Brentwood Focus Magazine

Check out my suggestions of where to get the best yoga in Brentwood in the February Issue of Brentwood Focus 🙂

The Right Fit

January 19, 2014

Kaleigh WalkerBy Kaleigh Walker

As we delve into a new year, we often have ambitious goals – especially when it comes to our health and exercise regimen. If there’s one workout I suggest you try or revisit in 2014, it’s yoga. Not only are the physical benefits amazing, but also the mental and spiritual aspects of the practice can truly change your life! The greatest part of yoga is that every person can benefit – age, skill level or ailments are not limiting factors. You just have to find the right class. In Brentwood alone, there are over 250 classes offered each week, so let’s explore what our neighborhood has to offer!




If you are looking for variety…try Corepower Yoga. From intro to advanced, to heated classes and yoga with weights, Corepower offers a multitude of class types and times to cater to most every person. In addition to 2 spacious yoga rooms, the studio offers full locker room amenities for those on the go.  A great perk for new students is a complimentary week pass to experience as many classes and instructors as they want!
Corepower Yoga 11819 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049 

Maha Yoga


If you are looking for the latest yoga trend…try Maha Yoga. Celebrities, Entertainment Execs and every other beautiful person in LA flock to Maha for the fun music and laid back vibe. The bright studio and smiling teachers are very welcoming and leave you feeling happy and refreshed! Most of the classes are catered to a stronger practitioner, but occasionally they do offer restorative yoga and chanting.
Maha Yoga 13050 San Vicente Blvd.,Second Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90049 



If you are looking for complimentary yoga…try Lululemon, Brentwood. In addition to being the “go-to” place for workout gear, Lululemon offers complimentary in-store yoga classes every Wednesday and Sunday for the community. Each class features a different instructor from the area, so you have the opportunity to try out many different teaching styles to find what works best for you!
Lululemon 11920 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049 




If you are looking for restorative classes…try The Hub. Are you stressed or running on empty? If so, check out the vast array of healing yoga classes and workshops offered at The Hub. The studio offers regular breathwork, meditation, soundbath, yoga therapy, chikung and restorative classes to help reinstate a sense of balance and peace of mind.
The Hub  2001 S. Barrington Ave., Suite 150, Los Angeles, CA 90025



If you are looking for a gym atmosphere…try Equinox Westwood. If you enjoy cardio and strength training in addition to an excellent yoga class, Equinox is the perfect choice for you. From personal trainers and innovative group fitness classes to luxurious locker rooms and a full-service spa, this gym offers the finest fitness amenities available.
Equinox 10960 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024 


About the Author: Kaleigh Walker is a certified Yoga Instructor, Personal Trainer, and Nutrition Coach in Los Angeles. She teaches regular yoga classes at Maha Yoga and Corepower Yoga and is available for private instruction. For more information, visit:

The Benefits of Dry Brushing!

Have you ever heard of a dry brush before? As I started getting more into yoga and natural healing remedies, I heard about this detoxifying method and FINALLY decided to give it a try about a month ago. I was stunned by the results and totally wish I would have started doing this years ago because it really works!! (Especially on CELLULITE!) So how does it work?

First off, our skin is the largest and one of the most important elimination organs in the body. The skin is responsible for ridding an average adult body of over one pound of acidic waste each and every day! The skin is the last organ to receive nutrients in the body, but as we know, the first to show signs of an internal imbalance (acne, rashes, wrinkles, dark under eye circles), so we need to take care of it. Dry Brushing can help aid in the detoxification process of the skin, as well as the liver, kidneys, lungs, gut, lymphatic system and mucous membranes. Here are a few of the wonderful benefits of dry brushing:

  • Diminishes the Appearance of Cellulite: Cellulite is partially hereditary, but Dry Bushing partnered with a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, veggies and grains (quinoa, flax seed, millet, etc) as well as exercise, will lead you to see results like never before! The toxic deposits of fat and tissue that have accumulated over the years will be broken up by the skin brushing and sent off to be removed by the elimination organs. I actually felt the detoxing effects after the first few days of Dry Brushing, so make sure you are eating clean, drinking lots of water and sweating out those nasty toxins! My thighs are smoother, firmer and softer than they have ever been before because the Dry Brushing removes dead skin layers as well as increases the blood flow which in turn, tones the muscles and tightens the skin!
  • Cleanses the Lymphatic System: The Lymphatic System is part of our immune system and brings cells essential nutrients as well as removes their wastes. All detoxification occurs first and foremost through the lymph, so Dry Brushing will help speed up the process of toxin elimination and boost our ability to fight colds and viruses.
  • Improves the Function of the Nervous System: Nerve endings are stimulated through the process of Dry Brushing. The increased blood flow reduces stressed areas of the body and in turn, rejuvenates the nervous system.
  • Helps Digestion: When you brush, the pores of your skin open allowing your skin to “breathe,” absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. The digestive organs are directly affected in a positive way and are able to work more efficiently.

These are just a few of the amazing benefits of Dry Brushing! So let’s get into what you need to buy as well as the simple process!I purchased this brush by Yerba Prima at Whole Foods, but any brand with these kind of bristles will work. You can also find it online at:

  1. Start with your feet, moving in soft circular movements (always moving towards the heart) first on the bottom of the feet, and then on the top.
  2. Work up each leg, one at a time, first the back of the leg (using the same soft circular, always towards the heart, movements) up through the buttock and then the front of the leg. I usually spend a good three minutes on each side because that’s where my cellulite accumulates!
  3. After you are finished with the lower half, start at the fingertips of one arm; move up the arm (palms of hands, back of hands, forearm, biscep) and towards the heart.  Repeat on other arm.
  4. Move to the back (this is where a short handled brush may come in handy) working your movements towards your stomach, starting and finishing with one side of the back and then the other.
  5. When you get to your stomach, start at your lower abdomen and work your way up (make sure to steer clear of delicate areas like the nipples) and end at your chest in an upward stroke.
  6. Rinse off and shower as normal. After I towel off, I apply a small amount of organic virgin coconut oil to the skin as it’s an amazing moisturizer with no chemicals!

I hope you decide to try this easy detoxifying method ASAP as I know you will be so happy with the results! 🙂

What Triggers Fat Storage?

I’ve struggled for many, many years on understanding how to eat! Should I eat more protein? Low carb? One large meal or small meals throughout the day? There is so much conflicting information out there that it seems hopeless. For the past two+ years, I’ve been following a way of eating that makes me feel and look my best (thanks to Kimberly Snyder!) but I still yearn to understand what is going on internally when you consume foods/drinks! I truly believe that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!  I’ve learned that eating should not be seen as an activity, but instead, a way of fueling our bodies. No one (that I have ever met) wants to be sick, have cancer, be overweight/obese, so why consume foods that lead us to that state of DIS-EASE? I know that if I educate myself on what happens internally when I eat processed foods or high fructose corn syrup, then there’s a better chance that I’m going to think twice before I put it into my body. So let’s learn!

Currently, I am reading “Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes. He broke down the intricate process of what happens internally when we eat “bad” carbohydrates. (Refined Flour and Sugar ie cookies, cake, cereal, ice cream, soda, fruit juices, potato chips, fried foods, white bread/rice, pizza, pasta, etc) This information is so important for us to understand so that we can break the process of poor eating habits NOW and prevent obesity/disease/cancer in the future.

First things first, we unfortunately don’t have control over our particularly body type. Some of us are more prone to put on weight and that’s just the way it is. But that doesn’t mean we have to be overweight or obese, it just means that we have to pay extra attention to what kinds of food we consume – especially carbohydrates! Bad Carbs, like I listed above, are digested quickly and flood the bloodstream with glucose. Your blood sugar spikes and insulin levels elevate! The Good Carbs (leafy green veggies, fruits, sweet potatoes, beans and grains like quinoa or millet), on the other hand, are bound with indigestible fiber and take much longer to enter our bloodstream and be digested. So what does this mean?

Even before we actually start putting food into our body, our minds start the process of insulin secretion just by thinking about eating. (Crazy, huh!?) The insulin signals the fat cells to shut down the release of fatty acids and take up more fatty acids from the circulation. Then you start getting hungry/hungrier and finally begin eating. More insulin is secreted and as the carbs are digested and enter the circulation as glucose, your blood sugar levels start to rise and even MORE insulin is secreted. Fat from the diet is stored in the fat cells as are some of the carbs that are converted into fat in the liver. The fat cells get fatter and so do you. The fat remains in the fat cells until the insulin level drops. Whew! That’s an intense process, but something that our body does time and time again. However, when we eat good carbs, not as much insulin is secreted and we are able to mobilize the fat and use it for fuel versus store it in the fat cells keeping us lean!

So in short, if you want to stay trim and healthy you need to avoid the “Bad” carbs and stock up on the “Good” carbs! What I’ve noticed is when I avoid foods containing refined flour and sugar, my cravings for those unhealthy foods diminish. When I eat the “Good” carbs, I am more satisfied, plus I look and physically/mentally feel my best! I challenge you to try the same as nothing resonates more than personal experience!

How much protein should I eat?

When I tell people I’m pretty much vegetarian (technically I still do eat seafood about 2x’s per week, so I can be defined as pescatarian) they always ask me “Well how do you get your protein?” There are many misconceptions about how much protein you should consume as well as protein sources. So let’s discuss!

First off, protein is a macronutrient composed of building blocks called amino acids, which link together to form protein chains in different combinations. Our bodies do not use protein per se, it uses amino acids to perform many different functions in the body. To name a few, they maintain and foster the growth of our cells, make antibodies and hormones, and help regulate our fluid and electrolyte balance. There are roughly 23 amino acids and of those, eight are found outside our bodies and must be obtained from our food. When a food contains all eight amino acids – known as the essential amino acids – it’s considered a complete protein.

Now once we eat this protein, the amino acid chains need to be broken down so we can reconstruct their order in a specific way for our bodies. I think a big misconception is that when we eat a big hunk of steak, it instantly turns into muscle in our bodies. But think about it, how does a cow, the source of those big protein steaks, build muscle when it naturally only eats grass? The cow builds its large muscles from the amino acids in the grass it is eating!! In fact, many of the largest, most muscular animals on earth are vegetarians – gorillas, wild horses, hippos, and rhinos. If that’s not solid proof that plant-based foods can source you with enough protein to thrive, then I don’t know what is!

Another question I would like to briefly address is how much protein should we be eating? Over the past decade or so, a number of high-protein, low-carb diets have become increasing popular. We’ve heard from the media as well as the government that we should be eating lots of dairy and meat (both high in protein) to stay trim and healthy. But remember, it’s the dairy and meat industries as well as the government that are paying for, and of course, benefiting from all of the hype! The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Forks Over Knives by Caldwell Esselstyn are both excellent resources to read (Forks Over Knives was also made into a documentary!) if you’re interested in really understanding the scary effects of a high animal protein diet. But in short, the numerous studies and experiments conducted by both of these doctors found that cultures who consumed around 10% or less of their diets from protein were the healthiest, especially if the protein was plant-based. The results also linked high animal-based protein diets* with Cancer, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Autoimmune Diseases, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Eye Diseases, Obesity, Kidney Stones and Osteoporosis. There have been ZERO studies linking plant-based protein to ANY of the above diseases. And from personal experience, I’ve never felt better or have been as toned as I am now since cutting out animal protein and limiting dairy to just a few times per month.
(*Animal-based foods include all animal meat, dairy products and eggs)

So what are some great plant-based protein foods that contain the essential amino acids our bodies need to perform at its finest?

*All Nuts and Seeds (Ground Flax Seed, Chia Seeds, Walnuts, Almonds, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Pine Nuts)
*Whole Grains (Quinoa, Millet, Brown Rice, Forbidden Rice, Wild Rice, Oatmeal, Amaranth)
*Beans (Black, Cannellini, Kidney)
*Non-Dairy Milk (Almond and Rice are the best choices)
*Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Alfalfa Sprouts, Cabbage, Mushrooms, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Arugula, Collard Greens, Romaine Lettuce, Avocado, Sweet Potato, Kale and Spinach to name a few!
*Chlorella, Spirulina and Hemp are great supplements to take orally or add to your smoothies if you feel like you need more protein!

The best part is, all of these yummy foods also have a plethora of disease-fighting vitamins, minerals (including calcium), fiber and antioxidants that will keep our body looking and feeling its best!

A fun fact you can share with those that are doubtful…Broccoli has approximately 11 grams of protein per 100 calories while steak only has approximately 8 grams!! 

One final note – these essential amino acid chains wear out and do need to be replaced each and every day.  But the amazing part is our bodies are so smart that they automatically store and arrange the amino acid chains in the correct order to function optimally. In other words, we don’t have to worry about properly combining different proteins at each meal. As long as we have a diet rich in a wide variety of foods from the above plant groups, we will receive the essential eight essential amino acids in abundance and our bodies will handle the rest! Happy Eating! 🙂

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