1) What brought you to your mat?
KN: While growing up in Maine, close to 20 years ago, my mom heard about yoga and brought me to a class. Growing up as a competitive athlete, I felt it would help my strength and flexibility, and I continued with a sporadic practice throughout college and beyond. Not until approximately 8 years later did I really start to understand and feel the deeper benefits of this practice. After an irregular yoga practice for many years, the moment I found the right teacher to help me feel my body and breath within the poses and make yoga a staple in my life, everything changed. I still remember that first real deep breath I ever took in yoga…one where it felt like my soul became truly alive and the awareness of my true spirit within my body.
2) What does yoga mean to you?
KN: To me, yoga means openness, connection and unity – within oneself and ultimately then with other people, nature, and the whole of the universe. Living with love and compassion is something that helps me find unity that much easier and deeper.
3) What advice would you give to someone new to meditation?
KN: Start slow, but stay consistent. Start with closing your eyes and taking 10 deep, meaningful breaths every single day. Connect with the feeling of the air moving into your entire being, and as you exhale the air feel the release. Really feel it within you. Breathe with intention with what you are bringing in and what you are releasing. Then, start to incrementally increase your time. Sit quietly focusing on your breath for 2 minutes every day, then 5 minutes, and continue increasing as you can. Just try to stick to a regular daily practice and watch your life, your focus, your peacefulness, and soul become lighter.
4) What’s your favorite style of yoga and why?
KN: My favorite style of yoga is Vinyasa. Although I like to experience many different styles of yoga, I always feel most connected to myself and my spirit when I’m moving through a very mindful vinyasa class. Focusing on holding poses and feeling them from the inside out, breathing deeply and consciously, and then flowing with the breath just pulls it all together for me. I love feeling my body move through space with control and awareness in the present moment. It can truly feel like a moving meditation when you go deep into every transition and hold.
5) What’s your favorite thing about yoga?
KN: Feeling fully embodied, open, vulnerable and connected with myself and my community of incredible yogis. Yoga helps me to connect deeper with myself and live in a more authentic and healthy way. It brings me closer to my true spirit, which then allows me to connect even deeper with others.
6) Where do you teach and how did you get started?
KN: I teach at Harmony Yoga in Redondo Beach, CA. In my opinion one of the best studios in Los Angeles, and that’s saying something for such an epicenter of yoga. I have been to many studios, but this one has so much open hearted light to it. This is created by both the instructors and the students. We all truly care for one another and it’s palpable. It feels like a very inclusive studio, where everyone is welcome, never judged and where many people know your name.
7) Favorite yoga pose and why?
KN: Without a doubt, by favorite pose is Ustrasana (camel pose). Although I have a big loving heart, I also tend to hold some walls up. This pose forces me to open up into a very vulnerable shape pointing upward towards the sky and universe. It also takes a lot of mindfulness and energy to move in and out of this pose safely. Calmly breathing into this pose both challenges me and breaks down those figurative walls a bit more, while opening and energizing my Anahata (heart) and Vishudhha (throat) chakras. To me, I feel this pose in a very deeply spiritual and emotional way. After this pose, I always sit for a minute to experience the emotional and energetic feelings that arose for me. For those reasons, this is the most emotionally and physically therapeutic pose for me at this time.
Studio: Harmony Yoga – Redondo Beach, CA