Our Ambassadors play an important role in communicating the philosophy of Corc Yoga. This month, we sat down with one of our Ambassadors, Kaela Saez, to find out what led her to yoga and what continues to inspire her practice.
Take a few moments to read her story. It’s our desire that it will inspire you to go deeper into your yoga practice.
What led you to yoga?
When I first started doing yoga I was newly sober and grieving the loss of a friend. A dear mentor of mine, who is also a yoga teacher, Lesley Fightmaster, was co-leading a teacher training at Yoga Works and told me it might be helpful to join the training. So I did.
I didn't even do it to become a teacher, I was just desperate to do something other than being miserable. My journey with yoga really began there. I spent 3 months doing a 200hr training with no intention to teach.
Within tose months I started to heal both physically and mentally. It was like coming home after a long journey, but this time, home was my body. I fell in love with the practice.
Over there years I have been lead to many different trainings under many different mentors based on the flow of my life. To me, yoga unlocks a story within ourselves that we've been waiting to hear all along. It is like a book series that I can't stop reading, weaving itself into every part of my journey. There is always a new direction to head. Sometimes I just cry after a practice simply because I am so humbled by the process of being able to witness yoga's profound teachings.
What or who is your inspiration?
Gosh, I have so many women in the yoga world who inspire me.
Hala Khouri, a pioneer for yoga for social justice and trauma-informed teaching. Ashley Turner who has devoted her life to teaching people how to heal their own trauma and also (in my eyes) spearheads the movement on yoga for mental health. My mentor Lesley Fightmaster who introduced me to yoga and has sculpted my sense of self and always pushed me to teach and follow my truth.
Specifically, these three women are the reason I teach yoga in the mental health and addiction industry today. Their teachings have inspired me and molded my life's work.
I am also inspired by my students. I only work with patients/students under psychiatric care or in addiction recovery. I am inspired by the idea of teaching people to empower their own sense of safety and security through their individual ability to self regulate.
Watching men and women come to life over time within the class room and listening to their personal stories about how much yoga has helped them and in some cases "saved their life" is one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the privilege of witnessing. In short, helping people help themselves with the tools that yoga provides is what drives me most.
What’s a quote that has impacted your life?
"I am mine before I am ever anyone else's." -Nayyirah Waheed
What’s your favorite place to practice yoga?
I love practicing in quiet and wide-open spaces. When I lived in France my studio sat on a river and if I could practice there every day now I would. But now I live in San Clemente, so it is harder to find super quiet spaces.
Currently, I am really in love with taking classes under Laura Love at her studio in Dana Point, Dharma Yoga House. It is so beautiful and special there. Like a little retreat from the chaos of the world.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
I have been practicing yoga for 11 years and teaching yoga for the last 10 years.
What’s been the biggest personal benefit yoga has provided?
Yoga is like a compass. Whenever I feel lost in life, I can just go back to my practice and figure out where to go or where I am.
When I'm doing it routinely, yoga always directs me towards an unknown but beautiful familiar destination. Yoga has provided a prolific guide to my journey, and yet it has also been the journey itself. It has taught me who I am as it has simultaneously shaped and reshaped my entire being and outlook on life.
Where is your favorite place to travel in the world?
Basque Country in the Southwest of France/Northwest of Spain. I actually ran and owned yoga studio there for some time. I miss it and can't wait to go again.
When do you normally practice yoga?
I love practicing yoga in the afternoon. I teach all day and it makes a huge difference to get done with servicing others and take time to reset and return to myself.
What book have you most often recommended to others?
The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. It is a book about how trauma affects our brain and therapeutic practices to help yourself heal from toxic stress.
What do you do after you’ve done your yoga for the day?
I enjoy myself. Usually, that means I eat! I am usually hungry, so I nourish my body. I am a Taurus – I love food!
Are you interested in becoming an Ambassador?
Are you interested in joining us on this journey towards sustainable living for the mind, body, and soul? Click here to learn about the Corc Yoga Ambassador program. And if you want to read about the rest of our Ambassadors, click here.