Interview By SEBASTIAN THOMAS
Alex Rose Wiesel has enjoyed a successful career in Hollywood, starring on such hit shows such as Two And A Half Men, After Latley, Dexter and Hart Of Dixie. But, what people may not know is that Alex is also a certified Yoga/Pilates teacher, and treats her weekly personal yoga-time as a well deserved gift to herself.
Asana Journal reached out to Alex to find out more about her love of yoga and how it has helped her blossoming career as an actress…
1. How were you first introduced to yoga and what were your original thoughts?
My first time taking yoga was after buying a class package to a studio near my place. They were doing a 30 day challenge and that’s what I decided to do. Looking back, it was a bit over ambitious, but afterwards I caught the bug and I’ve been practicing at that studio and neighboring studios ever since. I had never been to a workout class without mirrors and I loved how this studio allowed me to truly self evaluate and meditate while getting a work out.
2. What is the biggest misperception about yoga you find, now that you are an active participant and a former certified teacher?
I think the biggest misperception about yoga is the assumption that it’s all stretching and it doesn’t offer a “work out”. I’ve never felt stronger, more balanced, toned (and also more flexible) with any other form of exercise.
3. How important is an active, healthy lifestyle to you?
A healthy lifestyle is very important to me. I’ve always played sports and been active growing up and that definitely stuck with me as an adult. In college, I took dance classes nearly every day of the week and post college I became certified to teach Pilates.
4. What types of yoga did you used to teach and why those?
I’ve taught vinyasa flow classes with fusions. Because of my background in dance, being in a room with no mirrors, concentrating on nothing but your own movements, muscle memory and drive within yourself is one of my favorite things about yoga. I feel like Vinyasa flow achieves all those things.
5. Your body used to be showcased on billboard for Pop Physique… how was that seeing your body every where?
My body WAS on a Pop Physique billboard! Before I was introduced to yoga, I practiced and taught barre class often (which integrates extremely well with pilates). I loved Pop Physique’s image when it came to advertising. They have a very cool “LA” vibe, and it made me feel really confident about my body. I’ve never been super skinny, and struggled with my weight as a kid. Being showcased in this fashion was flattering and a huge boost of confidence.
6. What is your overall motivation to stay fit?
My motivation to stay fit I’m sure takes roots in growing up around fashion and fitness magazines my mom always had around the house. And while reading them, realizing I didn’t have the body and I wanted to. I think a lot of pre-teen/teenage girls struggle with that. Luckily, the positive thing that came out of that was making fitness a habit. I can’t go more than a couple days without a yoga or Pilates practice.
7. You are still active with taking hot yoga and vinyasa flow classes… what about these types attracted your interest most?
Once I tried hot yoga I became obsessed. It was everything I loved about regular yoga plus an amazing sweat session. I got a major “yoga high” after my first practice and now always crave hot yoga. In the same way you’re “inhaling all the good and exhaling all the bad” your body is sweating out all the “negative energy”. Hot yoga always puts me in a great head space.
8. Is it hard to find time to do yoga with your busy schedule as an actress?
Maybe it’s the universe’s way of knowing how bad I need yoga, but I never have a problem fitting it into my schedule. Even weeks when I’m on set everyday somehow it always works out to fit in a practice. I have done a few at home yoga sessions when need be, but, I have such love for the teachers whose classes I frequent. Finding time for yoga while I’m working is crucial for my happiness and sanity. I also think it’s the best pre-audition prep!
9. How has hot yoga and other forms helped you as an actress professionally?
Hot yoga and other yogas help me as an actress through mantras. It’s so easy to get caught up in the comparisons, in the rejection, in the things you can’t control. And yoga, for me, is helpful in letting go of those thoughts that don’t serve you. There’s so much internalized hurt that can come from this profession and I know I can project a lot of things back on myself. I love that yoga, almost like therapy, helps me work though those detrimental feelings.
10. What advice would you like to share with other practitioners based on your personal experience or others looking at getting into the same things you do?
My biggest advice for other practitioners would be to go to a yoga studio where when you walk in, you feel comfortable, welcomed as you are, and where you leave your phone outside the room. Sometimes it’s enough for me to know that for a full hour I won’t have any urge or need to look at my phone. It’s funny to think about, but it’s not very often we give ourselves that escape. Without yoga I don’t think I would ever be without my cell phone!
11. Where is your favorite place to do yoga?
My home base is a studio in LA that used to be called Yoga Shelter & I also love Hot 8. Those are my two most favorite places to practice. Hot 8 has these eucalyptus towels that are amazing! And many of the formally known Yoga Shelter teachers are some of the best yoga teachers I’ve ever had.
12. Do you also follow a strict diet? Or what are some of your favorite health foods?
I do follow a semi strict diet, but I’m trying to be kinder with myself and not be AS strict. I’m trying harder to listen to my body. For the past 7 or so years I haven’t eaten a long list of things due to allergies and things I had read that were “bad”. I still plan to eat healthy but I’m trying to be less stressed about it. I do feel better without gluten & dairy though. And my all time favorite healthy treat is the freeze from Pressed Juciery. It’s like soft serve but made from whole food and juice ingredients, like, cacao, sea salt, water, almonds, and dates. They serve it with toppings including a hot cacao syrup that is chocolate heaven!
13. What are your future dreams and goals both professionally and personally?
Professionally, my goals remain to maintain working as an actress. I love working in TV and comedy so any chance I have to do those things is a dream come true and I am so grateful. But those chances don’t come all the time so my goals personally, are to not be so hard on myself when the dreams I have aren’t happening as fast as I’d liked or imagined they would. Instead my goals are to trust myself, trust my work, trust the process, and trust that by focusing on what I want and working hard to achieve it, it will happen when the timing is right. Basically to have more faith.
14. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
If I could change one thing in the world it would be the judgments we place on each other by appearance. No matter what the judgement is that is passed, I wish we (as the human race, a society) could see deeper. Actually notice people for who they truly are before we had the ability to form an opinion.
15. If you could explain your love for yoga & fitness in 4-6 words, what would it be?
Giving myself a well-deserved gift.