After retiring from the world of ballet, Ellie Bernstein delved into the world of fitness, eventually finding her voice as a yoga instructor in Bloomington, Indiana, home of the Indiana University Hoosiers. When she’s not teaching or taking classes, she enjoys goofing off with her husband and two cats. Additionally, she is a contributing writer Elephant Journal as well as the online news forum Elite Daily. She loves reading, writing and blogging about the connection between life and yoga in her spare time. For class and workshop information, please head to her website and follow her along her journey as both a teacher and student of yoga on Instagram. www.elliebersteinyoga.com / @elliebernsteinyoga
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Immediately make coffee. I actually wake up pretty easily, I just love coffee so much—it’s like a warm hug in the morning!
How would you describe your personal style?
Little bit gypsy, little bit rock n roll. A lot bit comfy. Comfy-edgy-gypsy chic. Haha, is that a thing? I just hate being uncomfortable, so the fit of everything has to be just so. I love beachy, flowy, drapey fabrics, but I also love black and grungy things too. Coordinating all the things I love, while trying to maintain a level of comfort is key.
Where is your favorite place to go to connect with nature and why?
My backyard. Honestly, I have the most beautiful backyard. I live in southern Indiana, which most would assume is flat AF, but it’s actually super hilly and filled with trees. I’ve got a two acre lot that drops so my view is the tops of trees in a wooded preserve and it’s just magical to be with that beauty in my own space. The sunrises and sunsets are unbelievable here too.
What activity stirs your creativity most?
This sounds weird, but driving. Driving (maybe a bit too fast), down my country roads, blasting my favorite jams. Whenever I get overwhelmed or need to think, I get in my car and just drive around for a while. It almost always helps me work through issues or come up with great ideas.
What makes you feel the most connected with people?
The community feeling I get in a yoga class is like none other. There is really nothing quite like being in a tightly packed, sweaty flow class with all of your people around you, moving to the beat of the breath. It’s a magical experience.
How do you stay healthy?
I practice yoga everyday, whether that takes the form of a 90 minute advanced hot vinyasa flow, a few sun salutations at home, or simply just sitting quietly for 20 minutes, I find some connection to my yoga practice daily. This keeps me grounded and sane. I also really enjoy TRX, indoor rowing, and barre classes. I eat what makes me happy, and this ranges from a lot of vegetables and fruits to bacon burgers. I also have an ayurvevdic health counselor who helps me balance myself out—mentally, physically, and emotionally.
What does success mean to you?
Success means being able to do what makes your soul light up and your heart smile. What brings you joy. What makes you feel connected to other humans in a positive way. What makes you feel proud and good about yourself. What makes you feel like you’ve made a difference.
What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Lately, I’ve been trying to read more. Right now I’m working on Brene Brown’s Rising Strong for my yoga book club. So yes, I tend to read about 2 pages then fall asleep! I’m lucky, I’ve always been able to fall asleep very quickly.
What is your must-have Stelari item?
OMG those bohemian yoga kimonos! They are so Stevie Nicks! Anything and everything that looks like a cape is my favorite!
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