I am excited to introduce to you the first in my fitness profile series, “A Nourished Life.” The “A Nourished Life” series will profile local experts in the health and wellness field. I will hand pick a squad of healthy minded instructors who are passionate about living the most nourishing life possible. They will share with you their secrets, their set backs, their mission and their personal journey. I hope it will inspire you to live a life that nourishes your body, mind and soul.
As a former athlete, Mary Kaye only knew how to push herself and move fast. Now, she is a yoga instructor and her goal is to share her passion with the world so others can benefit like she has. She is the author of I Love Yoga, Breathe and Yoga for Teens, her books won the Young Adult Library Association Award for Reluctant Readers and the Parent’s Choice Award and were successful titles for DK Publishing.
How do you define yourself?
Mom, creative influencer, author, yoga instructor.
When did your passion for yoga begin?
The first time I tried yoga in my early 20s I walked out. I just wasn’t ready to be still which really meant I needed it more than others. As a former athlete, I was focused on moving fast, going strong so never appreciated the value of stillness. I rediscovered it after I saw the positive transformations in a friend. We started practicing ashtanga yoga in her living room. Now I was ready for yoga and embraced it. I felt more relaxed, stronger, empowered. I decided the world needed yoga at that moment and helped her open the first studio in town. I started teaching children and teenagers and noticed how responsive they were. Everyone just needed to know it was okay to just be, to take the pressure off, do less, slow down.
What is your definition of being healthy and fit?
Positive mind, kind heart, strong body, gentle soul, giggler.
How did you get involved in yoga and healing young women?
Actually, I wanted to start with children before they developed the habits that are so damaging to our health. My childhood friend and I grew up on the same street, we were like sisters and spent every moment with one another but I was fortunate that when I walked into a room, I assumed that everyone wanted to be my friend and liked me. I was positive in nature, laid back. My friend tended to focus more on what could go wrong. She walked into the room assuming they were talking about her or not open to being her friend. She was wrong of course but wasn’t aware that her self talk was damaging, a common form of rumination that creates anxiety and health problems. I started working with young girls to help make them aware of damaging thoughts that we erroneously start to believe so that they could break the habit early. I wished my sister had someone to help her change her thought patterns. A negative mindset will attract dysfunctional people and negative experiences so retraining the brain is vital to attracting positive people and experiences.
For your clients who are women, how do you help them with their frustrations about reframing their body image issues?
Women who are self conscious about their body will initially worry in a yoga class. But a great yoga studio will never have mirrors which only emphasizes looks. But soon enough your butt is in the air and you are moving in ways you never imagined so it’s really hard to stay self-conscious for long. Soon the energy and encouragement of students in the class make you realize that we all have the same goal – to get healthy, strong and more flexible.
How is yoga helpful in alleviating stress?
Emotions get stuck in the body – sadness, worry, anger, envy all get trapped. That’s why when we move into different yoga postures, we release that emotional tension and feel better. Eventually, your yoga practice will feel like a moving meditation which makes you feel calm and confident. Any form of exercise releases endorphines (feel good hormones) so most people feel amazing after yoga. If you are filled with worry, it’s hard to become the person you were meant to be. Alleviating stress is critical to mental health and yoga, diet, meditation and mindfulness are healthy steps to creating your best self.
Can you give me 4 of your favorite poses that can help deal with stress?
Child’s pose – This pose stretches your back and relaxes you. Notice if you are thinking in the pose and slowly allow the thoughts to leave your mind as you redirect your attention on the breath.
Downward Dog – The transitional pose releases tension in your back, hamstrings, neck which allows you to relax deeper into other poses.
Rag Doll – Hanging upside down allows the tension to leave your neck. We hold a lot of tension in our neck and shoulders so waking up with rag doll can get the blood flowing and release tension, helping to start the day off right.
Savasana (or corpse pose) – Lay flat on your back, maybe prop a pillow or bolster under your legs, palms face up, eyes closed. Tense up your body then release all your muscles. This calming pose is actually hard for many people but it has this unusual way of of making you feel calm and rejuvenated.
Where can we connect with you to learn more?
My website is http: www.buddhafulkids.com
Did this motivate you? As a holistic health coach, I will help you foster healthy choices so that you can live a healthy and well-rounded life. Let’s work together in your journey.
Love and Light,