Teacher Appreciation: KJ

Meet Kjirsten (you can call her KJ) – one of our barre and yoga teachers! She is also a Sima Leader and runs our Karma Reach out programming. Originally drawn to yoga in her quest for work-life balance, Kjirsten has been teaching at Modo for 2 years. She aspires to open her own Modo Yoga studio one day and continue the legacy Ryann and Phil have built in Minnesota.

Describe your journey with Modo Yoga Minneapolis – what drew you to it?
After graduating from college I began working as a social worker in some of the toughest parts of the city. Ever since I can remember I have always had a strong desire to help people, and figure out ways to make the world a better place even if the impact was small. These were real people and families that were going through some of the hardest times in their lives and I was an advocate, fighting for justice, equality, and hope for many. At the age of 23, this was a lot of pressure and I started to lose a lot of faith in the system, myself, and the world around me.

During this time I had the outlet of yoga, which completely transformed my life. Yoga opened my heart.

What made you want to teach yoga and barre?
I will begin by saying that, in the beginning, I had absolutely no desire to become an instructor. In retrospect, that seems crazy to even say but it is true! But, after many months of self-reflection, I made the decision to start doing more things that made me happy. Social work makes me happy, but, when I dug a bit deeper, I found that I could use my gifts to serve myself and those around me in a healthier way.

As I developed as a yoga instructor, I wanted to learn more about the body in correlation to the movements which is why I made the decision to get my barre certification in the summer of 2018. I was always drawn to barre because of the challenge. Barre for me is completely mental. Yes – you are working your ass off, breaking down every single movement and every single muscle, but the mental challenge is what makes the practice. Barre and yoga are the perfect duets and something I recommend everyone to try. Your strength may just surprise you.

Which pose or sequence brings you the most joy?
The vinyasa (flow) practice brings me the most joy both as a student and as a teacher. I feel like an artist that has an open canvas, free to do whatever is calling out to my body at that time. Freedom of expression takes form in the way that we breath, and move. That is the dance. That is the beauty of a flow: deliberate breath, deliberate movement; a continuous connection, a continuing whole.

Anything else you’d like people to know about you?
Something that I don’t often share is my battle with depression. Depression is something that I face every day to some degree. I lose complete control of my emotions, and I lose sight of myself. Prior to my journey with Modo, I used drugs and alcohol to hide these feelings of sadness, or to help me feel something other than sadness. I want people who are struggling with depression or any type of mental illness to know that they are not alone. Not everyone gets a second chance in life and the dedication that I have made to step back on my mat each day is my second chance at life. I will continue to celebrate my life, and show gratitude for my community at Modo as long as I continue to practice.

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