studio or gym has a community that keeps you interested, motivated, and inspired to show up.
Meet SYNCSTUDIO and the rockstar co-founder, Karla Misjan, behind its Brooklyn location. Today we're excited to get to know a bit more about Karla and the mission behind SYNC that has made it a go-to wellness center in Williamsburg.
What drew you into your current line of work?
I was working in Fashion PR and I was pretty miserable. Less so with the line of work and more so with myself. I was lazy, lethargic and unmotivated. I started practicing pretty seriously at YogaWorks and something in me shifted. I found myself becoming happy and more peaceful in my body (something that even as a former ballet dancer, was completely foreign to me). I decided to enroll in a 200-hour teacher training and as soon as it was over, I knew I needed more. My mentor, Julie Mellk, encouraged me to take it a step further and dive into the 300-hour advanced teacher training. Between Julie's steadfast belief in me and my devotion to the practice, I decided I was meant to be a full-time yoga teacher. Some time after, the stars aligned and my childhood friend moved to NYC and we opened up a studio together. Our baby, SYNCSTUDIO, is now 5!
Besides the mix of classes, what makes SYNC different than other studios?
We have heart. Prior to our opening, we envisioned SYNCSTUDIO to be a place where people could be social and active. I was sick of going into a yoga class and feeling like I couldn't even smile at the student next to me - it is a yoga studio for pete's sake! Shouldn't we be smiling?!
Our community is one of the most loving, supportive, and spirited groups I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. We are accepting and non-judgmental. We cheer each other on and never look down upon anyone. Exercising is hard enough! It is our job to make it a little easier and a little bit more FUN!
What is your go-to for self-care, and how do you find the time to fit it in?
Prioritizing myself is super important. Some weeks are better than others, but when I am taking care of myself the best - I am trying to address care on physical, mental, and emotional levels. My personal yoga practice is a huge factor in addressing all three of those facets. Physically, I have been seeing a therapist at Massage Greenpoint who has helped to balance all of the physical strain I put on my body. My heart feels whole when I am able to spend quality time with my husband, and take my dog to the park.
Living in this chaotic city, we all lead busy lives. I have found it easiest to care for myself when I schedule it as if it were an important meeting. Reserve a class, book a special dinner with a loved one, get a spontaneous pedicure. The more you feel connected and comfortable with yourself, the more all of the other relationships in your life will benefit and flourish.
What 3 things will we always find in your kitchen?
Avocados, eggs and wine.
What is your advice for someone that wants to get started exercising or having trouble keeping up their motivation?
Keep moving forward. Not every day is going to be a good day. But every day counts. You don't have to succeed with flying colors. That's not realistic. There will be set backs. But you have to try. If you don't try, you will never know your full potential. And who knows, you might surprise the hell out of yourself while you're at it!
For people who are just getting interested in yoga, where do you recommend they start?
Start out at the basics or foundations level. Don't let your ego get the bast of you and jump into an open or intermediate class. My teacher always reiterated to me that "basics doesn't mean easy, it just means simple." I teach a Basics class on Mondays at 7p and it might actually be one of the hardest classes I teach. Also, I am still ever-amazed at how much I can learn when I go back to a basics class! Many of us have been conditioned to become selective listeners, which means you might go to a class and miss a fair amount of what the teacher is trying to express. Only when you are ready, and your mind/body have integrated a certain amount of the material will you be ready to move on to hear, learn and embody something new. So much of yoga is about patience. So start there.
Fiction or non-fiction? What books are on your bedside table these days?
If I had a bedside table :) .... The War of Art, The Book of Joy, and I am forever referencing The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali for inspiration for my personal and teaching practice of yoga.