From fusing yoga and HIIT to using her voice as a Green Warrior, Liv Lo is full of surprised and paving a new way to workout that fits into the perpetual ‘busy’ life we lead.
We’re big fans of Liv Lo. Not only does she kick our butts with her FitSphere online workouts, but she is one of our favorite Crazy Green Asians, using her voice for the good fight – you know the one to save the planet (and us!). Her upcoming FitSphere First launch event is no exception – weaving sustainability, wellbeing, and fitness together for this inaugural experience.
Thanks to Leo and his documentary Before The Flood, I first met Liv a few years ago when she had just had a rude awakening to the state of the planet. Liv wasted no time taking action and we decided to put an event together to screen the documentary and discuss how we could arise before the flood. Not one to sit on the sidelines and wait for things to change, Liv takes things into her own hands. From starting an ‘anti-plastic petition‘ in Singapore to starting a whole new type of workout – HIIT Yoga, yes that is right a combining the sweat of HIIT with the meditative benefits of yoga.
This led her to start up FitSphere, a home for fit yoga workshops combining her love for yoga and fitness together for busy people on the go. She’s got her first big launch event for Asia, ‘FitSphere First‘ in Kuala Lumpur, happening on March 17th 2019. So we chatted with her to find out more about her Fit-Yoga journey, how she’s weaving in sustainability and what to expect next.
What is FitSphere and how did you come up with the idea?
I’ve been practicing yoga for over 13 years now, and I wanted to find my purpose for fitness and my purpose for yoga. After that many years, it got a little stagnant and I couldn’t find what I was looking for in my practice anymore. And when I stopped to look at what I really loved it do, it was doing HIIT at home, and I naturally started blending that with yoga, to balance out flexibility and alignment with a little bit more fitness-based, mindful workout. FitSphere is an at home fit yoga workout that I developed during my time as a yoga teacher.
Then I started testing this out on my students, as I was a yoga teacher at the time and I called it HIIT Yoga, because HIIT uses bodyweight workouts, and yoga was the foundation. After teaching this type of workout for two years, it became my style and the kind of yoga that I like to teach. Having never studied in India or traditional routes of yoga, I wasn’t connected to those ways of practicing yoga. Instead, I use the philosophy and interpreted it into something that was suitable for my lifestyle – shorts pockets of time with limited space. And thus, FitSphere is an at home fit yoga workout that I developed.
I created my first yoga program called FitSphere First – a 12 episode HIIT and yoga series, with meditation. Classes include deep stretching, quick episodes that are digestible within seven minutes or even longer episodes that are for an hour and a half. Really, classes that you cannot find in the studio, that you can use to develop your own self-practice.
What is your mission and big dream?
As I said, my practice has developed over the years, and it’s changed, but it’s always been there for me as a constant. My mission is just to help people find their fitness and to stick with it for life. No matter what stage people are at, I want them to find a ‘fitness’ that is meaningful to them. It’s so much more than trying to look good, or be trendy, or lose weight. I see a lot of people trying to promote getting a bigger butt or gain a lot of flexibility or unrealistic goals through workout programs. And often these are 12-week programs with things you have to do every day. For me, I don’t find that reasonable, feasible or something I can commit to every day. Sometimes I don’t have more than a few minutes to dedicate to developing my mind-body practice!
With that in mind, I wanted to empower others to have a different view of what their fitness could be, no just ‘get quick results’ as there is no longevity in that. Health for me is living a long life, in greater health, and the more that I use fitness to keep my body long and strong, the more that I am able to achieve all of that. And that I want to be able to have fitness in my life for the rest of my life. I want others to know that they can incorporate this, too.
How are you weaving your passion for the environment and sustainability into your work?
I had a real conscious awakening when I watched Before the Flood by Leonardo Dicaprio. I literally couldn’t sleep because I looked around me, and I just saw plastic everywhere, I saw my air con on, I really observed and took note of how I got to and from work, and how I treated my environment, and those around me. There was an imbalance and I was no longer okay just going about my day like before with no thought of my actions. My old routine was harming others, harming the environment, and I wasn’t happy with just doing that anymore.
From there, I started weaving it into my work through my voice, the way that I present myself, the way that I speak to others, the way that I share on social media, my lifestyle etc. By sharing my small actions on a day to day basis, I hope that people will see this is a lifestyle driven from a personal desire to do better, instead of preaching, saying “You should do this, you should do that.” I believe that what you put out feeds back to you, and I was no longer okay only taking and not giving back. The idea of living consciously and sustainably is a way that I could give back to the earth instead of just taking, taking, taking all the time. You can live a very fulfilled and happy life cultivating a good environment around you.
Now you have your FitSphere First – your launch event happening in KL! What can people expect?
People can expect just to be able to enjoy an afternoon of wellness with me, to just get a glimpse into my lifestyle, and to be able to have time where we can talk. We’re going to be talking about food, and how it relates to fitness, and then they have a workout with live music. These are all things that are really meaningful to my life, and I want people to be able to enjoy along with me.
As FitSphere is a digital platform, I am looking forward to doing more global events, where I can meet our community from around the world and reach more people. You may even catch me at the upcoming Conscious Festival in Hong Kong by Green Is The New Black!
It was important for you to make the event as green as possible. What have you put in place and what were some of the challenges/ non-negotiables for you?
First, I needed to find the partners really aligned with my beliefs. We partnered with Rawsome, who makes amazing vegan (meat-free) meals that are the most delicious things you’ve ever tasted. They knew that I wanted to make this event single-use plastic-free, and it was no question to serve the food with wooden cutlery and in paper boxes. So we have sustainable food and sustainable resources.
Finding a venue that would allow us to have a plastic-free event was really challenging and we had to turn a few options down. And even though this was harder than we thought, we stuck with our gut, as we knew the experience we wanted to create was holistic and well-rounded. Next was water. We want our guests to experience the action of being responsible for what they bring to the workout, such as a reusable water bottle. Then we had to find partners that were also in line with that messaging like Panasonic for refillable water stations, and Purely Be to retail reusable bottles for those that don’t have.
You are often on the move around the world. What are a few of your top wellness tips that keep you sane?
Skin care, diet, as well as bringing your ‘portable comforts’, such as your water bottle, and your reusable coffee canister. Those kind of things just really make me feel like I’m able to be myself no matter where in the world I am. I take time when I pack to make sure I pack well and pack sensibly so I don’t have to buy things that I could have forgotten. Also keeping my routine of fitness, which is why FitSphere has also helped me a lot as I’m able to do my workouts no matter where I am in the world. And I’m also able to have the tools to for self-practice, to know how to just drop down and give myself a good 10 minutes to 50 minutes, whatever I need, wherever I am. That really keeps me sane.
If you had the power to change the world, what would you do?
I would make everyone practice yoga. I really want everybody to practice and to have a little bit more self-love. If you love yourself, only then are you really able to love someone else, love the earth, love the environment, love your family. If you don’t love yourself, or worse you hate yourself, you don’t have that deep appreciation and it can be hard to love. It comes from the idea of what you think love is. But if you know how to treat yourself well, and you know how to give yourself what you need and put yourself first, then you’re really able to think, “Okay, how can I help others, and how can I do good in this world?”.
What are your top #LittleGreenSteps that people can take to #LiveMoreConsciously?
I would say start by looking around you. Look to your immediate left and right, and see if you have any things around you that can be changed in your environment. I think it all starts from you, and what you feel like you can do whether it be cooking for yourself, eating less meat, or bringing your reusable water bottle, and your coffee mug. You may have heard these types of things before, but are you doing it? Sometimes it takes actually looking around to see and then you might how you can take an action, instead of just be inspired and it not really going anywhere.
What’s really important to put your dollar where your mouth is, and where your ideas are. If you keep supporting the companies that are not doing well, they’re going to be able to keep functioning and doing business. So, support those companies that are green and trying to change the world. Your support will go much further than just buying from a big corporation that doesn’t really care. Start by seeing what you’re passionate about. If you’re passionate about skincare, go look into it and start supporting those brands that are doing good to change the world.
How can people sign up for the event in Kuala Lumpur?
Got to fitsphere.com and Public class, it’s right there, all the details. It’s all done online and you will get a confirmation email. It’s $15 on the website, but on the weekend off and at the door, it will be $20. The first 300 who sign up online will get a Reebok mat and a goodie bag to take away.
If you want more of Liv, watch this video on how she got more conscious.