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Colorado is home to an amazing (and inspiring) yoga phenom—better known as Big Booty Yoga. The driving force behind this movement? Kady Lafferty, who was recently named one of the 35 Under 35 in Wellness to Watch by Wanderlust. On a mission to show people that yoga is for everyBODY, Kady is taking it on herself to make sure all who practice know alternative poses and language to make yoga feel more inclusive.
I recently met up with Kady during her first class at Bulldog Yoga in Boulder, CO. Kady often teaches musically themed flows, and this one ended up being one of my favorites: Namasbey. That’s right you guessed it! A whole yoga class taught to Beyonce’s greatest hits. After savasana, we headed around the corner to Eureka! on Pearl Street for good food and great conversation. Kady is extremely personable and hands-on—maybe the opposite of the soft-spoken, ethereal yoga teacher that many of us may have experienced. She laughs wholeheartedly, holds eye contact, doesn’t shy away from curse words, and creates a safe space for you too to share some of your biggest insecurities about yourself or your yoga practice.
Over crispy glazed Brussel sprouts and cauliflower bites, Kady tells me a little of what she has on the horizon. She recently paired up with Valery Brennan of Fiercely, a local, female-owned clothing company that gives a portion of their sales to organizations that support women. Kady’s line with Fiercely includes everything from tanks and t-shirts to cropped hoodies—all adorned with Big Booty Yoga and body positive slogans. And this summer, Kady will be making her Wanderlust debut at Denver’s Wanderlust 108!
A two-day Denver event that draws in a big yogi crowd from across the globe, Wanderlust 108 is an epic experience. Kady is no stranger to large-scale yoga flows that bring out the masses—she’s led a practice at Red Rocks! Infectiously enthusiastic at the honor of joining such an influential yoga festival, she talks positively of the work Wanderlust has been doing to be more inclusive to all types of bodies.
Next month, Kady, and her business partner Sami Mattei, will see their dream come true in the shape of their Yoga Alliance-approved yoga teacher training for accessible and inclusive yoga, better known as Embrace. Embody. Empower. This training is beneficial for all yoga teachers as it focuses on how to better serve different communities of people, all types of bodies, and (dis)abilities.
After our post-yoga snacks and conversation, I’ve become even more inspired by her spirit. We head into Old Tibet, a shop on Pearl St., where Kady is looking for a gift to give to one of her very own teachers, co-worker, and friend, Katy Rowe. Moving around the store with ease and respect, Kady chats up the shop’s owner and makes a connection, having found out she recently collaborated with the owner’s niece on a mala making workshop. While watching this interaction, I am reminded: This is Kady.
Everything she touches is infused with this mission: to make everyone feel at home in their bodies. To teach people how to access their breath in these times we live in. She lifts them up and leaves nobody behind. Kady is building community through Big Booty Yoga, where everyone is welcome.
Want to find your flow with Kady? Check out one of her classes on MINDBODY at The River Yoga in Denver. You can also learn more about Big Booty Yoga on their Instagram or visit https://bigbootyyoga.com/.
Anybody who knows me will you tell you I am a fitness fanatic. In fact, before COVID-19 hit and shut down all the gyms where I live, I was partying on a bike at my favorite indoor cycling studio up to seven days a week. To help keep the momentum going in my fitness journey, I immediately looked on Amazon to purchase workout equipment to outfit my tiny apartment. Unfortunately, I was greeted with several “sold outs” on every search I made.
What was I supposed to do now? Refusing to succumb to the temptation of endless Netflix binge sessions and inevitably gaining the “COVID 15,” I knew I needed to get creative with my workouts from home. That’s when I remembered I took a barre class a few years ago which practically required little-to-no equipment to get a good sweat sesh in. All I really needed was yoga pants and a countertop to act as my stationary handrail.
Ready to trade in my typical cardio-focused routine in for an intense, strength-training workout, I grabbed my phone and pulled up my app to search for virtual barre classes. I live in Phoenix, and to say the barre scene here is popping would be an understatement. With the city at my fingertips, I decided to try a class at one of the local hot spots around here—barre3 Scottsdale.
Upon booking (just $10 for my first class!), I received a confirmation email letting me know I’d receive the link to my class 15-30 minutes before it started—they even suggested hopping on 10 minutes before class started to introduce yourself to the instructor (hey, Ashley!) and chat with the other students. The morning of my class, I slapped on those yoga pants, propped my laptop on my kitchen counter, and got ready to plie my little heart out.
When I logged into class, I was greeted by my instructor, Ashley, and a handful of other barre students.
Then I learned, I was the only newbie in the class. On top of that, my back was to my wall of windows, so I literally looked like a creepy shadow trying to pawn myself off as an elegant dancer. Not even five minutes into class, my legs became a wobbly mess. To put this into perspective for you, I’m a part-time yoga instructor so I’m used to holding poses that make your muscles want to scream for an ungodly length of time—but movements involved in barre are no joke. Seriously.
I felt every inch of every single plie I did—almost landing on my butt half of the time. By the end of the class, my fingertips were clinging on to my countertop like I was a rock climber dangling off a 50-foot cliff—completely out of breath and wondering if I even had legs anymore.
All in all, it was a great workout and one that I and my muscles would not forget for several days. No—really. When I woke up the next morning, I could barely release my heels to the ground requiring me to not only wear high heels to walk my dogs (it’s a great look with sweatpants by the way) but also around my apartment. Come to think of it, I should probably write my downstairs neighbor a letter of apology for causing so much ruckus.
Stretch before and after class. This one is a little embarrassing because I should have known better. While I did prep my muscles before the workout with some light stretching, I was so gassed after class that I completely forgot to cater to my limbs post-workout. Even just a few yoga stretches probably would have helped with the recovery process.
Invite a workout buddy. Hey—the more the merrier, right? I’m not going to lie—being the only newbie in this class, my ego took a huge hit. As someone who not only works out every day but also teaches fitness for a living, I was surprised at how humbling this experience was. I’m used to working out with others, and I think inviting someone to partake in this class would make it even more entertaining. Who knows? Maybe if my boyfriend took the class with me, he would take back all those chuckles he had whenever I wore my heels to grab a glass of water during my recovery phase.
Find better lighting. Next time, I would probably set my laptop up at a different angle, so I didn’t look like a backlit, dancing ghoul. I’m sure it would have been easier for Ashley to offer me feedback on any of the movements I was doing if she was actually able to see me.
Stock up on Epsom salt. Or magnesium supplements of any kind. When I say you will be sore from a virtual barre workout, I mean it. Get yourself a big bag of Epsom salt and run yourself a bath to help your muscles recover—you’ll thank me later.
Even though I felt like a baby deer taking its first steps throughout the entire class, one session was all it took for me to want to add virtual barre classes into my COVID-19 workout routine. Did this class make me feel sore for days? Yep. Did it make me realize I had muscles in places I never even knew existed? You bet. But those are the types of workouts I crave because you start seeing results immediately and the recovery process gets shorter the more you go. Needless to say, I’m excited to take my next virtual barre class knowing what I know now.