By Sharon Feiereisen
We caught up with Hampton yogini Jessica Bellofatto, the founder and director of KamaDeva Yoga in East Hampton, to find out about the ins and outs of Stand-Up Paddleboarding, her favorite healthy snacks, and more.
Can you tell us about your favorite summer getaway?
Summer is a really busy work season for me so I don't actually 'get away' that much, but for me, all I need is my paddleboard or surfboard and I 'get away' on the water. Away from people, traffic, cell phone, computer, I find total joy being on the water.
Best trip you ever had for your health and fitness and what did you do?
The best trip I have ever had for health and fitness was when my boyfriend and I co-hosted a yoga, surf, SUP and nutrition retreat in Costa Rica. He is a chef who uses only organic food. His mantra is 'local food with global flavors.' In addition to daily yoga, surf, and paddleboard sessions, we sourced the most amazing veggies, fruits, and fresh caught fish from farmers markets and ate the most incredible food I have ever tasted. It is so awesome when one is eating to support an active lifestyle and when that food is not only delicious but completely healthy and nourishing to the body and spirit as well.
I should have been born in the 70's- Neil Young, and The Grateful Dead.
Stand Up Paddle is a huge trend right now. To what do you attribute that? What kind of strength is it important to have in order to be successful?
I think that SUP is a high trend right now because it is actually very accessible and totally versatile. You can go for a leisurely paddle with friends, and even carry your dog or child on the board and just be outside and on the water, or you can take it up a notch and go for a strong distance paddle and get an amazing workout.What should someone who is unfamiliar with SUP be prepared for when trying it for the first time?
When trying SUP for the first time, I always say a sense of humor is key, and don't be afraid to get wet! When a newbie is trying so hard to balance on the board and NOT fall in, the whole body is tense, the feet get crampy and most likely they will fall in anyway…. someone who is relaxed will have an easier time of it.
How has the fitness scene in the Hamptons changed these past few years?
There are lots of studios now like Tracy Anderson, Barry's Bootcamp, and the big spin studios that for some weird reason people will pay a LOT of money to fight for a space and sweat it out with a whole bunch of other people inside on a beautiful day. No offense, but I don't get it. I would much prefer to get and stay fit playing, whether it be an open water swim, a bike ride outside, a run at the beach followed by a jump in the ocean, or a SUP Yoga session….What’s a typical workout week like for you?
I run outdoors several days a week- one distance day, one track day with friends doing speed work, and a couple of other weary 4-6 milers… I paddle at least 2-3 days a week, I surf whenever possible, and I practice Yoga daily, whether it be 20 minutes at home upon awakening, or on my Boga Yoga board.
What are your go-to workout shoes? Accessories? Gym bags?
For running I love Newtons; for accessories my camelback hydration pack is a go-to and for paddling, also a trucker hat to keep the sun off my face and it floats if you fall in!
What kind of yoga mat do you use?
Favorite healthy eatery in NYC?
I love Angelika's Kitchen and Candle Cafe
Favorite healthy spots in the Hamptons?
Anything out of my boyfriend's garden- he basically grows all of our food…. we also have chickens, the best eggs in the Hamptons!
Favorite healthy snack?
Dark chocolate and red wine, together!
Favorite pre and post workout snack?
Raw cashew butter and sliced banana with raw honey on sprouted toast – It’s the best pre workout snack ever! Afterwards, I love a homemade coconut smoothie; I chop a coconut and use the water and meat, blend it up with raw cashews, raw cacao powder, banana, Udo's oil and whatever else strikes my fancy.
What a fitness myth that drives you crazy?
I think that people think that if they spend money on a trainer or a lot of money on classes they should lose weight and be 'fit.'
If we looked in your fridge, what would we always find?
Whole coconuts, homemade raw fermented sauerkraut, raw milk (yes straight from the cow), and KALE!
If we looked in your gym bag, what would we always find?
Young Living essential oils, my IPOD, and everything under the sun for whatever comes up that day- swim gear, paddle gear, run gear, yoga gear!
How does maintaining a healthy lifestyle effect your everyday life in a positive way?
A healthy lifestyle makes me happy…it's as simple as that. When I am eating well and moving my body, I feel good, and that carries over into everything else I do.