Teacher Interview #9: Kristine
Meet Kristine. If you have been following the MLPC for a while, you probably have seen Kristine here or there. She has been very generous to the MLPC. Kristine is a certified health coach and yoga instructor. She and Alex connected through Alex’s health coach and MLPC committed member Brynne. Kristine did a few health workshops like “Mindful Eating”, “You Nurture Others, Who Nurtures You?” and “All About Sugar”.
She recently finished her Yoga Teacher Trainning (YTT) and was invited to teach for the MLPC for the first time during the Back to School Yoga Party. Alex saw something in Kristine and just like Shavon, Kristine did not disappoint. She quickly became a part of the community with her positive vibes and the community in return, gave her the same kind of energy. She led a few vinyasa flow classes and now she’s taking North America through a gentle flow in the evening as the MLPC goes worldwide.
I had the chance to ask Kristine a few questions about her personal journey and how yoga became part of her life, and this what she said…
Where in the world are you? Tell us more about yourself?
Kristine: I am currently in Toronto, Canada. I like to say that I am a free spirit. I love adventure, travelling, try new things and eating. I am a certified health coach and yoga instructor. I also hold an Honours Bachelor’s of Science degree from McMaster university. Major in Life Science and a minor in psychology. I have always been so passionate about health, fitness, wellness and everything in between. I talk about my health and wellness journey in a little more depth on my Chaturunga podcast episode with the MLPC; but to summarize, I struggled through severe anxiety for about 3 years of my life and having gone through that experience I have been awakened to the power of food, yoga, meditation and self-realization. Therefore, I believe that food is medicine and love sharing its powers with others. Yoga was a big part in my journey to overcome my anxiety and has always played a big part in my life. The body, mind and spirit connection is so strong and so important to focus on all aspects. This is why I approach health from a holistic perspective, incorporating all aspects of life and ensuring that we are taking care of ourselves in every area in our lives.
How long have you been teaching yoga and what pushed you to become an instructor?
Kristine: I have been teaching for almost 2 months now, becoming a yoga teacher was quite the experience. I have been practising yoga for many years and admired teachers. I had moments where I would think about becoming a teacher, but it never felt right. Last summer I filled out the application and almost committed but backed out last minute. This year, it felt right and I was ready and I’m so glad I did it. It has been an amazing experience and it’s only getting better. I can’t wait to continue to grow my teaching practise and connect with so many amazing people. I want to be for others what yoga teachers were for me, they created a safe space for me, helped me re-gain my strength and power and opened up a world of possibilities for me and this is what I hope I can share with my yogi students as well.
When did you start practicing yoga (before you started teaching) and how did yoga change your life?
Kristine: I started practising yoga when I was maybe 11 years old. Gentle classes were the best and I’m so grateful to have started too young. I will 100% be putting my children in yoga classes at a young age because it helped me build so many great habits and gave me so much peace. The biggest time when yoga changed my life was during the time that I was experiencing anxiety. The only time I would leave my house was to go to a yoga class, sometimes I would just lay there. Just being in a meditative state helped to understand the concept of mind over matter and over time I got stronger, became a member of the yoga community by doing energy exchange programs, volunteering and in my life I learned to be in control over my anxiety rather than it controlling me.
If you had to describe your teaching style, how would you?
Kristine: It’s hard to describe what my teaching style is like because it depends on the vibe of the class and the mood but generally I would say I teach from a place of empowerment and encouragement every step along the way. I like to move in power classes at a fast pace sometimes and honouring our bodies strengths, but I love to slow things down in gentle classes and having more of a relaxed meditative class. Both ways, I teach to get out of your head, removing obstacles and knowing you are complete, connected and empowered with every pose, decision and movement you take.
"The body, mind and spirit connection is so strong and so important to focus on all aspects. This is why I approach health from a holistic perspective, incorporating all aspects of life and ensuring that we are taking care of ourselves in every area in our lives."
What is the intention you try to instill in your students?
Kristine: I try to instill the intention of being present in class. Dropping everything that we might be thinking about or experienced during the day or whatever it is. To just drop it and be present in the here and NOW with yourself and the community on your mat. Sharing your energy, your breath and power through the practise. My intention is to instill stillness, awareness, self-reflection and empowerment.
What is your favorite posture? Your least favorite posture?
Kristine: My favorite pose would be savasana. Just kidding, while that one is great because I have to actively work on my mind and slow things down and be present, I do love a triangle pose or extended side angle, anything that allows me to open up my heart and chest is always nice. I love challenging myself by trying to open up more and more every time. Balancing poses are always fun too, airplane pose or even tree. I don’t believe I have a least favorite, but one that I find challenging is dolphin headstand. I have a tough time with that one but I’m sure I’ll get there at some point.
What is your favorite Mat? And why?
Kristine: I’ve been using a Lululemon mat and I can’t complain, it’s been great for the most part. However I have been looking for a new one with a beautiful design on it. I would love one that looks like a Persian rug or has something cool on it.
Set the scene for your perfect practice - paint us a picture!
Kristine: The perfect practice would be somewhere in the forest or by the beach, sunset time when the temperature is cool but still warm. The sun is shining and there is nothing but the sound of nature around. Moving through the practise with my breath, connecting with the earth and being very present physically and mentally throughout the practice.
"I want to be for others what yoga teachers were for me, they created a safe space for me, helped me re-gain my strength and power and opened up a world of possibilities for me and this is what I hope I can share with my yogi students as well."
What’s the biggest myth about yoga instructors? Set the record straight!
Kristine: That we’re always calm, cool and collected? I don’t know about everyone else, but I still get angry or upset sometimes! Lol but yoga has given me so many tools on how to deal with that, how to take a step back and look deeper into myself of why I may be feeling that way, so I guess there is more calm and cool but because the anger gets worked through.
What was one of your most heartfelt moments in teaching?
Kristine: Anytime someone has an amazing class and shares that with me is a heartfelt moment. Even if a word or phrase I said landed with them in a profound way and helped them through something (big or small) is truly a heartfelt moment and gives me so much joy to see people leaving the class feeling better than when they came in.
Any advice to newbies teachers/students? (And oldies?)
Kristine: JUST DO IT! Thank you, Nike. Scared of a pose and never tried it because you think you can’t? You can! Just do it! Want to become a teacher? Just do it! Think you’re too old for yoga? You’re not! Just do it. Face the fear and do it anyways.
Where do you see yoga in the next five years?
Kristine: I see myself teaching yoga around the world, doing retreats and flowing with people from everywhere around the world. I see yoga becoming a more prominent thing in people’s lives, business, personal, whatever it may be, yoga is growing and growing and I’m so excited for people to experience the life changing benefits.
Thank you Kristine for all that you do for our community! I hope you all liked this interview and learned more about your teacher and health coach Kristine. Please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or questions!
You can practice with Kristine by checking our schedule using the link below
Until next time, may you all be safe, happy, healthy, and free.