Yogi Life: The Contortionist with Briohny Smyth

If you haven’t seen the gorgeous yoga video ‘The Contortionist‘ yet, you’re welcome. Equinox’s elegant depiction of yogi Briohny Smyth in full flow became a viral sensation last spring and our whole office was struck by this video, the beautiful lighting and Briohny’s impressive practice. We met up with Briohny and – as we’re prone to do – drilled her with a batch of curious questions we know you’d love answers to as well!

TCM: First of all, Bri, your video for Equinox was something of a phenomenon in our offices – we know it was a big hit everywhere. How did that video come together?
BS: “‘The Contortionist’ video idea was birthed by the amazing Liz Miersch at Equinox’s Q Blog. She wanted to put together a video that represented yoga and her passion for arm balances and inversions, so she put the word out amongst the clubs and Keith Irace (southwest regional manager) recommended me! They gave me full artistic freedom and it was more like a fun, all day practice than a video shoot.”

TCM: Tell us what first turned you on to yoga.
BS: “Freedom from the thoughts in my mind. No matter the direction of my physical practice, stretching or strong, it always allows me the opportunity to be present. Linking my breath and movement, I am able to bring my attention out of my mind and onto my mat.”

TCM: Tell us about your focus in your practice. Every yogi has their own take on things. What’s yours?
BS: “Some days, I’m more playful and my focus will be on a fun transition. But most of the time, I’m seeking serenity, whether that comes from defying gravity for a minute or two, releasing tension in a hip opener or laying back in Savasana.”

TCM: Yoga retreats are all the rage and we’re certain you’re been invited to be a part of quite a few. Do you have a favorite event or retreat that you’ve been a part of?
BS: “We have been very blessed with the opportunity to plan and host our own retreats. Last year, we took our fellow yogis to Cabo San Lucas.  I am actually writing the interview from the plane on our way to host our second retreat in Thailand! This one is my favorite already.”

TCM: Favorite pose?
BS: “Savasana.”

TCM: Favorite post-yoga treat?
BS: “Raw coconut water by Harmless Harvest.”

TCM: Favorite studio?
BS: “Pure in NYC.”

TCM: Favorite yoga session of all time?
BS: “My hubby Dice’s hip opening class.”

TCM: Trend in yoga that you love seeing?
BS: “Yogis supporting one another!”

TCM: Biggest misconception about yoga?
BS: “That’s its dangerous…

Listen to your body and not your ego and you will stay safe.”

TCM: Most important thing to remember about your practice?
BS: “Your practice is exactly that… YOURS.”

TCM: Most helpful yoga tip?
BS: “Breathe.”

TCM: Class you’d love to take?
BS: “Noah Maze.”

TCM: Yoga destination you’d love to visit?
BS: “That’s a tough one because yoga is so mobile that you can bring it anywhere! Our next retreat will be in Turkey or Greece, so that’s my next dream destination.”

TCM: Personal mantra?

“‘Breathing in…I am breathing in. Breathing out… I am breathing out.’ -Thict Naht Hahn”

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