Kylie, 36, from Melbourne, Australia, was a volunteer with New Life for a month, and has contributed an enormous amount during in her stay at the foundation. Some of her time has been spent teaching the yoga classes that New Life offer twice a day. Kylie teaches Hatha Yoga, and its always interesting to have the opportunity to try the different types of yoga.
Kylie first started yoga at the age of 19. She then studied yoga at a Hatha Yoga School. Kylie says “when I’m looking for a yoga school, I look for good clear energy, and a teacher who is clearly connected to the heart, not just the physical postures of Yoga.” She looks for Pranayama (Yoga breath work), Hatha Yoga (the physical postures of Yoga), meditation, and Shavasana (the relaxation pose of Yoga).
Kylie was able to contribute a lot to New Life, and was able to offer valuable insight from her own experiences of life. When Kylie was five years old, there was a lot of conflict in the home. This conflict ended in her parents divorcing when she was seven. Kylie learned to fear conflict. Through her mother’s way of being, Kylie learned to put herself in other people’s shoes. Her grandmother also taught her that the glass is always half full, and not half empty!
In her 20s, Kylie’s boyfriend studied the martial arts, so he taught her some moves. She also attended three 10-day Vipassana meditation retreats, completed a two-year “Yoga Teaching” course, and completed a two-year Transpersonal Counseling course (studying the transpersonal, transcendent, and spiritual aspects of the human experience). This last course allowed her to explore different ways of interacting with others. She then traveled while supporting herself by working with the underprivileged and homeless.
On another note, Kylie has Alopecia, a medical condition which causes hair loss from the head or body. She was 13 years old when clumps of her hair fell out. She was self-conscious, but as her hair was thick and curly, it was not too noticeable. Her mom was distressed for her, so she took her to various doctors to try different medical treatments, including cortisone shots in her scalp and trying different medications. She was 25, and teaching English in Vietnam, when all her hair fell out. Although she had a very supportive boyfriend, Kylie fell into a severe depression for six months. When she got back home, she tried to deal with her depression through psychotherapy (and a little dope smoking, she admits). Through her experience of depression, she developed a deep-seated appreciation for mental clarity and balance, and she also says she fell in love with life.
Kylie has very clear and stable boundaries, which she learned through her community work. Kylie thinks that ideally, we want to help people, but if we are to be of benefit, you need to look out for yourself. She says “If I need downtime, I make time for myself, so that I can be fully present.” She thinks it is important to surrender to the present moment. She says that mindfulness is very important. One can use the breath to manage stress and agitation. “You should acknowledge your feelings and sit with them, but release your tension by breathing.”
As a Yoga instructor at New Life, Kylie ends her classes with these words: “Have clear kind thoughts, clear kind words, and a clear kind open heart.” Her words, calmness, and gentleness really helps the residents and volunteers who attend her classes.
Julie, New Life resident