What year did you attend training? Why did you go?
I attended the Spring 2015 Training in Khao Lak Thailand. I’d like to say I dropped everything and went to training but it was a long process! I stepped into my first class at Bikram Yoga NYC UES at age nineteen. I was a theater student at Marymount Manhattan College and had recently gained the freshman twenty and was eager to try something other than the gym!
At the time I lived on 83rd street and I would always walk by a building with moisture dripping down the windows. I had taken yoga in high school (where I received a C because I slept during class) so I assumed it would be just like that class. I spent my first class staring at the door, thinking of ways to get out of the room but I was scared I would faint so I stayed on my mat. Somehow I found myself in the room the next day, then the next and so on.
I had fallen in love with Bikram Yoga and could not stop talking about it. I would show up and tune out for 90 minutes with nothing else to face but myself. It was my therapy, using my body in an amazing way to fight off the anxiety and depression that I had been dealing with. I never viewed myself as a leader, a teacher but a month into practicing I knew that I wanted to be a Bikram Yoga Teacher. I wanted to share my love for Bikram Yoga. Five years went by and I was still talking about becoming a teacher. I kept on making excuses but the truth was I did not believe in myself.
After graduation I spent about three years in limbo trying to make it as an actress with only one constant, Bikram Yoga. It was the first time in my life where I did not have a clear goal. I wasn’t proud of who I was or where I was going. In 2014 I lost someone very near to me who always had a plan and a bright bright future, the loss provoked me to stop and reflect. I could have stayed in bed or I could get up and make something of myself. Some force pushed me to Flatiron where I kicked and stretched until I could finally see the color come back to my face.
I marched up to the instructor after class and blurted out “I want to be a Bikram teacher” and he said “okay, lets get to work.”
What is your favorite thing about being a Bikram Yoga instructor?
I will be 100% candid but I did not start enjoying teaching until about a few months ago. I was trying to be ” a perfect bikram teacher” and any mistake I made would drive me insane. I would go home and cry or just spend a good amount of time being frustrated. It all came to light when a student came up to me before class crying because she had a bad day. I realized in that moment that this is not about me, this is about the students. I had to take myself out of it because we are all fighting our own battles and we come to yoga to work through them. I love to watch the progress that my students make and remind them to have compassion for themselves.
Tell us about your own practice. Which posture is most challenging for you and how do you get through it?
I have worked very hard on my practice to get to the point where I am proud of it! It is not perfect but that’s not what it’s about. I am still waiting for the day when I fully understand Triangle!! I am very disciplined and calm when I practice but I have also learned to let go and SMILE! I have worked on taking who it is on my mat ( what I consider the best version of myself) outside of the room. Staying present, not skipping ahead. My favorite posture is my most challenging, standing head to knee pose. It took me 5 years to touch my forehead to my knee because I was scared I would fall. At the moment I am unable to touch my forehead to my knee and bring my elbows below my calf muscles but I still tuck my chin and try! I am working on letting go of the fact that it does not look perfect but I love that everything goes silent in the posture and in that tiny moment, I feel free.
Outside of yoga, what projects are you involved with? What do you do for fun?
Funny you ask! This year I have worked on getting back in touch with what Kyla does outside yoga. I recently moved into my dream apartment so I have been busy decorating and cooking for guests! I enjoy walking around aimlessly and sitting on the steps of Union Square listening to music and zoning out. I spend a good amount of time jotting down ideas and writing poetry. I’ve been working with a integrated body worker which has been eye opening. I’ve learned to rebalance my body, mind and in turn I have been on a beautiful healing road! I am very interested in holistic skin care and plan to begin an apprenticeship this summer to learn how to make holistic products! I would also like to go back to clown school…yep! Clown school.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote or saying?
“The greatest oak was once a little nut who held it’s ground”
What are you currently reading or listening to?
I am currently reading “Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann
I am listening to everything! There is always music playing in my home. I am always listening to Spotify. An album that I have revisited lately is Future Islands “In Evening Air.” I love it because hidden underneath this upbeat melody are some deep beautiful lyrics.