Heidi Kristoffer is a beacon of positive energy and light. An actress turned yogi turned super-successful business owner, Heidi is also the mother of three beautiful children — and the pandemic hasn’t been the easiest time for them.
As with most things, though, Heidi has managed to handle it all with so much grace. Read on to find out how she’s helping her family and business thrive in these trying times.
How has this cosmic time where almost every aspect of life has been shifted by the pandemic shifted your perception and philosophy of daily life?
In this crazy new world of ours, I am committed more than ever to flexibility, adaptability, and flipping perspective. With our immunity being more important than ever, I am fully committed to saying no to stress, which often means changing old patterns of thinking and reframing how I look at things.
Have you found any aspects of parenting to be deeply transforming during these times?
Our home is in NYC, and my husband didn’t feel it was safe, so as I write this we have been nomadic, going from place to place for the last three and a half months. Because there was nothing routine about life once school went virtual, I have done my absolute best to keep routines anywhere possible for my kiddos.
This means meal times, bedtime, nighttime routines, etc. They were getting a bit weepy, and this seems to help them feel more comfort. My youngest, (he’s 2.5), is going through a phase that started during quarantine where he says, “I want to get back in your belly.” I ask him why, and he replies, “I want more milk.” Which, of course, is heartbreaking. But what’s pulling on my heart even more is that my twins, who are almost five, say the same thing now. They clearly need all the comfort they can get, so there are lots of extra cuddles, snuggles, and kisses these days.
Have you had moments of fear or overwhelm during 2020? How has yoga supported this? Do you have any other rituals that deeply support you during times of constriction/tension?
Of course. This year has been so out of the ordinary, with exciting new adventures, and all of the less than exciting events. In January I launched a podcast, Off The Gram, with three of my best friends. In February I launched my first solo yoga app, CrossFlow Yoga. In March, we left our home. To call all of the changes this year overwhelming is an understatement. Yoga and meditation have been my constant. In this space of nothing remaining the same, having a consistent practice is the closest I get to feeling home. So I practice yoga and meditation daily, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Every little bit matters and helps.
You have three beautiful humans that you are raising. Can you share how you are supporting their evolution and development when it comes to thriving in the world today?
Thank you! I lead with love. In all things, and in all ways. My children are being raised to be respectful and loving towards all living beings.
I firmly believe if everyone in this world led with love, our world would be an infinitely better place. I shower them with love all day every day and teach them manners, respect, and discipline.
It is my personal belief that a child without structure feels unsafe, so I balance the structure with fun and love. I would never presume to say that my way is the right way for anyone else, but it is what’s best for my family.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts that you feel deeply connected to?
Well, of course I love the Off the Gram Podcast! I also love Terri Cole’s podcast, The Terri Cole Show. I always feel like she says exactly what I need to hear. In terms of books, Jack Kornfield’s “A Path With Heart” has been a longtime favorite of mine. He teaches so many ways into mediation in very simple, understandable terms. I am also loving the early copy I got of my dear friend, Alex Jamieson’s collaboration with her amazing husband, Bob Gower, “Radical Alignment”. It is a new way to communicate effectively, and wow is it life-changing.
What are a few go-to favorite snacks recipes you have for your kids during tight schedule days?
On a super tight day, I give them pistachios for snack. If I have time to make a recipe, I make my Super Powered Oat Bread, or Popeye Berry Squares. I almost always have one of those two on hand since I batch bake them. I am a big believer in meal and snack prep.
Can you share how the Yoga Sutras have supported your human evolution? Any favorite ones?
Yoga sutra 2.33 (vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam) has long been a favorite of mine. It also relates to what I described above about changing for our current world and reducing stress. Per this sutra, any time a negative thought comes up, I replace it with a positive one. Also, 2.46 Sthira Sukha Asanam is something I think about every moment. Finding the balance of effort and ease is what I always strive to do.
Can you share how yoga supported your healing from a car accident? Any particular style or poses that were extra beneficial?
An accident at 18 left me with multiple spinal injuries. At the time, the doctors were worried that I could be paralyzed from the neck down and never regain my ability to look from left to right. It was a long healing process, but yoga is what eventually worked. Beyond the physical poses, yoga gave me a connection to my body and the ability to listen to its needs. That’s what allowed me to heal. I worked with an amazing spinal surgeon and an equally amazing physical therapist who gave me the space to heal on my own. My PT gave me doctor-approved moves, and I found a way to incorporate them into my yoga practice until I got strong enough to do asana.
There were a lot of core strengthening moves involved, starting with baby bridges, small cat/cows, thread the needle, and eventually graduating to forearm planks, planks, boat and low boat pose. I learned through my practice that headstand will never be okay for my body, and shoulder stand probably isn’t a great move for me either. The wonderful thing about yoga is there are an infinite amount of asanas as well as variations on them. Losing one or two poses out of thousands is really not a big deal to a practice. But, when said poses are harmful to one’s body, they are the biggest deal to omit. It all comes back to the yogic principle of Ahimsa: learning non-violence towards one’s own self before graduating to Ahimsa to others. Through consistent practice and listening to my body, I was able to allow the curve to come back in my cervical spine (the accident straightened it), and reverse the herniations in my discs by creating more space, and the muscles around the spine to keep strengthening that space.
Could you tell us how CrossFlowX was developed and what makes it so very popular? How can we practice with you regularly?
CrossFlowXTM was born out of a video series I did for Shape Magazine of yoga mashups. I did a Tabata Yoga mashup video, and, as someone who always dreaded pigeon pose, when I was shooting that, experienced the best pigeon of my life, going into it after a mountain climber. I knew there was something to it then (my body was so tired from the HIIT, I didn’t have the energy to tell myself to resist the pose, so my body melted in). And, when the owners of one of the first boutique fitness studios in NYC reached out asking me to create a class for them, I knew I would build it around the idea of warming up the body from the inside to allow for deeper opening. My love for Kundalini kriyas won out, and they got woven into the cardio yoga flow as well.
I created the class for yogis who needed cardio. What happened in the boutique fitness space was that the class evolved to yoga for workout junkies. It also became a doorway to a more in depth yoga practice, since it gave workout junkies the cardio they loved, the strength moves they craved, and they felt like they were checking their “yoga” box off. This class also attracts many men since there is so much strength focus, and it’s not entirely dependent on flexibility like many yoga classes are. So the women in my class loved to bring their SOs, and then they had a new, healthy date night!
This February, I released my very first solo yoga app, CrossFlow Yoga. You can practice with me there anytime, anywhere, and there is a risk-free two-week trial! No worries if CrossFlowXTM sounds too intense for you, I also offer plenty of CrossFlowV (v is for vinyasa), p for pre- and postnatal, Z for getting your zzzs and restoring, CrossFlowRx is a collab with doctors for your yoga prescription for all that ails you, and so much more.
For our yoga and fitness experts reading, can you share a few business tips for how to turn your yoga teaching into a yoga empire?
If you are in it for the money, or in it for fame, you are in the wrong profession. You must follow your passion. And you must enact change for the better. Do not create a class or method for the sake of creating something and feeling different. Do not copy others. If you feel driven to create something, do! But, don’t create for the sake of creating, it will be disingenuous, and the class or method will fail. I see this happen every day. I have seen so many humans carbon copy one another. Of course they fail. The world doesn’t need or want carbon copies, they need that unique and special YOU! So, if you can be YOU, and move from a place of “how can I help” rather than “how can I succeed” or “how can I be like X”, you will succeed. Those who move from a place of good, and have real motivation and drive, and do the work will thrive.
I know no one wants to hear this, but guess what? I worked my bum off to get to where I am. There were many ups and downs, which I am very open about, but the one constant is that I was driven to share yoga because of how much it changed my life for the better on every level, and I wake up every morning, focused on that goal, and take steps every single day to make it happen. I also am forever a student. I never pretend to have all of the answers. This is something I see a lot of: yoga teachers or fitness instructors with their brand new certification and no practical hours under their belts calling themselves experts. There is no shame in being new to something. Always be honest, and be where and who you are.
There is no shortcut for hard work, and there is no replacement for true drive. Drive, hard work and honesty equal success.