This month we’re showcasing Kimberly Mackesy who leads an all levels Iyengar practice Saturdays at 9am. Kimberly brings a deep understanding of alignment principles to both her practice and teaching. Her conscientious instruction is clear and effective, expertly distilling the essence of each asana (pose). See our full schedule here.
What is your favorite style of yoga?
Iyengar Yoga. It gives me everything I need. There’s a Sanskrit word, śraddhā, that means “trust which comes from revelation.” (Sutra I.20.) As its benefits have revealed themselves over the years, my trust in the Iyengar method has deepened. I’ve committed to teaching within the lineage. That said, I also know that every person’s yoga journey is unique. Yoga in the modern day comes in so many forms that I truly believe there is yoga for everyone. As B.K.S. Iyengar himself repeatedly expressed, “yoga is one.”
What first attracted you to yoga when you began your practice?
I was a stressed out college student. I was searching for answers to life’s big questions, and frankly I was depressed at what I was finding so far. Meanwhile, my dad convinced me to try yoga because he thought it would benefit me physically. I had no idea then that the physical health benefits are just one (albeit important) piece of the puzzle.
I started out with a 10-week gentle Hatha Yoga course at UCLA. The teacher was this radiant elder lady who brought her own tape deck. She taught the same poses to the same tape week after week…and I loved it. Simple, simple poses. Like clockwork, the yoga gave me a break from my stress. It gave me peace, breathing room, if only for an hour. I was hooked right away.
About a year after my first yoga class, I enrolled in the interdisciplinary teacher training program at the Center for Yoga in Los Angeles (co-taught Diana Beardsley, who now co-leads Teacher Trainings at Yoga One). I found my first Iyengar Yoga teacher, the beginnings of my own teaching voice, even the seeds of my career during that first teacher training.
Padmasana, lotus pose. I find it deeply soothing structurally, organically and spiritually (that’s after lots of practice, of course). I love working with my students on the poses that prepare padmasana. With practice and sequential preparation, padmasana comes when the student is ready just like its namesake, the lotus flower, blooms in its own time. Mr. Iyengar actually compared the 8 limbs of yoga to the petals of a lotus flower: they all unfold at once to reveal the brilliance within.
What pose is still the most challenging?
Savasana, or corpse pose. The urge comes to adjust, to move, to try to balance the body. The mind wants to wander too because that’s its nature. It’s a tremendous challenge to surrender and be still, but that is exactly what savasana asks us to do. Paradoxically, that’s one of the reasons it’s so effective.
If you were an animal, you would be: a dragon! It’s my birth year in the Chinese Zodiac. And I’m a redhead, so it suits me.
Describe what yoga means in your life using just 6 words: Profound healing on all levels. AUM.
What might your students be surprised to learn about you?
That I’m looking for a husband! I don’t date my students, but I do take referrals. ;)
Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for new students?
You’ll feel something from the very first class, but the subtle benefits of a yoga practice take time to accrue. Consistency is key. Come to class twice a week or more and practice at home whenever you can, even for a few minutes a day. Yoga’s benefits show up in proportion to your efforts. Yoga can bring you more than you ever imagined, but only if you stick with it.