Cloud Nine Yoga Brea Alumni: Kelly Kirkpatrick

kellykAKS: Tell us what styles of classes you’re teaching and where.
KK: I’m teaching a class called Yoga Blend at Private Fitness in Anaheim Hills, which I base around the students that are in the class. I’ll sometimes have a new student or I’ll have a student that’s 80, and then I’ll have a student who wants to flow, so I’ll adjust the class to the people that are in it.
I also teach prenatal yoga at Unfold Yoga in Brea. And I teach a Yoga Basics class every quarter at Unfold, just teaching students what they can expect in a level 1 Vinyasa class. And I’m going to be teaching a 5:30am class at Stella Luna Yoga in the new year.
AKS: What’s been your favorite style of class to teach?
KK: Prenatal yoga is really special to me. That’s one class I’ve taught consistently for a year and only had to sub out once. I just love everything about a mother taking care of herself and the connection with the baby, and teaching them poses that can relieve everyday aches and pains, and stresses and worries.
I also love subbing Hannah’s level 1/2 class (at Unfold). I enjoy teaching something more challenging. I feel like I don’t have to think so much about what to say, and they already know what’s going on and we can just have fun. But I also feel like it challenges me and that’s why I like it.
HJ: You’re doing your 300 hour training with Stella (Cloud Nine) now. How is that going so far?
KK: it’s going good. We’ve had two meetups. We just started to dive into yin yoga and aromatherapy basics. It’s a good group of people. There’s nine of us. I’m excited.
AKS: How long has it been now since you finished your teacher training and started teaching?
KK: This June was one year graduated and this August was one year teaching, so it’s been about a year and a half.
HJ: How do you feel with the development after a year? In the beginning, were you nervous?
KK: Yes. I’m still very nervous, all the time, because I care. After a year, I definitely still open up my training manual and look through old mentoring notes, which I can barely read because my handwriting is horrible. I got a great foundation out of the 200 hour and I still feel like I have more to explore within my own range and dive in deeper.
AKS: So, having a year of experience under your belt, do you have any piece of advice for new yoga teachers who are just graduating and getting ready to teach?
KK: To believe in yourself. To trust that you have what you need to get through your class and first couple of classes. To know that all the students there are very open minded and forgiving and that you will probably be much more amazing than how you critique yourself. To keep studying. I like to watch a lot of videos before I teach because it inspires me. To keep reading. Just keep educating, and keep doing it!
HJ: Do you have a favorite book that you can recommend?
KK: The Secret Power of Yoga (by Nischala Joy Devi) was the very first yoga book I ever picked up. I wish I could say I’ve read it. I’ve only gotten through parts of it, but it’s still very special to me because I’ve had it for so long and I’ve let people borrow it and I’ve gotten it back and now it’s required reading for the 300 hour training.
I’m also reading the Radiance Sutras (by Lorin Roche), which is really beautiful. You (Alisha) read it once in a class where I mentored with you and I didn’t know what it was you were reading until I picked it up and was like “Oh, it’s so juicy!”
Those are my favorite right now.
HJ: In the Secret Power of Yoga, just the first few pages, it really shifts the way you think about…not teaching yoga so much, but just life. And how yoga is all of it.
Do you have any memorable stories from the classes you’ve taught?
KK: In prenatal yoga, you have the opportunity to invite in a feeling of connection to the mom and her baby in a really sacred and safe space and I have a good memory of doing a guided meditation from a hypnobirthing book and I made some people cry, and that made me feel good. They’re connecting and I love that!
Subbing Hannah’s class was also rewarding, having her students tell me that they felt challenged and that they enjoyed the class, getting feedback from Hannah. That made me feel really good.
Also just building relationships. I do have an 80 year old yoga student. I think he’s my biggest fan. He was always really encouraging before every class and he’d say how much he loved my class. He’d get something out of it every time.
HJ: How do you feel about letting go (of classes, or relationships with students)?
KK: That’s my whole life! I don’t look back. I savor the moment and enjoy the relationships I have and then there’s no regret and I do what I need to do for myself at the time and keep going.
HJ: Are you able to see yourself 10 years from now?
KK: I’m happy to have accomplished the goal of becoming a teacher, and the small goal within that of being able to teach without demoing. That’s a big weakness, or opportunity, for me. And another goal would be adjustments. I’ve shied away from touching people.
Ten years from now…I just hope to teach excellent classes that make everyone happy. I always thought I wanted a studio but I’m not sure yet.
HJ: What would you say your strength is?

KK: Cuing the breath is something that I do really well. That’s all I do actually. We don’t do anything without a breath cue. I think what I learned from Cloud Nine is to teach my class based on the people that are in the room, so I’m constantly aware of what’s going right and what maybe needs to shift. I have a creative class. I wouldn’t say I ever teach the same thing twice. I think I can relate to you (Hannah) in the fact that it just comes. I’ll get my inspiration, and then whatever comes comes. And I always feel good about each class. It’s an escape for me. I just feel better. And that’s a strength.
AKS: Any final thoughts?
KK: I really found my home with Cloud Nine. You can just be yourself. And I thought coming into it that I had to be somebody else, maybe a better version of myself. But I like everything about me, my flaws and all…

So do we, Kelly!

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