Maintaining one's poise in New York City can test even the most centered yogi. Just ask yoga teacher Hilaria Thomas Baldwin. "New York is a stressful city," says the co-founder of Yoga Vida (99 University Place; 666 Broadway), Extra lifestyle correspondent, wife of Alec Baldwin and new mom (their daughter, Carmen Gabriela, was born Aug. 23). "So I try my best to let emotion go. What I do every night before bed is think about how I behaved that day -- and then I think about how I can do better the next day."
Thomas Baldwin, 29, who has taught yoga since 2005, practices what she preaches during her intense classes, which focus on activating then releasing muscles. "It's move-your-butt yoga: You learn to use a muscle, relax a muscle, use it, relax it," she says, emphasizing that release -- physical and emotional -- is the goal.
It might sound like a trite mantra of an oversaturated industry, but breathing remains the key to stress relief, she adds: "When you're really stressed out, you sigh heavily -- that's your body's way of letting tension go. Start to notice where you hold tension: For some people it's the shoulders; some people clench their hands. Learn your patterns."
One irony, perhaps, is that Thomas Baldwin, whose profession is dedicated to abjuring judgment and conflict, finds herself a target of tabloids thanks to her spouse of a year and a half: "How I deal with stress now? Every time I walk out my door, I take a deep breath. I think I've helped [Alec] de-stress. We are not 100 percent perfect, but we try our best. If we don't behave well, we have to talk about it and try to do better." For his part, Baldwin told CBS Sunday Morning that yoga has helped him relax -- "only when the paparazzi aren't involved."
Thomas Baldwin plans to keep breathing through it all. "There are people who come into your life and try to create stress, and that is not something I've experienced before," she says. "But we want a normal life. We don't walk around with a bodyguard. We have a few more, you know, experiences with people outside of our home, which is unfortunate. I do hope that isn't a reality forever. Do we have to move to a gated community? I hope not."
This story first appeared in the Jan. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.