Yoga instructor Ellen Barrett is exceptional in her field. Yogini and fitness video aficionado, we’re extremely lucky to have access to her classes in this area. So, when we spied that she was teaching yoga at Salt of the Earth in Woodbury, we said sign us up…and sign up six of our friends too! We love to try new things, it’s the reason we started the blog. Practicing yoga in a salt cave would certainly be a new thing for all of us! Read on to see how we did…
That glow you see on our faces is equal parts post-yoga buzz and salt cave radiance.
Salt of the Earth‘s website explains that “the Salt Cave naturally produces negative ions, which produces the “clarity effect” that people love from salt therapy treatments. Negative ions have been shown to reduce stress, headaches, lethargy, and depression.”
Halotherapy (the practice of sitting in a Himalayan Salt Cave) has been used for therapeutic and medicinal purposes around the globe for centuries. In other words, just sitting in that cave would be of benefit. Add to that a gentle yoga practice with Ellen Barrett and we would all be doing doubly good for our bodies!
Gong baths and ohms…
After we walked down the glowing salt runway and took our places on the salty beach (waved at each other and giggled a lil’ bit) we settled into the most calming, restorative hour of gentle yoga with Ellen. The class consisted of light stretching and simple yoga moves. All while breathing in vitamins and minerals from the pharmaceutical grade salt (NaCI) pumped into the cave with Salt of the Earth’s halogenerators.
We practiced breath work, standing poses, a few twists, an inversion with the bolster, and a soothing meditation at the end. Oh, and how can we forget the gong bath finale. We all LOVED that part. Goosebumps! What an incredible experience.
Strike a pose!
Post class we decided it would be fun to re-enact some of our favorites. Teehee. Here you go!
Getting to know Ellen Barrett…
(Shared from Ellen’s website) Ellen Barrett is a well-known exercise video creator, with best-selling titles like Crunch: Fat Burning Pilates, Prevention Magazine’s Flat Belly Diet Workout & The Yogini Workout. From 2006 – 2011, she starred in Fit TV’s All-Star Workouts. She’s the author of four wellness books, including her latest, The 28 Days Lighter Diet (Skirt!, 2014). Ellen holds certifications in yoga, Pilates, nutrition & group exercise as well as a master’s degree in Education. Combining mind/body methods with empowering self-help concepts is her forte. She lives in Connecticut with her family.
Give us a brief rundown on your yoga teaching experience/accolades!
I gradually evolved into a yogini. As a teenager, I was an aerobics instructor, which seems unrelated to yoga, but you know, movement and breathing are sacred – they totally inspire your spirit. Then, living in LA, I was exposed to many types of yoga and dove into Anusara yoga, which translates as “moving with grace”. I am also Kripalu yoga certified. To me, yoga is about loving yourself, feeling good, and being grateful for life. Looking good is the byproduct!
Salt cave – the most unusual place you’ve ever taught yoga?
The Salt Cave is one of the most unusual places I’ve taught, for sure. It’s cutting edge AND primitive, which makes it so great.
My job has taken me to so many different environments. One really memorable situation was a workshop I led in Missoula, Montana in August 2001. I was at a YMCA and the program director was a stunningly beautiful, former Miss Montana. The room I was teaching in had a huge floor to ceiling wall of windows. Throughout the 3hour workshop, a bald eagle kept flying by the window, again and again, and again. At first, I had my back to the window and the class would go “oooh and ahhh’ and I had no idea what was happening! Then finally I was facing the window when the eagle flew by and saw the big wingspan and intelligent eyes for myself. I thought, here we are with Miss Montana, in the Wild West, being visited by this bald eagle. About a month later, 9/11 happened and, I have since clung to that peaceful day at the Missoula Y.
In a nutshell, what are the benefits of a salt cave yoga practice?
Doing yoga in an environment with the cleanest and most nutritious air amplifies the benefits of yoga. You instantly feel calmer and more present. Your breath becomes less inhibited and your energy levels have no choice but to increase. I find the salt air brings a healthy glow to skin too.
We were all talking about the gong bath for days after…tell us more about that, other than it moving our inner souls…what does it actually do?
The vibration of the gong is really potent. It wakes up the cells of your body and clears the way for good vibes to flow. Some people call it a “sound detox”. At Salt of The Earth, we call it “vibrational healing”.
You have a ton of DVDs – any fun behind the scenes stories about producing them?
So many stories….well, with my Prevention Magazine Flat Belly Diet Workouts, I was sweating profusely during the shoot. Like not-normal sweating and the director was very inconvenienced by this. When I returned home a few days later, I found out I was pregnant! It’s so ironic that those workouts are part of the “Flat Belly” series since I’m actually 4-5 weeks pregnant in them… and I haven’t had a flat belly since!
Other than the Salt of The Earth Cave, where can people find you teaching yoga?
We know you never stop…tell us a little bit about your latest project, Grokker?
I created a 6-week Walk Strong workout series for grokker.com. The site is very supportive and interactive. It delivers entire programs to your inbox, taking the guesswork out of your fitness/weight loss regime. (Enter promo code “ellenb9monthly” for a good deal!)
Feeling inspired? Stop what you’re doing and practice a little meditation. Ellen shows us how to do it!
And we’ll finish this post with Steinen licking the wall, something we all wanted to do…Yup, salty!
Words: Bev / Pics: Lora (except photo of Ellen, provided by Ellen Barrett)