We all have a journey, don’t we?  My journey has been health related.  My good friend, Kaysha Patel, has a journey of her own that began with a high powered career in New York and ended with finding herself during a year long travel through Asia. 

Ten years ago, Kaysha and I graduated from the University of Texas MBA program together.  It was a phenomenal experience that boosted the careers of many of our fellow graduates into prominent business roles.  And while I grew immensely during that two year program and it prepared me for a successful career in commercial real estate, I think Kaysha will agree with me that our real life lessons came afterward, through our struggles.  One of my favorite sayings is that the Light enters through our wounds.   Read on to see how Kaysha, wounded and depleted by the fast paced corporate world, came to find her true self through yoga.

Heather:  Please describe your journey to yoga.  Why did you start?
Kaysha:  My journey to yoga was completely organic.  Three years ago I was working in New York City at a high profile retailer, getting burned out by work and city life.  Constantly too exhausted to pursue any activities outside of work, underwhelmed with my social life, and loathing my body, I reached a point where a lifestyle change was in order.  In addition, I began to contemplate several life fulfillment questions: What is my purpose in the work that I am putting out to the world?  How can I live a life that was crafted by me, rather what was expected of me?  How can I work for something that I am passionate about so that it doesn’t feel like “work”? They were big questions and no answers immediately came to mind. I eventually decided let go searching for answers and signed up for a yoga teacher training to deepen my yoga practice instead. Each day of teacher training was more fulfilling than the next.  I longed to practice daily and to spread this newfound knowledge to others through teaching yoga. I eventually left my corporate job, travelled through Asia for a year practicing and teaching where I could, and the rest is history!

Heather:  What does “healing” mean to you?  How can yoga help us heal?
Kaysha:  Healing, to me, is a combination of acceptance and letting go.  Acceptance allows you to receive experiences or circumstances as they are, without pre-conceived judgment.  Letting go gives you permission to take what you need from the experience and move through it.  The physical practice of yoga practice provides tools to heal both on and off the mat.  When you are in the rhythm of a yoga practice, you receive each pose as it happens with your body as it is at this moment in time.  Some days you have energy and some days less, but no matter what you move through the flow with acceptance and presence.  This is healing to me.

Heather:  What problems has yoga helped you overcome?
Kaysha:  Interestingly, yoga didn’t solve problems for me, but rather gave me the tools to authentically solve all problems.  Through yoga, I learned how to move past the mental chatter that cluttered my mind and made me stuck in indecision, so that I could be free to let what really mattered rise to the surface.  Yoga showed me that all the answers to my problems lie within myself and that I possess the tools to tap into those answers.

Heather:  What are some common misconceptions about yoga?
Kaysha:  The biggest misconception about yoga is that it is only a physical practice involving twisting yourself into a pretzel or standing on your hands.  A large component of yoga is physical, but the physical piece is only meant to get to you to the place of the mental piece, that is the meditation part.  Opening up your body in areas of pain, or areas that have been tight/stuck for years, allows you to have the freedom to focus on being present rather than distracted by the body.  Yoga is more than a physical practice and many of its principles apply off the mat.  The goal of yoga is not to make you become more flexible, but rather to help you connect more deeply with your body, mind and spirit.

Heather:  What is your goal as a yoga instructor?  Who are you trying to teach and why?
Kaysha:  My personal goal as a teacher is to make yoga accessible to all. It’s one of the few physical activities that can be utilized by anyone at any age with almost any physical condition.  It has longevity and the power to influence all parts of life.  My goal is to spread this knowledge to as many people as possible.

What is your practice style?  How did you choose your yoga method?
Kaysha:  My practice style of choice is Vinyasa Flow.  I chose this style for its emphasis on alignment and movement connected by breath.  It’s also a style that doesn’t have a set of fixed poses (unlike Bikram or Ashtanga) allowing for creativity in designing a flow that best suits the condition of the body at that time.

Heather:  How can people find you?
Kaysha:  I can be reached by email at kaysha@stretchyogatx.com

Heather:  Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Kaysha:  I’m opening a boutique yoga studio called STRETCH, in east Austin this winter (2016), dedicated to making yoga accessible, uplifting and transformational to all regardless of experience.  Please visit stretchyogatx.com for more info or follow STRETCH on instagram and facebook.

What has yoga done for you?

Please leave a comment below. We can all learn from each other!

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