Six hot yogis

We asked how regular practice changed six New Yorkers' bodies---and their lives.

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  • Photograph: Alexandra Strada

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  • Photograph: Alexandra Strada

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  • Photograph: Alexandra Strada

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  • Photograph: Alexandra Strada

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  • Photograph: Alexandra Strada

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Photograph: Alexandra Strada

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Manuel Palazzo


32, dancer, Roosevelt Island

How did you become a yogi?
I'm a freelance dancer, so I have worked with my body my whole life, but I started yoga about a year and a half ago to help me focus my energy. I wanted to learn how to breathe properly.

What's your current practice like?
I do vinyasa or vinyasa-hatha yoga daily, sometimes two or three times a day.

How has yoga affected your diet?
I have always been healthy, but now I am even more conscious about eating organic. My diet consists of a lot of fruits (like goji berries), nuts, legumes, fish and green tea—and always a lot of water. When I eat good, fresh foods, I feel much better. I still like to drink red wine, but I go out much less than I used to.

What's the biggest payoff?
The best physical benefit is the ability to breathe properly. You open a space in your body that was closed before, and you can feel the expansion. Yoga has also helped me get stronger and be sturdier—in dance and in life. Now I have more compassion, more understanding, more patience.

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