Caitlin Kelly, local Philly yoga instructor and PE teacher, believes that yoga can answer a different need for everyone—from physical to emotional to spiritual. For Caitlin, yoga isn't just one thing, but all things good and healthy. As she says, "Over the years, yoga has become my most reliable ally, the thing that I come to at any and all times."
We asked Caitlin to share with us some insight into her fitness life and tips for anyone who might be intimidated to venture forth into the world of yoga.
I was always an athlete growing up, playing a different sport every season and doing endless activities. My Dad ran in races every month and played on a basketball team where my brother and I would go to cheer him on. My Mom was a competitive gymnast, so she always encouraged me to push myself, to be strong and keep my body healthy. I loved trying everything from ballet to lacrosse, volleyball to sailing. I still play on soccer teams in the spring and summer!
In high school, a knee injury during tennis season, and lots of inspiration from my Mom is what brought me to yoga. Not being able to play made me anxious and restless, because I was so used to moving, being active and setting goals for myself that I worked so hard to achieve. I felt stuck being sidelined. My Mom practiced yoga daily, and I saw how strong, balanced and centered she was. After having knee surgery, I couldn't get back on the court until the next season. I started yoga at my local gym. I fell in love during the first class and have been practicing ever since. Yoga gave me an outlet to release anxiety, strengthen my body and keep moving.
I teach yoga six days a week and practice daily.
Like most yogis, I began practicing with the idea that yoga was strictly physical, a way to become flexible and strong, and that I needed to work "hard" to get results. Over the years, yoga has become my most reliable ally, the thing that I come to at any and all times. I practice when I am happy, because it makes me feel strong and one with my body. I practice when I am angry or anxious, because moving and breathing helps bring me back to a calm state. I practice when I am upset or sad, because taking time to turn inwards and focus on myself is more therapeutic than anything. I LOVE teaching yoga, and I am so honored to be able to share this practice with my students. I believe that anyone can practice yoga in their own unique way, and that everyone will find something that they connect with through their practice.
I have two favorite types of yoga :) Vinyasa and Yin. I love Vinyasa for the physical movement, the connection with body and breath and the inner and outer strength created by flowing from posture to posture. When I practice Vinyasa, everything around me disappears and I feel completely free. Yin yoga is a still, steady practice in which each pose is help for an extended period of time. I love Yin because it reminds me that it is ok to be still, to give my body a chance to rest, recharge and fully release.
I love heart openers. A heart opener can be as simple as standing up tall and rolling your shoulders back, opening and expanding your chest slightly, to the deepest expression you like. No matter what, it always feels freeing and strong and amazing.
One thing I often hear is that people are intimidated of starting yoga because of what they would look like, or that they would be "lost" in their first class. My advice is to jump in. Everyone starts as a beginner (My yoga teacher always said that we're beginners for the first 20 years of our practice!). Every single person has a different practice, and your teacher is there to guide and support you into a space that is healing for you, not make sure you memorize every pose and get into them perfectly the first time. Make yoga yours, allow yourself to be guided, and the bliss will follow!
Yes! Come! I offer regular weekly classes including Vinyasa, Yin and Restorative Yoga at a bunch of yoga studios around town, including Yoga Habit, Maha Yoga Studio, Priya Hot Yoga, Mindful Elephant, among others. I post my schedule on my website www.caitlinkyoga.com and on social sites like Instagram (@ckyoga). Hope to see you out there!
Caitlin Kelly is a Philadelphia based Yoga teacher and Reiki master. Caitlin found yoga at a young age after being introduced to it by her mother, and has been drawn to learning and deepening her practice ever since. Caitlin is an elementary school Health and Physical Education teacher, so learning and teaching are the roots to Caitlin's practice. Caitlin strives to create a loving and safe space for all of her students, whether it is their first time on the mat, or they have been practicing for 20 years. Caitlin's classes are lighthearted and dynamic, and are rooted in the philosophy of Yin and Yang. Having a healthy balance of energy and movement with stillness and calm is the key to remaining steady and balanced on and off the mat, for deepening the connection of mind and body, and creating space for healing.
For Noelle Gesualdo, local Philly yoga instructor, registered nurse, and advocate for mental health awareness and preventative holistic health practices, yoga is more than a physical outlet. When she lost her father to suicide, "my yoga mat was the only place I could go where I felt I could escape all of the terrible thoughts in my mind."
Noelle shares with us how practicing yoga brought solace to her life and how anyone who's considering getting into the practice—or anyone who's been practicing for years—can benefit from the healing properties of yoga.
Who's up for a morning run with great people for a great cause?? PLUSgives charity partner Back on My Feet is adding another team in Point Breeze to their efforts to combat homelessness through the power of running!