I’m Rainesford, the brand-new PR/Social Media intern for the wonderful MPG. One of the remarkably coolest parts of my new role here is being able to say I work for a brand whose shorts I am currently wearing and in whose product I completely believe in, which I’m sure will ever grow old. I am a writer and a ballet dancer-turned-yogi who also enjoys cycling, hiking and desperately trying to convince my body that I’m a runner (one day!).
I began training pre-professionally in ballet at age seven, and continued a rigorous schedule with intentions of eventually embarking upon a professional career until the age of fifteen, when I fractured my lower back, strained muscles around the site and subsequently lost a tremendous amount of flexibility in my left leg. Suddenly, the meticulously established plan I’d plotted for myself was devastatingly thrown off course. I used yoga as part of my rehab, trying to regain flexibility and my previous range of motion. I took my first yoga class at Steps on Broadway in New York, a legendary hub for dancers, and though it improved my flexibility, I also noticed I was calmer, more clear-headed, and pleasantly happier post-Downward-Dog.
Swiftly, good old Vinyasa classes segued into an infatuation with Bikram, and it’s easy to see why, since the mental benefits of sweat almost outweigh the physical ones. Eventually, I found that my ideal class is heated Vinyasa —which I now teach.
One of the most incredible aspects of this journey, from ballet dancer to yogi, has been seeing the similarities between the two diverse disciplines especially in the freedom, full-body movement and silent strength found in both. I am pretty sure yoga made me a better dancer but I am positive yoga made me a better person: The best version of myself mysteriously appears after a great yoga class, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
In many ways, I’m not a stereotypical yogi: I am not a Vegan (good for those who are!), I don’t know the proper Sanskrit yoga terms, and sometimes, after class, I like to eat French fries in lieu of fresh fruit. To me, these things summarize the greatest, most significant part of yoga: Anyone can do it. Anyone can be a yogi. Coming fresh off the ballet barre, where, frankly, not everyone possesses the physical attributes to be a dancer, this is wildly refreshing. I’ve seen it all – soccer players, nine-year-olds, stay-at-home moms, CEOs, CrossFitters, runners, swimmers, and more. They all meet on their mats and let yoga tell their stories.
Everyone of us has a great deal to say about our lives, our stories, and who, at our core, we truly and authentically are, which can be conveyed through our movement or in whatever style we sweat. Finding the way that speaks to us and pursuing it – whether it be on a bike, with a sprint, or on a mat speaks directly to MPG’s notion of ‘My Performance.’