How did you get into yoga?
KM – My journey to yoga started as a physical one. It wasn’t a miraculous awakening, but rather a botched slide tackle in a soccer game that resulted in a broken leg and torn tendons all around my ankle. This led me to a series of combined spinning and yoga classes to help heal my tendons. Over the course of a few weeks, I became addicted to the yoga class after spinning and I began attending more classes, from hot vinyasa to yin. My body was not the only thing starting to heal; it was my mind and spirit, too. I was hooked.
What have you done in the past year to better yourself as a Yoga Teacher?
KM – I connect into a practice of pranayama daily – whether it’s on my meditation cushion at home, or sitting at my office desk. Taking note of how yoga can impact our daily lives – not just in the studio – has helped me incorporate these soft reminders into my own classes. As a teacher, I make a point of asking questions to my students, so they can make the choice constantly for themselves: “what does my body need, right now,” or “how does my breath feel now?”
Why is yoga so important in the world we live in today?
KM – We are so focused on our external experiences that we forget to come home to ourselves and just be for a few moments. This obsession with doing and being not only depletes our energy and spirit; it also depletes our ability to give our best selves to our family, friends, spiritual practices, and ourselves. Yoga gives us a channel to connect, to get the mind quiet and to take part in this life from a place of understanding.
How have you found ways to incorporate yoga into other areas of your life?
KM – In addition to being a yoga teacher, I am also CEO of Play Magnus, a chess tech start up, and the founder of the natural beauty & wellness blog Living Pretty Naturally, so I have found creative ways to incorporate yoga into my life. Over a year ago, I began offering a weekly yoga class to my awesome employees at Play Magnus – a team of about 10 software developers, designers and chess Grand Masters. I watch my team enjoy those few moments of mindfulness in their day, as well as feel and see the benefits of lower shoulders, both physically and emotionally.
I travel a lot for my work – chess is a global sport, after all! Before each trip, I always research studios I want to try out in the city to which I am traveling (even if I’m in a country where I don’t speak the language). And I always travel with my “travel mat” so I can still do my own practice in the hotel room.
In order to find other ways to incorporate yoga into my life, I often slip into my own practice when the studio is empty after teaching one of my classes at Leela Yoga. I also tend to center my holidays and travels around yoga teacher trainings or retreats. For instance, this spring I’m actually co-hosting a yoga retreat in Bali – where it’s possible to find the perfect balance of teaching and learning.
What has yoga done for your professional life?
KM – Yoga has been a saviour in so many ways. It is the other side of the teeter-totter that allows me to feel balanced when I’ve stacked up too much on one side. It allows my mind to calm, the body to soften and following my practice, I always notice a shift in my energy and my thoughts. I become more creative, things flow more easily, and I am more effective in my work.
- What is your life motto?
KM – “Go, go, go, stop!”
I have a constant curiosity that makes me a “yes” say-er. I say yes to almost anything and everything that interests me and feels right. However, I’ve had to become a lot better at listening to my gut and intuition when my body is saying, “no, it’s time to rest.” Whether that is some restorative yoga, meditation, journaling, curling up with a giant cup of tea and my book of the moment, or just taking a nap on Sunday, I am listening to the inner voice say “go, go, go, stop.”