If anyone’s busy, it’s Paige Held. This 35-year-old wife and mom of four is also an entrepreneur and yoga teacher who owns two popular south Florida studios. She and her business partner Kelly Green have made a deep impression on the Ft. Lauderdale yoga scene with their Hot Yoga Fusion style taught at their equally hot Yoga Joint studios—an impression, by the way, about to get even bigger with three more locations opening this year.
Rocking an edgy pixie haircut and welcoming personality, Held makes balancing it all seem easy. We recently caught up with this busy gal to find out where she’s been, and what keeps her going.
1. She started practicing as a teenager
When she was 16, Held’s brother introduced her to yoga as a coping tool when their parents divorced. She hasn’t looked back.
2. Her family does yoga together
Held’s children, Taylor, 7, and Michael, 10, practice kids’ yoga each week at The Yoga Joint. Her stepchildren, Mac, 19, and Kella, 20, practice yoga college. “Sometimes, we even all practice together as a family when everyone is in town,” she says. (Including husband Channing, 44, an M.D. who’s doing his yoga teacher training through The Yoga Joint this summer.)
3. Yoga means everything to her
“When my life looks like nothing but chaos, my practice grounds me and gives me the tools to deal with life,” she says. “It has taught me to be present and breathe through situations where I would’ve previously reacted.”
4. Hot Yoga Fusion is a mash-up of everything she loves about yoga
Held and Green combined their favorite parts of vinyasa flow and hot yoga and set it to music (from Bruce Springsteen to MC Yogi) blended with motivational messages to come up with their signature style.
5. Her students inspire her
After teaching for nearly 20 years, Held says she is still continuously rewarded and motivated by her students. She’s witnessed them return to yoga after double mastectomies, the loss of a child, divorce, and more. “When life is overwhelming and I think I’m too busy for my yoga practice, my students come to mind,” says Held. “[Their dedication] reminds me that when we’re too busy for yoga, we need it the most. And to be a good teacher you have to be a good student, and show up. No matter what.”
6. She takes care of herself first
The trick to juggling it all is investing in yourself, she says. Her formula combines daily asana, pranayama, self-study (svadhyaya) and meditation. “People often say to me, ‘I don’t have time to do yoga.’ I always respond with, ‘yoga gives you time.’ When we’re on the yogic path we don’t have the space to be consumed by negative, habitual belief patterns that weigh us down. By removing the toxins, mentally, physically, and spiritually I feel that I’m able to connect to my more authentic self.”
7. She can’t get enough of Savasana
After her rigorous, heated vinyasa practice, Savasana allows her “the platform to connect the dots.”
8. She’s dying to teach a class to the singer/songwriter Sting
She’s seen the blond rocker in concert nearly a dozen times. So when she discovered that he was a devoted Ashtangi, she knew she had to teach him one day. “I’d love to share our hot flow with him,” she says.
9. She believes in progress, not perfection
Held tries to impress upon her students that yoga is about daily progression. “If life gets hard, people can have a tendency to want to quit. It’s my job to remind them that no feeling is ever final,” she says. “Let whatever comes up in the moment, come up. Then get back on your mat tomorrow and do it again. Doing yoga every day works, even if it’s not perfect or if you don’t want to. I’ve seen it in my own life, and in those I love.”
10. She loves a good hip or heart opener to relax. Here are her 3 favorites:
King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
“It’s a major hip opener. It allows you to release the stickiness in your hips and lower back, and conversely any stickiness in your minds,” she says.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
“When you do this correctly, nearly all of your major muscle groups are stretched, releasing toxins from your body,” she says. “This pose improves the respiratory, digestive, endocrine, circulatory and skeletal systems. It also loosens up vertebrae and relieves lower back pain.”
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
“Although not physically challenging, [it] really calms and clears the mind as well as the nervous system.”
BONUS! Starting May 14 Paige Held reveals her 10 favorite travel-friendly poses for busy yogis. Follow #10perfectposes and @YogaJournal onInstagram.