Q&A With: Hilaria Thomas Baldwin of SoulYoga
July 12, 2012 | Style & Beauty
When it came to branching out with a yoga program, SoulCycle turned to Yoga Vida’s Hilaria Thomas Baldwin. Recently hitched to Alec Baldwin, the yogi created the just-launched SoulYoga, a 45-minute class designed to stretch muscles that become too tight from indoor cycling. Offered exclusively at SoulCycle’s East Hampton location on Saturdays at 9:45 AM and 10:45 AM, and Sundays at 9:45 AM, through August, we spoke with Mrs. Baldwin about how newbies should prep for class, how she connected with SoulCycle, her Hamptons mainstays, and more. 68 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, 324-6600
How did you connect with SoulCycle?
HILARIA THOMAS BALDWIN: My husband would cycle regularly and I was always afraid to try it. A friend took me to my first class and it was so hard that I didn’t return for quite a few months! I saw Alec spin all summer and eventually I gained enough courage to try it again. I fell in love with it the second time. Alec saw how much I enjoyed attending SoulCycle and suggested that I try to teach yoga with them in East Hampton during the summer. I met with [SoulCycle co-owner] Julie and was struck immediately by her positive energy. Everyone at Soul is incredible and I feel very lucky to be teaching here.
Do you cycle regularly?
HTB: Yes! I need to get my fix of two-three classes every week.
Can you tell us about your workout routine?
HTB: My main cardio is SoulCycle, although I also swim and run occasionally. I get my precision toning from Physique 57. I do yoga every day—even if it is just some light stretching. Typically the yoga that I practice is my rigorous vinyasa class where I blend stretching, strengthening and cardio. But I believe that you must listen to and honor the body. Taking a day to rest every week is important. On my rest day, I give myself a “check in” yoga class where I move very slowly and just take note of the condition of my body so I know that I am respecting it.
How did you design the class to appeal specifically to cyclers?
HTB: I have taught SoulCyclers for quite some time now and I became much more skilled at designing a yoga regimen that complements this workout as I deepened my own indoor cycling practice. I noticed that it is common for riders to contract tightness in the hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, and quads. So, we will focus on loosening up these areas while strengthening the core, which will not only make the students fit, but will also help them understand how to move differently on the bike. Breathing is another important element that attendees of my class will focus on. Breathing is synonymous with a vinyasa class, and will help riders develop stamina, circulation, and an overall sense of calm and well-being both on and off the bike.
Do you have any tips for people new to yoga? How should they prepare for their first class?
HTB: This is a question that East Hamptonites have been stopping me and nervously asking whenever I come into town. Just remember that it has been around for thousands of years and is the oldest known fitness regimen. Many people before you have been capable of this movement form, so don’t be nervous or scared—come with a sense of humor and curiosity.
What are some of your favorite spots out in the Hamptons?
HTB: For fitness, I love SoulCycle (68 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, 324-6600), Physique 57 (Butter Lane Barn, 264 Butter Lane, Bridgehampton, 537-5722), the pool at Gurney’s (290 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk, 668-2345), and our yard for a little yoga.
For dining, we love Mary’s Marvelous (207 Main St, Amagansett, 267-8796), Nick and Toni’s (136 North Main St., East Hampton, 324-3550), Babette’s (66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, 329-5377) and Sen (23 Main St., Sag Harbor, 725-1774), but mostly our back porch for a home-cooked meal.
For scenery, I have a warm place in my heart for the lighthouse at Montauk where Alec proposed to me. We also love going to Indian Well’s Beach, going out on our boat, and taking walks on Lily Pond Lane.