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Mindful March Interview with Kai Yoga Co-Owner Elisha Young
In honour of Mindful March we caught up with Elisha Young, seasoned yogi and co-owner of Kai Yoga.
With 15+ years of experience and training with master teachers worldwide, Elisha offers intentional, informed, and creative classes in a safe and inclusive environment.
Join us as we explore her story and how yoga can transform our lives on and off the mat for Mindful March at The Botanist.
Here’s what Elisha had to say…
Can you walk us through a typical class at Kai Yoga, and what students can expect to experience?
Our welcoming community will embrace you just the way you are as soon as you step inside, breathing in the sweet scent of incense. We offer different class styles to suit your taste, including our signature Vinyasa Flow class. This class balances strength and flexibility while synchronising movement with rhythmic breath to create a sense of flow. It’s like a moving meditation that strengthens the body and focuses the mind. After an active session, we transition into soothing stretches and explore the softer side of the practice. Our Vinyasa Flow class detoxifies and uplifts your energy in a down-to-earth and friendly environment. We even have a bit of fun and laughter while we practice! If you prefer a more gentle class, we also offer Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Gentle. These classes provide a warm and nurturing experience that soothes the nervous system and creates space from within.
How do you integrate philosophy and spirituality into your yoga classes, and what teachings do you draw from?
At KAI YOGA, we make philosophy and spirituality practical and accessible. Our Vinyasa Flow classes draw from ancient Hindu yogic philosophy, while our Yin Yoga classes fuse Hindu wisdom with Traditional Chinese Medicine. We introduce these concepts in a relatable way to spark curiosity and add depth to the movement, making it more meaningful for both the body and mind.
What specific practices or techniques do you recommend for people who want to cultivate mindfulness in their everyday lives?
Be mindful in the morning to set the tone for your day, with a short meditation or gentle stretches. Eat your meals away from a screen and start your day with a cup of hot water to stimulate digestion. Connect with nature and join a yoga community or practice at home with resources like the KAI YOGA On Demand Library (redeem your 3-week trial here). Invest in rest with an evening ritual of unplugging, journaling, and gratitude reflection before bed.
In your experience, what are some of the most common obstacles or challenges that people encounter when trying to live more mindfully? How can these be overcome?
Our culture’s fast pace and technology make it hard to switch off, which can lead to stress and scatteredness. Mindfulness is about focusing the mind and being present, but it’s not the easy path. To overcome these challenges, we need to prioritise self-care and commit to practices like yoga, meditation, and being present with loved ones. Mindfulness can be applied to any aspect of our lives and helps us find spaces in between. We should also limit our social media scrolling to rejuvenate our energy. Mindfulness considers everything we do, think, and eat to create flow and ease in our lives.
How can people stay motivated and committed to a mindfulness practice, particularly if they are busy or have many other demands on their time?
When it comes to staying committed to a mindfulness practice, there are several strategies that can help. First, it’s important to always come back to your ‘why’ and remember why you started the practice in the first place. Keeping it simple and being realistic with your timings can also make the practice more manageable, so starting with just 5 minutes a day and gradually increasing can be helpful. Finding a teacher or community for guidance, prioritising consistency over extremes, and being kind to yourself when you miss a session or mess up the routine can all help maintain motivation. Finally, inviting a friend to participate can make the practice more fun and help keep you accountable.
Can you offer any tips or advice for people who might be new to yoga or mindfulness practices, but are interested in learning more or getting started?
To start yoga, you don’t need to be flexible, but it can help you become more flexible in your body and mindset. Look for beginner yoga classes at a yoga studio rather than starting online to get proper guidance from a teacher. You can start meditating from home with apps or guided meditations on YouTube, and Insight Timer is a good option. It’s normal to feel discomfort or unexpected emotions when starting a new practice, but this is a sign that stress is leaving your body and mind. If you need support, don’t hesitate to ask a teacher for help.
Can you share any success stories from students who have practiced at Kai Yoga and experienced positive changes in their lives?
Yoga is a diverse and multi-faceted practice that caters to individual needs. As we adapt to the new normal post-pandemic, many people have found that yoga has been their lifeline, helping them to stay strong physically, mentally, and spiritually. By removing roadblocks and creating more ease, stability, and flow in our lives, yoga and mindfulness practices offer benefits beyond just physical fitness, such as improved self-regulation and a positive inner perspective.
Students have reported how their yoga practice has helped them deal with difficult work colleagues and bosses, sweat the small stuff less, and feel more courageous in trying new poses. These small wins can have a significant impact on our mindset and change our inner perspective, even if our external circumstances remain the same. By taking what we need from yoga, whether it’s physical, spiritual, or mental, we can benefit from the practice almost immediately.