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Featured in Avelist 8/5/2015
1. Yoga is all about the breath. Finding a deep, full and expansive breath is the key to developing further in your practice.
2. Are you breathing?
3. No one is judging you or your ability or how your poses look except you. Yoga is all about creating a mind-body awareness, connecting with the breath and being on your mat.
4. Keep it simple, no one expects you to go into a handstand on the first day. In fact a lot of experienced yogis are still working on a lot of postures, perfecting them or tweaking them, trying to get into the full depth of the pose. We are all learning daily and hopefully teaching each other.
5. It’s called a practice for a reason. Every day is different. It’s about meeting yourself where you are that day, finding acceptance and self-love.
6. There is no “perfect” pose. Everyone has a different body type. Our skeletons are different, our mobility in our hips are different. Some people are bendy and flexible and others have strong upper body strength. The point is, we all have a different range of movement and we are all unique and beautiful in our own ways.
7. Are you having fun? It’s only yoga! There is a time and a place for focus and seriousness but try to find a little bit of ease and play. I guarantee the moment you stop trying so hard and trying to force it, you’ll have breakthroughs in your poses that will surprise you.
8. Remember to breathe!
9. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink plenty of water pre and post class. Especially if it’s a hot class and you’ll be sweating a lot.
10. Just show up and be present. Even if you think you can only go through a few poses, just making the commitment to yourself to show up on your mat for a class and giving yourself the permission to take that time for you is huge. Don’t underestimate it, the rest will come with time.
Featured in Avelist 8/5/2015
Real People, Real Life is an Avelist blog featuring people who have been there. #peoplehelpingpeople
Name: Kelly Berry
Occupation(s): Entrepreneur, Marketing/PR Consultant, Yoga Instructor
Location: Brooklyn, NY
What is your background?
I grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. in Virginia and went to undergrad at William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. I somehow got it stuck in my head after a high school trip to NYC that I wanted to move there and be in the mix of it, the energy of the city felt invigorating. I just wanted to explore it and I did. I moved here right after I graduated college. It’s funny to me now looking back. I tried on a lot of hats, different types of careers and jobs, different titles and industries. I was always searching for something it felt like. Sometimes I wonder if I took the long way around to get to where I needed to be. Now I am in a role that allows me to have flexibility and freedom that I crave, allows me to write, to speak to interesting people, to be active in my lifestyle and grow and build. Right now I help people build and launch their businesses and sometimes use those skills to build my own.
Tell us about KBCreative PR.
KBcreative PR LLC provides creative marketing, PR, and branding solutions for early stage to high growth companies. I like to be part of the building phase and growth of a company either just beginning or launching into a new phase, a direction or idea. I’m often brought on for marketing/PR strategy and then execution when it comes to the messaging, content, brand storytelling piece. I work mostly with technology startups which is a natural progression given my background (I used to run PR/comms/marketing for a software tech company in NY) but I am finding myself drawn more and more to creative design or health/wellness/fitness companies as it allows me to blend both my passions.
How did KBcreative PR begin?
A little over a year ago I was working at a successful startup, had the job title I always was striving for, had a lot of responsibility, my job was my life. And then a few things happened that really jolted me awake and made me take a serious look at my life and what I really wanted - what made me happy and what I thought success looked like. I realized that I wasn’t living it, I wasn’t living the life that I wanted, I wasn’t happy. So I decided to take a risk. A big one. I left the security and protection of a role that I knew and started working for myself. I told myself, I’ll just do this for a couple of months, ‘it’s only temporary.’ Now it’s almost a year later and I haven’t looked back.
And you're also a Vinyasa yoga instructor. How has practicing yoga changed your life?
Yoga has had such a powerful, dramatic and hugely positive impact on my life. What started out as “exercise” or a way to de-stress from the chaos of life, a stressful job, whatever, has allowed me to see the world in a radically different way. I have always been a curious, open and honest person but connecting with the practice of yoga and really getting in tune with myself and how I relate to the world around me - how I connect with people, how I exist in my environment - has really allowed me to strip away all the surface and clutter to see what is truly meaningful to me. Yoga has helped me to focus my energy so I can create the space for what I really want. It’s an evolving process but yoga has given me the tools to see and work on my understanding and my happiness.
How do you balance owning your own business and teaching yoga? What does a typical day look like for you?
Ha, sometimes it is a challenge. Let’s just say I’ve really become a morning person. I normally either teach a class between 6-6:30am most mornings or practice myself but before all of that, my dog Berkeley and I start with a walk sometimes around the neighborhood or to the park. I love the morning time, there is playtime with my dog, I get to walk outdoors and breathe in the fresh air and I love breakfast and coffee so really it’s my happy place in my day. Then I head to work either on-site with a client or working from my home office, I break for lunch and Berkeley pee breaks. In the evenings I normally teach a class or practice by meeting with fellow yogis at my home studio. Sometimes I take in a concert with a friend - I love live music and Brooklyn has tons of opportunities, especially in the summer - Celebrate Brooklyn is my favorite or something at BAM.
What is Sunset Yoga Brooklyn? Can we come?
Yes, please join us! I’m so glad you asked, big passion project for me. Sunset Yoga BK is a yoga collective started by me and my fellow co-creators/instructors Nina Goffi and Adriana Bateh. We host yoga classes throughout Brooklyn, all outdoors, all donations based and all focused on bringing people together in community in the spirit of making yoga accessible for all. We host Vinyasa classes every Monday and Wednesday night (schedule on Facebook and our website). We rotate between instructors and meeting places - usually in the park or a rooftop. So it’s kinda like a choose your own adventure yoga.
Who are your role models and why?
Wow, that’s a tough question to answer. I have been so lucky to have people in my life send me love and support through different stages when I needed it most and show me a different path I could take. From early on, my parents both set amazing examples for me to understand and create love, compassion, acceptance, and honesty for myself and to recognize it in others. Likewise, one of my closest friends who I have known for some time, always amazes me with her ability to shape and mold the life she wants for herself, without forcing it or creating the anxiety of getting there, she just has this wisdom and this ease and patience about her. I wish I could be more like that.
What inspires you?
People who aren’t afraid to fail. People who are open and kind and share love without expecting anything in return.
How has practicing yoga changed you?
Yoga has changed me physically and mentally. I used to run, bike, lift weights, I can honestly say I have never been in better shape than I am right now and it’s all because of yoga. So when anyone says (and I’m embarrassed to say that I used to be this person!) ‘oh yoga is just breathing’ or ‘I need to sweat to call it exercise’ then I say give me one class to prove you wrong. Let’s talk after some mindful chaturanga flows and standing poses; guarantee that you will definitely be feeling a work out! :)
What advice do you have for someone just starting to practice yoga?
Be kind to yourself and just show up. I hear all the time that people want to wait until they are “good enough” to practice, but that’s what yoga is! It’s a practice. It’s about learning and growing and developing on your mat. So just show up, find an instructor that you like and just do what you can, you’ll get to where you need to be in your own time and hopefully have fun getting there.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
If a choice or decision or challenge you are heading towards scares you and you want to turn back, then it usually means you need to push past that fear and walk towards it. I have been working on embracing this a lot lately in my life. And it is terrifying! But it is also hands down the most rewarding. Crazy-amazing things can happen when you have the courage to walk through whatever limitation or fear is holding you. You free yourself up to all these possibilities that you might not have been able to see before.
What's next for you?
Great question and I don’t have the answer...yet. But I hope for it to involve yoga, travel, photography, writing. At the moment I am focusing my energy on expanding the yoga instructor and entrepreneur part of myself. Continuing to teach regularly and also building more momentum forSunset Yoga BK to really get the word out. So KBcreative PR might be assisting with that. It’s all connected!
Where do you thrive?
I like creating and building things. I mean that more in the ideas sense, getting people to come together in a common goal, a cause, a project, maybe yoga. But when it comes to actually building things physically with my hands I am the worst. For example, any Ikea furniture I have ever owned was constructed by either my sister or my dad.
Right now I am on an Harmless Harvest water kick. And that stuff is not cheap. But it is delicious. Yeah, I would say coconut water or a trip somewhere. Flights aren’t cheap either but the experience of travel can’t be beat.
Can't live without?
My dog, Berkeley. He is the quirkiest weirdo of a dog and I love him dearly.
Where have you been? Favorite spots/cities/recommendations?
I recently traveled to a few spots in Turkey - Istanbul, Bodrum, Adana and Cappadocia. That was a great trip, I went to visit friends and it is always such a different experience to see a place through a local’s eyes. One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting them in their hometown of Adana. For me that is the best part of traveling, really getting to see how other people live and experiencing another culture and their ways of life - just the ordinary, everyday seemingly mundane stuff.
My favorite spot if you are looking for a way to connect with people and nature in a deeper way, I recommend Costa Rica, hands down. I visited Alajuela not long ago and it was truly transformative.
Do you have any articles or lists on Avelist?
Yes: The Top 10 Things Every Beginner Yogi Should Know. Check it out!
Website: kellyberryyoga.com and kbcreativepr.com
I teach at the following spots:
Sunset Yoga Brooklyn
Other people I follow and like:
@brookecoleman77 - she owns her own clothing line Brooke Coleman and runs a sustainable living retreat in Costa Rica.
@verameat - strange and funky jewelry designer based in Brooklyn, love her stuff and own a few pieces.
@bijouxxx - photographer and designer based in Brooklyn. Great sense of style and color, super creative and has artful selfies.
@opentabbrooklyn - beautiful plates of veggie or vegan foods all prepared day of and homemade. She is a friend so sometimes I get to try the food which is even better!