Meet our July YogaDownload Instructor of the Month, Kristen Boyle! With over 10 years of yoga experience, Kristen believes that yoga impacts all levels of our being. She teaches Prenatal and Postnatal yoga, as well her own style of yoga, IndieFlow, which is a powerful marriage of vinyasa flow and alignment. Read on to find out more about this influential and authentic instructor!
When did you start practicing yoga?
Truthfully, I may have started practicing yoga with Rodney Yee's Power Yoga videos (!) in the early '90s! But my full entry came in 2000, 5 years after my career in dance ended abruptly due to an ankle injury in a car wreck. It started with Hatha, and I quickly became the "go to" demo because of my flexibility and understanding of the shape of the pose. Then I discovered Bikram and loved the heat and intensity. When I found Heated Power Vinyasa, I thought I had found my home away from home! A practice that took me to the levels of meditation and focus, yet worked my body like a great dance class.
What has yoga brought to your life?
More than I would like to admit, yoga has brought a quality of calm, patience, acceptance and understanding to my life. I can look at my pre-yoga years as being a person with a fiery temper and quick to judge. Yoga has taught me ways to remain calm in tough situations, how to stand strong at all times, and how to find strength within myself to do the things I previously was afraid to do. My children will someday thank yoga for that!
Why did you become a yoga instructor?
Honestly, I didn't think I would become one. All of my early teachers I perceived as charismatic, extroverted rock stars. I was drawn to them, but I never felt I could be like them. I dove into my 200hr Training when my daughter was 18 months, simply seeking more, and craving a practice for myself. At the end of that training, it occurred to me that as a mother, who had practiced Prenatal Yoga, maybe it would be a good start to teach that. Pade pade, step by step, I sought more, dove deeper, and began to expand into teaching. I learned that whatever I am working on in my own life, becomes more valid, more impactful, through my teaching. I almost hold myself more accountable to doing the work of yoga, because whatever it is that I am working on, I speak it aloud in my classes, and because I am teaching it, I learn more.
What impact can a regular yoga practice have on a person's life?
Because I believe that yoga works on all levels of our being whether we are conscious of it or not, I do believe that yoga can have an immense impact on a person's life. Many in the West enter yoga for its health benefits. But what we find along the way is that we get to know ourselves more and more. We slow down our reactions, we begin to observe, we study ourselves as we approach the postures, how we approach them, and what story plays out as we work them. Yoga, in its essence, asks us to pay attention. Once we begin to truly pay attention, so much possibility for growth arises.
What advice would you give to someone that is just starting yoga?
Stick with it. Starting out is the hardest part. Setting good habits takes, as I mentioned above, paying attention (One lesson of yoga: prana follows attention). Where you put your energy grows. When you take your first yoga class, take a moment at the beginning to notice what you brought in. -are you feeling anxious? confident? tired? sore? strong? Then, check in with yourself after class - are you feeling relaxed? more open? stretched? stronger? Just as we notice when something hurts us, we must notice, and remind ourselves, when something makes us feel good. So remind yourself when you feel good. Set a new good habit.
What is special about the style of yoga you teach?
My yoga journey comes from a conglomeration of styles and teachers, which is why I have called myself "Indieflow". I would say that I now teach a "vinyasa-based alignment class". When I began teaching, and because of my dance background, I fell in love with the vinyasa. As my teaching grew with experience, I realized that in order to practice a safe vinyasa, a student must understand the alignment of each pose. As I began to study the alignment of each pose to a greater degree, I learned that each pose prepares us for another pose, and that each pose is like a musical note in the vinyasa sequence. In my classes the flow became less emphasized, alignment became more important, and now my challenge as a teacher is to marry the two without losing the other.
What is your favorite yoga posture to teach, and why?
Trikonasana. I believe this pose captures qualities of many postures, which establish the strength, alignment and opening within the body that leads to deeper postures. It opens the hamstring and groin of the front leg, while strengthening as you press through the big toe mound, lift the knee cap and externally rotate the leg. It creates an idea of opposite actions as you press through the back leg, lengthens side bodies, strengthens the core, and emphasizes a sense of strength and stability in foundation. (Did I say I love alignment?)
Please share some words of wisdom or advice for your yogadownload.com yoga students.
Yay You! If you are actively using yogadownload, then you have taken a huge step. Whether you are a beginner getting the foundations at home, an advanced yogi with a daily practice, or using yogadownload to continue your practice while you travel, you are doing the work, and you are paying attention. That is all that yoga asks of us. Thank you! And do interact with me. Leave a comment, or send me an email. I will respond.
Do you have a favorite quote you'd like to share?
"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting." ― Paulo Coelho, Alchemist
I am both inspired and intrigued by this idea. I believe that we should all live our lives according to our dreams, and that the journey to get there is full of twists and turns, ups and downs, but when looked upon from afar, truly interesting.
What do you like to do "off the mat"?
Off the mat, I am a mother of two. I love to read and to learn. To think and to dream. To sit in the sunshine. To play in the park. I practice yoga in everything that I do, working to pay attention more, to act with mindfulness, and to live as my highest self, even when it's my lowest self that shows up!
Kristen Boyle, of IndieFlow Yoga, is a lifelong student of the body and movement is her creative outlet. She offers unique and fluid Vinyasa Flow classes with intelligent alignment. Kristen believes the Asana practice is simply a physical entry point to the deeper layers of our being. She approaches her yoga mat as an "Asana Playground", and inspiration for her classes comes from two questions: “What will my body experience today?” and “How can I apply the lessons on the mat to my life as a whole?” Classes with Kristen emphasize that through our Asana Playground, we can explore and truly embody new concepts, ideas, and spirituality to take into the world. Students can expect a fun, unpredictable, creative, Indie-flow with a lot of soul!
Click here for a list of Kristen's YogaDownload Offerings!