• Congratulations, Kristin Walsh!

    Grace Yoga (GY): This month we are exploring yoga sutra 3.1: Concentration is binding the attention of the mind to a single object, place, or idea. What are your thoughts on how this sutra applies to your practice and your life?

    Kristin Walsh (KW): Concentration in any task is a challenge because the nature of mind is to wonder. Many times during a yoga or meditation practice, my mind slides it's attention to thoughts elsewhere, and without even realizing it 30 minutes have gone by and, what was I even doing? However, the practice of attentiveness, focusing on the present moment, has so many wonderful benefits that it's a practice I come back to constantly, everyday. It's also a practice that I find becomes easier over time, especially with a daily meditation practice. When my meditation practice is regular, I find in place of endless mind chatter the serenity of spaciousness, and the ability to appreciate more fully the beauty of life as it unfolds before me.

    GY: As a teacher and a student of Yoga, you are exposed to so many facets of Yoga as a practice. What is the pure objective of yoga as you currently understand it?

    KW: Modern yoga is constantly in flux, and our modern day understanding of ancient texts has very much been adapted to fit our modern western lifestyles. Just in the past 20-30 years we have a gone from a system of knowledge based on guru lineage to the over credentialing of yoga trainings and certifications.  Both are have their validity, but to use that as an example, one must stay open on how the course of yoga will continue to evolve (or devolve!). I think of myself and all people who are part of the yoga community as part of the ever-changing fabric that continues to guide our understanding of what yoga means.  Objectively, I think its important to stay fluid, the more that I learn and experience, the more I realize I know very little, and that anybody's experience with yoga is just as valid as my own.  Aside from that, part of my own dynamic guidance relies on personal mantras that I set for myself, and I change those for as long as they serve me.

    GY: You completed your 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2012 (followed by your 85 hour prenatal training in 2015, and your 300 hour advanced teacher training last year)-- after 6 years as a teacher, how has your practice and understanding of yoga changed?

    KW: I started practicing yoga 12 years ago, when I was 20, so physically my practice has become a lot more chilled out.  My more ego driven practice also led me to many injuries, so that forced me to become a better student of meditation. As a teacher I used to push my students physically a lot more too, would demand more of them. 

    I used to think that yoga was the holy grail of body movement, that it was all I, or anyone would ever need, but in fact, I think now the more variety of movement you have in your daily life the better. I'm currently very influenced by the research coming out on Bio-mechanism and how that effects the body over time. That and my meditation practice is really what guides me right now, because I can never completely dissolve my ego when it comes to physical asana.  It's also easy to compartmentalize yoga asana as exercise, whereas, meditation helps me to understand my mental habits and catch them throughout the day, therefore making it my yoga all day. 

    As a teacher of yoga I feel like over the years I have become more compassionate to my students; where they are coming from mentally, spiritually and physically, and how can I really hold space for whatever it is they need at that moment. 

    GY: Please tell us a little about yourself: career, family, background and anything else interesting you would like us to know.

    KW: I grew up in Baltimore and after being on the west coast for a year now, I still very much feel like an east coaster! I never thought I would identify with something so nuanced as that, but I do.  I love the outdoors/camping/hiking though, so being here on the west coast and exploring California has been really awesome! I really enjoy other forms of movement other then yoga like; tai chi, running, walking, lifting weights, dance etc. I think variety in movement is the best medicine for the body.  I'm also an avid music fan, my husband and I have been to over 50 Phish concerts together!