Find out what this experienced yogi keeps in his bag. What’s In Your Bag? – Chris Byford


Q&A WITH CHRIS BYFORD (YOGA INSTRUCTOR/MENTAL STRENGTH COACH) OF CHRIS BYFORD YOGA (VIGOR, SHAKTI, FAHRENHEIT, FREEBIRD, HOT YOGA PLUS, SMALL WORLD YOGA)

We mean your gym bag. For some, it’s a top of the line, multi-functional fashion statement. For others it’s a simple backpack. No matter how fancy their features are, what really matters is what lies within. This month we asked Chris to show off what his bag holds within.

WHAT ITEMS DO YOU ALWAYS CARRY IN YOUR GYM BAG?

I’m always moving from one class to the next so I carry multiple changes of clothes, daily vitamins, a digital watch to stay on track, my Ipad, deodorant, a toothbrush, a phone charger, my meditation seat and whatever books I am reading. The essentials really!

Currently I’m reading Perfectly Imperfect by Baron Baptiste for about the 10th time! I pick it up and read it randomly sometimes. It reconnects me to my passion for making a difference in people’s lives through sharing this practice. I am also rereading The 3 Laws of Performance by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan.

TELL US YOUR GO-TO PRE-WORKOUT AND POST-WORKOUT SNACK/DRINK?

I usually don’t eat anything for up to two hours before a yoga practice. The body needs the extra “wiggle room” to flex and balance into different positions. If I have to have something close to class, I’ll have an apple or some Greek yogurt.

Afterwards, it’s important to hydrate, and I find it best to eat my water. So I’ll have some water dense fruits and vegetables along with a healthy protein like chicken or fish.

WHAT’S THE NEWEST PIECE OF GEAR/APPAREL YOU’VE PURCHASED?

My new favorite piece of gear is my black Viper Shorts from Yoga for Men. They are comfortable, quick-drying, and stay in place when I do inversions in class. They’re simply amazing!

WHAT’S CHANGED ABOUT YOUR GYM BAG OVER THE PAST YEAR?

How much stuff is in it! I leave the house at 6AM every morning, and I sometimes don’t make it home until after dinner time. I make sure to have items in my bag that keep me grounded and connected to my purpose for the day.

IF YOUR BAG SOMEHOW CAUGHT FIRE AND YOU COULD ONLY SAVE ONE ITEM, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Wow! That is a tough question. I have to say my cell phone, which I try to keep in my bag so I can stay present when I am practicing or teaching. It’s great to disconnect from my electronics, but it really is my lifeline to my practice and clients.

ON A GOOD DAY, YOUR OPTIMAL WORKOUT ROUTINE LOOKS LIKE…

I always try to begin and end my day with meditation. I’ll start with a quick meditation in the morning, then I’m usually teaching a power yoga class at one of my favorite studios.

I’ll incorporate some circuit strength training in the afternoon to keep the body and core strong, and then, again, finish the day with a nice relaxing meditation to relax my mind before bed.

It is always a bonus if I can squeeze some late night yin yoga in as well!

FAVORITE QUOTE/MANTRA YOU LIVE BY?

“Go from a human being doing yoga to a human being yoga.” – Baron Baptiste

This reminds me to live the lessons I learn on my mat and to be a living example of what I teach in my class.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?

Blue. It resonates with me because it’s calm and tranquil but can still be fierce and piercing.

HOW OLD ARE YOU? AND HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL?

I’m 40. Physically, I feel 25. Mentally, I feel 40. Spiritually, I feel like a child most days. I love what I do and it fills my spirit with joy and ease to share it with yogis everywhere!

WHO DO YOU ADMIRE OR LOOK UP TO AS A ROLE MODEL?

There are so many people I look up to! My teacher, Baron Baptiste, always comes to the forefront as a role model in how to share myself in a way that positively impacts my community and the people around me.

THE BEST WORKOUT PLAYLIST WOULD FEATURE THE FOLLOWING SONGS…

I honestly don’t play a lot of music in my class. It’s a time dedicated to checking in, listening to your breath and the voice of the instructor. However, I do love:

  • Drive by DJ Aydamn
  • God Is Real by Krishna Das
  • 11:59 by Michael Franti

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR WORKOUT BAG, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

I’d really like the ability to carry a roll out hammock with me so I could catch a quick nap in the park in-between classes. If you have any suggestions, send them my way!

WHAT SEPARATES YOUR PRACTICE FROM SOME OF THE OTHER YOGA INSTRUCTORS IN NASHVILLE?

My class is different because I teach from my own practice and life. Expect to be physically challenged but also uplifted and rewarded. I take my work serious. But I also try not to take myself too seriously either. My class is for every-BODY!

It doesn’t matter your age, experience level or body type. Everyone can take my class and feel welcome and connected. You’re going to get an amazing physical and mental practice, and maybe a few laughs too!

IG: chris_byford_yoga