Yogis of Karma - Kyri'ay Vanderpoel

This weeks Yogis of Karma features Kyri, photo in front of the new Eric Mancini Mural, and she shares his reflections on his own practice and some words of encouragement for those who are just now rolling out their mat. 

Prior to yoga all of my physical activity focused on strength first. Technique and flexibility were always afterthoughts when it came to climbing, calisthenics, and hand balancing. Between sitting eight or more hours a day for work as a software engineer and my strength training, I found myself with chronic pain. My progress was hindered by my reluctance to be honest with what my mind and body needed. Until a friend invited me to my first yoga class.

My journey with Karma Yoga began over the summer on a scorching Sunday morning. I was so anxious about being a beginner that I nearly didn't show up. But, like my fellow yogis, I laid out my mat, pushed through the heat, and was embraced by positive energy. Now I can't imagine my life without yoga.

The Karma community is unlike anything I've been involved in before. The wonderful people and the exciting experiences we create together makes this community feel like family. It's an immense undertaking to organize these events, and I am grateful for all the work Karma does to build a real community. From outdoor meditations to drum circles to acroyoga jams to blacklight yoga, there is always a chance to try something new.

While yoga has certainly improved my flexibility and nearly eliminated my pain, it's more than just physical. The world we live in is ripe with hate, chaos, and isolation. Yoga is journey where we move against the grain to find love, peace, and community. We foster real human connections. We challenge ourselves to live mindfully so we can create lasting memories together.

Some advice for potential and active yogis: don't let being a beginner frighten you. Don't compare your practice to anyone else's it's your journey. Be patient with your mind and body, don't get discouraged, and always remember to breath. Take the discipline and the love you develop on the mat and share it with everyone.