In need of a little mindfulness in your life? Well, meet beYogi’s newest ambassador, Kelly Smith – a yoga teacher, podcaster, and entrepreneur. For the entire month of May, beYogi will be partnering up with Kelly Smith to bring you “Mindfulness May”.
During the month of May, Kelly will be writing articles and sharing her expertise on everything related to meditation and mindfulness, here on beYogi. She will also be touching on those topics in her podcast episodes this May!
So, be sure to check out Kelly’s podcast, Mindful in Minutes, to learn even more about meditation and how to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life!
Before Kelly was a seasoned meditation podcaster and yogi, she was a teenage athlete living in the Minneapolis area. Her athletic mindset lead her to take interest in the yoga practice, but she wasn’t going into the practice with the goal of becoming a yoga teacher.
“I have been practicing yoga and meditation since I was quite young, probably since about middle school,” Kelly explained, “I started doing it as a form of cross training for the sports I played and I was in it mainly for the physical benefits. I was even a Savasana skipper, which I am very embarrassed about now.”
It’s safe to say that Kelly has come a long way since entering the yoga world 14 years ago. Thanks to her mother, who inspired her to join the yogi community, she has found the yoga practice to be a way for her to connect with not only her mother, but also herself.
“My mom was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer,” Kelly shared, “She was always into yoga and meditation, so when I was her primary caregiver I started doing some research into the therapeutic benefits of yoga and that's when I discovered meditation. We started to do some really gentle practices together as well as some restorative and visualization, it just inspired me how much it helped her.”
But before Kelly entered into a 200-hour yoga teacher training, she wanted to check off all the boxes and enroll in college first. However, ever since she was 16, she has learned to appreciate the non-physical aspects of the practice. Kelly has always believed that the yoga practice brings more than just therapeutic benefits, it brings you face-to-face with your true self.
“My favorite thing is probably yoga's ability to help you come face-to-face with your true self and to help you break down the barriers,” Kelly explains, “It connects you to who you truly are, because I think that at our core we are all good, kind, beautiful, and vibrant.”
Once becoming immersed in the world of yoga and meditation, it wasn’t hard for Kelly to find her mission in the world. After she left Missouri a few years ago, she was forced to sell her yoga studio and leave all her clients behind to pursue other endeavors which brought her to launch her podcast, Mindful in Minutes.
“It actually started as a way for my students and I to stay connected,” She explained in regard to starting her podcast, “It just turned into a really big thing and people now, in 165 countries or something like that, are listening.”
Kelly shares that it started solely as a tool and a way for her to connect with her former students. Mindful in Minutes, was and still is, a way for her students to get involved and stay in contact with her. They are able to send her requests for topics and questions about meditation, which she then dives deeper into on her podcast. Not only does Kelly talk about topics such as yoga nidra and creativity, but she also incorporates the benefits of meditation into each of her episodes.
“There are a lot of benefits to meditation,” Kelly shares, “Some of those physical benefits are the ability to lower blood pressure, help with anxiety, depression, and physical pain.”
Kelly believes that more people should practice meditation, especially since many of us live extremely busy and fast-pace lives.
“I think that it helps us to slow down and be a little bit more introverted and reflective. Especially in our culture, where we are always on the go. I think that it's important to slow down and check in, even if it’s just for a few minutes every day.” Kelly says, “Also, neurologically speaking, it makes our brains bigger and stronger, so we increase more grey matter in the brain, especially in the areas that are associated with things such as higher cognitive function, learning, memory, and emotion regulation.”
Since diving deeper into the world of meditation and yoga, Kelly believes more and more people are showing interest in bringing meditation and mindfulness into their daily lives, including yoga teachers.
During yoga teacher trainings, most teachers are required to learn all about the eight limbs of yoga, which includes meditation. However, Kelly believes that limb can be forgotten about sometimes even though yoga teachers show interest in it.
“I kind think meditation is one of the forgotten limbs,” Kelly shares, “In yoga teacher training, we are so focused on things like asanas and sequences and all of those things, which are very important. But asana is just one limb and meditation is also a limb, we just don’t spend enough time on it.”
Kelly believes that many yoga teachers want to utilize meditation more during their yoga classes, but many struggle on how to make sure their students get the most from it. She suggests yoga teachers and students can start off incorporating more meditation to the beginning or end of class like during Savasana.
“I would say one of the easiest ways for you to incorporate meditation into your yoga classes is going to be just by doing some guided visualization or guided meditation either at the beginning of class or in Savasana,” Kelly suggests, “It can just be a few minutes, it doesn’t have to be hard, it can be simple. There's a lot of really great resources out there that you can use.”
Kelly’s Expert Tip: I think props are wonderful, but I know that they're not accessible for everyone. If you don’t have traditional yoga props, grab whatever you have around - a blanket or pillows from your house. I would say a strap is really great to have, but you can also use a necktie or a bathrobe. You can create makeshift accessories on your own!
If you are a new yoga teacher and you’re nervous about how your students will react to meditation practices or even your teaching style, keep in mind that you will find your place. Kelly understands that it can seem overwhelming at first, but she also believes you will find students who understand you, it might just take time.
“I would say that there is a teacher for every student and a student for every teacher but not every student is for you and not every teacher is your teacher and that is okay,” Kelly admits, “There is enough to go around, don’t buy into this idea that the yoga market is incredibly saturated because it's not.”
Kelly explains that you don't need to have every single student in the world to connect with who you are. Keep in mind, that the students that are right for you will appear, it might just take some time. Kelly also admits that she has made plenty of mistakes since beginning her yoga and meditation journey, but she is still a big believer in forgiving yourself and leading with grace.
“Don't give up and also don’t lose your love for the practice of yoga,” Kelly advises, “Keep going to classes and if you don't it will lead to burn out pretty quickly.”
Kelly Fact: The name Kelly actually means warrior which makes all of the warrior poses, her favorite poses to practice.
It’s no secret that the future for Kelly, looks brighter and brighter every day. From her Mindful in Minutes podcast to her compelling yoga wisdom, Kelly is not slowing down anytime soon.
“Someone once told me that I am enough. I am always looking for growth and new challenges,” Kelly says, “Instead of trying to fit myself into the mold of what a yoga meditation teacher should be, a woman should be whatever she wants to be instead of trying to push myself into a mold.”
You can learn more about Kelly by following her on Instagram and by visiting her blog!
Kelly's Instagram: @yogaforyouonline
Kelly's Website: Yoga for You