6 Questions With Our Founder

Nicole D’Alonzo, Founder of 19 Minute Yoga

19 Minute Yoga founder Nicole D’Alonzo knows first-hand that fitting a consistent yoga practice into a busy schedule isn’t easy…so she made it easy!

Nicole sat down to answer six of the most common questions we hear about health and wellness, fitness, finding balance, and the role yoga plays in all of it.

What inspired the start of 19 Minute Yoga?

I was so frustrated with yoga videos because I couldn’t find any with complete audio guidance. I was craning my neck – and falling out of alignment trying to look at the screen – and I felt like there had to be a better way. I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I made it!

A ton of research has gone into the whole program, including the length of our classes. Research shows that three short yoga practices per week are more beneficial than one 90 minute class! So no—you do not have to spend your life exercising to get results.

What role does yoga play in mental & physical health?

Yoga is not a silver bullet, but it comes pretty close. It was reported that stress is at the root of 80% of health issues, and yoga is a great antidote for stress. Increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol decreases immunity, raises blood sugar, and negatively impacts metabolism. The mindful practice of yoga helps to reduce this hormone.

Richard Faulds from one of my favorite yoga centers, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, explains, “When you do yoga — the deep breathing, the stretching, the movements that release muscle tension, the relaxed focus on being present in your body — you initiate a process that turns the fight-or-flight system off and the relaxation response on. That has a dramatic effect on the body. The heartbeat slows, respiration decreases, blood pressure decreases. The body seizes this chance to turn on the healing mechanisms.”

What holds people back from making yoga a part of their routine?

People say “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” I hear this all the time. But that’s like saying you’re too dirty to take a shower 🙂 The great thing about yoga is that you start where you are now. Try to come from a place of curiosity about how you’re feeling instead of judgment. It’s so easy to judge ourselves, but when we take a break from expending our energy in that way, it’s very… liberating. Do what you can each day. A lot of factors go into how we feel each day. Treat yourself with kindness. Your body imprints the words, phrases, and all the messages we say to ourselves. You got this!

What does your normal fitness routine look like?

I do this thing I call “daily trifectas” in the morning and then whatever else I can work into the day after that. This morning I started the day with 20 minutes of meditation, the 19 Minute Yoga Rise Series Day 1, and I walked for 30 minutes. I do a weights circuit 3x a week for about 20 minutes – see a theme here? 😉 and Yoga Nidra in the afternoon several days a week.

Writing is also a big part of my wellness routine. Typically I freestyle write or do Morning Pages, which helps me get so much clarity. So often, if we just slow down, we can solve for “X.”

Other than yoga, what are some fitness tips to do in a time crunch?

Walking inside or walking outside in nature is highly underrated – nature is so alkalizing for us. It’s easy to think it’s not enough of a workout, but the body, especially women’s bodies, are not so black and white like that… a woman who works out, eats “healthy,” but is so stressed that her body creates that cortisol belly (it’s not fair at all, I know!), would likely be better off skipping any intense bootcamp style workouts. I would say she should do some Yoga Nidra and go for a walk in the park instead. Seriously. We’re not meant to grind all the time.

If you’re in a time crunch, the best thing you can do is avoid processed food and eat something that came out of the ground. Apples, pears, bananas, grapes – honestly fruit needs a new PR team because they’ve been smeared! Fruit has fiber, and fiber creates happy bellies, so enjoy your favorite fruit!

What’s the value in a consistent yoga practice?

Yoga helps you become more productive and focused, so you have the energy to make better decisions – across your personal and professional life. And when you look at the data on stress and stress reduction, it’s clear that not practicing yoga is costing you money.

Many people are burning the candle at both ends without time to recharge. When you’re drained, mistakes increase and satisfaction at work decreases. In studies by the Queens School of Business they found disengaged workers make 60% more errors and defects. In organizations with low employee engagement scores, they experienced 16% lower profitability.

Equally important, exercise is one of the best ways to cultivate happiness. The one thing that makes people happier than exercise is sex, so… still a form of movement, but I digress.

Yoga combines physical and mental disciplines for added benefits, including reduced stress, better focus and cognitive performance, and decreased aches and pains.And it doesn’t take long to get results. One study found that yoga decreased cortisol in participants after only 10 days of practice. Another study showed that practicing yoga–even for the first time–can bring cortisol into balance, according to research from Thomas Jefferson Medical College.

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