We’re honored by the many experts, teachers, and speakers that will be joining us for the March 2015 cruise. To celebrate those voices, we’ll be running a short series of presenter interviews. Kiersten Mooney, E-RYT 500, is owner of Bala Vinyasa Yoga 200 & 300hr registered yoga schools located in Naples and Miami, FL. Kiersten graduated from The University of Miami with a double B.A. in Sociology & Exercise Sports Science and Sports Medicine with continued graduate studies in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. She leads accredited teacher trainings globally and teaches at Yoga Journal Conferences. As a teacher and presenter, Kiersten offers concrete tools with a lighthearted perspective, grounded by insight that empowers people to courageously live life to the fullest. Empowerment of others is truly her passion.
- What one change would you suggest for someone just getting started on their journey to having a healthier life?
The most important step is to get started. Consider you need nothing more than what you already have to begin a journey to a healthier you. Have the courage to begin where you are, the patience with your progress, the persistence in your commitment and the knowledge that you deserve to be your greatest self. Creating a healthier you requires you to set realistic workout and dietary goals and to start now!
- Who are some of your influences?
I have been in the health and wellness industry since 1992 and began practicing yoga in 1996. Many teachers and professors have influenced me. One professor in particular, Dr. Joseph Signorile at the University of Miami, had a tremendous impact in my growth as a student, teacher and business owner. His passion for research and dedication to his students is truly awe-inspiring. In addition to numerous health and wellness influences, I also have a wide range of yoga experience from trainings with many teachers. The most influential yoga teacher in my life has been Baron Baptiste. His commitment to personal growth and transformation impacts lives globally. It wasn’t until I embodied Baptiste Yoga that I decided to make teaching and sharing my love for yoga my life. I stand in appreciation for every teacher I’ve had the opportunity to experience – each offering a unique experience, knowledge and wisdom that I draw from in different ways. I have recently rekindled my love for the writings by author Neale Donald Walsch. Conversations with God, An Uncommon Dialogue, Books 1, 2 and 3 have been a source of inspiration in not only my teaching, but also my personal life.
- What do you see as the future of healthy living?
I work with people from all over the world, empowering them to be courageous and bold enough to live their greatest life. What I have experienced is that healthy living is beyond the physical form; it is an internal state of being as well. The more people are empowered to see possibility for themselves and to discover that they are the creator of their life, they begin to make appropriate choices whether that is diet, exercise or fulfilling their life’s mission and passion. I also see a steering away from the belief that there is a fast track to wellbeing as trend-driven diets, pills and external vices fall by the wayside There is an increased curiosity about how our accumulative lifestyle and food choices directly affect our quality of life. In addition, having a more intrinsic connection to what’s really happening in the body can give us the knowledge and power to be in command of our overall health.
- What are you most proud of, in relation to your work?
I am so lit up by our collaboration with the University of Miami. Together we are conducting cutting edge yoga research to provide evidence that yoga can be targeted to improve function, independence, and health for all populations. Over the years, I’ve seen firsthand the powerful healing and injury prevention benefits that yoga has to offer. To finally see these benefits proven through state of the art and innovative testing with published results is groundbreaking. What this means is that we can bring clarity to the overall benefits and therapeutic qualities of practicing yoga and tailor the practice to meet anyone’s needs. I also can’t deny the impact that Bala Vinyasa Yoga, my studios, and teacher trainings have had on people around the world.
- Summarize your personal health philosophy.
-Every day is a new opportunity for me to be in creation of my life.
-The greatest gift I have is choice for what thoughts I have, actions I take and what words I say. True acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm is a decision I make, not something that is happenstance.
-Willingness to take risks and come face to face with my own resistance both physically and mentally. That is where my greatest opportunity for growth occurs; outside of my comfort zone.
- What do you think are the ingredients for a life well lived?
A life well lived is being generous and open with others, doing your life’s work and creating an existence bigger than you alone. Well living is stepping into the greatest vision you have for yourself, relationships and work, and everyday and requires you to be willing to shift the context for how you view situations and people. We all have the gift of choice and the opportunity to be the clearing for who we want to be and to create our future. That is how we bring to us what we want.
- What are some of the biggest health benefits in practicing yoga?
Many people come to yoga for the physical benefits of the practice; stress reduction, weight loss, flexibility, balance and strength. Nonetheless, what they get is more than they could have ever imagined. From personal experience and witnessing thousands of people transform their bodies as well as their internal state of being, our yoga practice is a reminder of how brilliant our bodies are, how freeing it is to let go of something that is causing us great sensation, either physically or mentally, and allowing us to return to a state of Samadhi, bliss. Yoga helps not only with strength, flexibility and balance, but also with focus, discipline, and courage. It will tone your body, calm your mind, and clear a space within you from which you can discover and create your best life possible!
- On the cruise, you’ll be speaking on the Art of Living Powerful, balancing action and non-action. Can you tell us what that lecture will touch on and why that balance is so important?
Being powerful in your life is the balance of effort and ease, action and non-action. Using just the right amount of effort to perform any task or to get through any situation is developing the art and mastery of living. Through yoga, we learn how to be in partnership with others powerfully. Being a leader is being up to a life that is bigger than you and it is impossible to do that on your own. Once we have access to our personal power we can then be powerful with others. When we connect with people beyond the masks we wear, our personal preferences, belief systems and what we have accumulated or not, we come face to face with humanity. In those moments, fear, judgments and anger can dissipate and love and peace are possible.