Welcome to Off The Mat, a student spotlight series where Yoga Tribe Brooklyn interviews experienced practitioners about how yoga has equipped them for (and had an impact on) their non-yoga lives.
Today we sit down with Kerstin Krall Walz:
What type(s) of yoga do you practice? How often? Has that cadence changed over the years?
I have practiced the 26+2 series exclusively for the last 21 years. Last year, I discovered the 84 series and have been incorporating some of these poses into my practice. Seriously life changing!
I started practicing Bikram Yoga (as it was only called then) in 1998 at a windowless studio in Tribeca. For years, I practiced 1x — 2x a week (excluding pregnancy). Since the beginning of 2019, I am getting on my mat 4x — 5x a week. I’m invigorated by working new poses and literally crave my daily practice.
2. Can you tell us a bit about your life when you’re not doing yoga?
On the career front, I spent 17 years at big “Madison Avenue” agencies on the account side. I left to have a more balanced life and continue today as a marketing consultant. I am also super excited to be working on developing an app for foodies expected to launch in 2020.
Plus, I sit on the Board Of Directors for 78th, Brooklyn’s largest non-profit youth sports organization bringing sports to almost 5,000 kids annually.
Most importantly, I am a wife and mom (to an amazing teen boy and cute Cocker Spaniel).
3. What skills have you learned on the mat that have been applicable to the rest of your non-yoga life?
There are so many mental benefits of a yoga practice! Here are my top three!
1) Focus deeply.
Get into a zone and stay there.
2) Enjoy the tiny triumphs.
Being able to flex my toes a bit more than the previous day in standing head to knee.
3) Express gratitude.
Each class I dedicate to something. It can be a person or something I am grateful for like my healthy knees.
4. Can you think of any memorable moments in life when you thought to yourself, “Wow, I’m sure glad I’ve done yoga to help me through this experience”?
26+2 yoga helped me heal my knees after the New York City Marathon. My body isn’t meant to run 26.2 miles in one go! My knees were very painful after the run. I believe the strengthening of the surround knee muscles in the standing series and the pushing of synovial fluid during fixed firm pose helped me heal.
5. How has your yoga practice evolved as your life has evolved?
I’ve worked to overcome unnecessary anxiety. As a younger adult, I often allowed myself to rev-up into a frenzied state of stress. I believed it helped me get more done. My workouts reflected this. Running was my primary exercise. Originally, I was drawn to 26+2 for the heart-pumping sweat-inducing nature of it.
As I’ve evolved, I’m MUCH calmer. While I enjoy intensity, I also enjoy the calm and serene feelings I feel in my yoga zone.
6. If you could invent your own style of yoga, what would it be? (Assuming no budgetary constraints and a guaranteed target market of eager students!)
I love the 26+2 series for the flow and interchanging back/forward bending. I’d keep it the same but add inversions at the end. It’s fun to play with balance upside down!