We came, we flowed, and we celebrated the first day of summer the best way we know. If you couldn’t be with us in NYC this past June, check out all the fun from Solstice right here, including a full hour-long yoga class with Catherine Gignac, and a music, meditation & movement session with Tiff McFierce.
This summer marked our 3rd year sponsoring Solstice, and Certified Yoga Teacher & Aerie Senior Manager of Digital Creative, Catherine Gignac, was back for her 3rd year to teach.
How has your class changed in your 3 years of teaching at Solstice?
Catherine: My class has changed so much since my first year at Solstice! This year was definitely the best one yet and that’s because I feel very sure of myself and my identity as a yoga instructor in a much deeper capacity. So many things have changed for me in such a great way and I’ve had the opportunity in the last year to really explore how I love to practice on my own mat and I bring that — and nothing else — into my teaching now. My class is always about moving stuck energy around, so I incorporate a lot of one-breath-per-movement repetitive flows to really get things sweaty and turned up. It also helps that after a third time on stage in Times Square I feel comfortable and I can really just let all the gratitude, love and appreciation I feel for this experience pour out.
What is your goal for your class—how do you want people to feel when they leave?
Catherine: My goal when I teach in Times Square is to make sure that everyone feels like they connect with someone even though there are so many people around. We link arms and hold each other up in this class because so many people think they’re alone in their insecurities and they’re not! It’s important for me to inspire people to love themselves, band together, make room for each other, and talk more about our vulnerabilities in public.
What are your tips for feeling more connected—to our bodies, to ourselves, and to the world around us?
Catherine: I’m not a huge journaler, but I’ve come to really love two different exercises that help me reground to my center when I feel like I’m spiraling and disconnected. The first is to make a list as long as I possibly can with all “I am” statements. The catch: they all have to be positive. “I am strong. I am confident. I am full of contradictions.” and so on. The second is one of my favorites that coach Jackie Carr introduced me to in one of her workshops. You draw a circle on a piece of paper and in it you write everything you want in your life and outside of it you write everything you don’t. Simply visualizing what I need versus what I don’t is so powerful for me to let go of what’s making me feel disconnected. If that doesn’t help, crank up some fast music and do 3 minutes of jumping jacks to the beat without stopping. That’ll work, promise.
Any time you want an #AerieREAL Empowered Flow, take Catherine’s class for an hour of heart pumping, soul healing, deeply soothing AND intensely challenging goodness. For more yoga from Catherine, go on the Aerie-ized mini version of her retreat in Tulum this past spring!
Tiff McFierce is a DJ & the founder of Look IN vs. Lookin’, a self-care series that combines music, meditation & movement.
What role does music play in your life?
Tiff: Music is like my heartbeat—I’ve known its sound since birth honestly and it plays a huge role in my life as not just my job, but my language. It’s how I ground myself, how I express myself with others and how I celebrate. It is in every part of me.
We normally think of meditation as something done in complete silence. How did you start doing it differently, and how has it changed you?
Tiff: I’ve always done everything differently since I was a young girl, and I remember feeling and hearing things very differently since about 5th grade. For me, my meditation has always been movement, being a professional dancer and dancing since I could literally walk, and music is the one thing I cannot live without, so it made sense as I became even more aware and ascended into different parts of my inner work and healing to just do me as usual. We as humans stop ourselves because we believe in doing things a certain way when life and self-care aren’t linear by any means, so we must listen and see what works for us. That is the whole premise of my wellness brand, Look IN vs Lookin’—meditation, wellness is YOUR personal journey to paint how you want and need to! Sound vibration is something I’ve studied throughout my career and with what I’ve learned, it’s only right for me to share it with others through my work and Look IN vs Lookin’ since it’s changed me.
Can you share more tips for dealing with stress?
Tiff: There’s nothing like getting in touch with your breath right away when you’re stressed. Usually when we are stressed we aren’t fully breathing, we are panting or shallow breathing and feeding the stress. Slowing down, putting both feet to MUVA, (that’s what I call Mother Earth), and reminding yourself that you are fully protected in this very moment and all that exists IS THIS very moment helps a bunch. Doing something you love even for just 5-15 minutes minimum every single day is a stress reliever as well. Again, stillness is your own so your meditation can be talking with a grounded friend, writing, reading, running or just putting on a favorite song and swaying.
Got 10 minutes? Use it for some well-deserved YOU time with Tiff’s music, meditation & movement session.
Until next Solstice, return to Catherine and Tiff’s sessions any time you want a little extra self-care.