Kelsey Bourgeois – Urbana, Illinois
Who She Is:
Kelsey Bourgeois is an E-RYT 200 Yoga Alliance registered Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga instructor with over 2,300 hours of yoga teaching experience based out of central Illinois. Taking with her a sense that everyone can do yoga, Kelsey has been able to help many different bodies and personalities access the practice over the years. She wishes to instill a sense of confidence and empowerment in her students by teaching them to “Inhabit Your Body” with the practice of yoga. Currently, you can find Kelsey teaching at occasional festivals and workshops across the country, leading teacher trainings and retreats in Illinois and teaching group classes and private lessons at Amara Yoga & Arts. Kelsey is also an All You Can Yoga ambassador, a YogaforPeople volunteer teacher and a contributing blogger at Orca Health.
How you became an instructor:
I was very fortunate to find this career path. My first job at 17 yrs old was selling clothes at a clothing boutique that served as the storefront a yoga studio (an it’s yoga franchise at the time). I started practicing yoga and quickly fell in love. I trained to teach Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga a few months later and haven’t looked back since. That was 7 years ago and I have been teaching almost daily since. Coming from a ballet background, yoga was at once natural and difficult to transition into. I had a very hard time letting go of the way things looked, yet letting go of mirrors and that same obsession changed my body image and I know it has done the same for many dancers.
What You Teach:
I specialize is Ashtanga, but also teach vinyasa flow, power flow, gentle and restorative yoga, prenatal yoga and AcroYoga! I am also a retreat coordinator and the lead teacher trainer for our 200 hour program.
Where you Teach:
Currently I teach at Amara Yoga & Arts, a darling studio in Urbana with a beautiful studio community and culture that doubles as an art gallery.
Right now I’m focusing on becoming the best 200 hour teacher trainer I can be. I taught my first teacher training this year and it was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my yoga career to date (it helps that I have a wonderful and knowledgeable faculty here to supplement where I am not an expert). I also recently offered an Ashtanga Primary Series immersion with Corrie Proksa and that was one of my favorite weeks teaching ever. Going forward I would like to keep offering trainings and immersions. I also love teaching at festivals and doing travelling workshops, so I am interested in doing more of that going forward. I also love hosting retreats and hope to do more of that in the future. In the long term I intend to open a studio wherever my husband and I end up settling down (he is in medical school so we won’t know for several years where in the country we will live). Some other long term goals of mine (and these are a little bit scary to put out in the universe) are to author a yoga book, create yoga DVDs or online classes, and create a company that hosts international yoga retreats all over the world.
My mission is to use yoga to empower people to be their best selves by asking them to ‘inhabit your body’. As a women’s rights activist, I see yoga as a valuable tool in helping women with confidence, self esteem and belief in their own ability to do hard things and the same to help men discover their power in softness, self discovery and their ability to do hard things. I do not believe in a strict gender binary, rather, I believe that yoga really does give every person whatever he or she needs. To this end, I teach currently or have taught in the past at battered women’s shelters, eating disorder clinics, rehab facilities and public high schools. I have also been able to work with martial artists, medical students, sorority girls, cyclists, rock climbers and those recovering from PTSD. I am a volunteer for a great organization called yogaforpeople that connects yoga teachers with groups that need yoga but may or may not be able to afford it. I love that in teaching yoga I have been able to see people from all walks of life and suffering from all different kinds of life’s troubles, come to yoga and find something. Maybe it’s peace, or strength or quiet, or simply more comfort in your own skin. This is where my ‘inhabit your body’ line comes from. My belief is that through yoga, each person can get more in touch with their true selves and as a result they will treat themselves and everyone around them better. I do not know the right thing for each person, but I believe each person can find their truth by tuning in and inhabiting their own mind, body and spirit. And I know I can help in that process.
Your Favorite Quote:
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” – Franz Kafka
What Inspires you:
My students and the yoga community in general. I feel like I have the best students in the world and when they share with me their story of how they got to yoga and how it has helped them I feel inspired to keep practicing and teaching myself. The community and friendships I have found through yoga is so inspiring. I have been able to connect with many people who I never would have met otherwise.
Who Inspires You:
Again, my students. So many of them have come from hardship (and in some ways, we all have), and to see them commit to a practice and change their lives is amazing.
By way of yoga my Teacher (capital T) Amy Williams of 3B Yoga in Utah has been and continues to be my biggest inspiration. Her teaching is literally magical and she is so good at taking that off the mat to support people all around her. I really try to channel her in my teaching and in my life. To me, she is best kind of yogi and person. She is very accepting and affirming and in my opinion that is very yogic. Not to mention, she gave a 17 yr old new teacher a shot at teaching and it changed my life.
Where To Connect:
*All Photography Is Credited At http://www.kelseybourgeoisyoga.com/