Kristin Kabanuk

"I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at eight years old. As a child, I combated the pain and deterioration in my joints with fistfuls of medication, physical therapy and spent lots of time on crutches with knees swollen the size of softballs. I tucked my fingers under when I sat with the other kids because I was embarrassed about my painful and unsightly knuckles.

The first time I did yoga, I was in my early twenties. I hated it. It hurt and it was hard and my body fought the new movements. My wrists, knees and ankles screamed under the weight of my body and I didn’t go back to yoga for a very long time.

As I entered my thirties, I began to transition mentally, spiritually and emotionally. I was shifting from my Hollywood life working in television, to one where I began to seek more meaning, passion and my true purpose. Along the way, a spiritual advisor of mine asked me to commit to two weeks of yoga. She suggested it, not just for my physical body, but for my emotional heart and my conflicted mind. I realized it was time and I surrendered to what I had been fighting for years.

For two weeks, 3 days a week, I practiced in the back left corner of the class and awkwardly moved through the postures. I worked hard and I cried from pain as I wrestled against my ego mind. My teacher, now a mentor for me, would come to the back of the room, place bolsters and blankets under my arms, legs and knees and say gently, “just stay there and let go. Join us when you’re ready.” And I did what he said. When it became too difficult, I simply stayed in child’s pose or I laid on my back, held up by the props; sometimes I cried. And it was ok. I could feel the support of the other students around me as they silently moved through their asanas. Yogis are amazing like that; they are special, mindful and compassionate people who understand that we are all connected by this experience of being human. Today was my day for tears, tomorrow might be theirs. I made real progress in those two weeks; mentally, spiritually and most of all physically. Eventually I moved to the front of the class and through the entire sequence. Yoga has been a big part of my life ever since that day I made the commitment to try. I continue to progress and I continue to struggle, but that is part of the journey for all of us every single day. This is why you will hear me say again and again, yoga is for everyone.

I moved to Seaside from Los Angeles in May of 2013 to escape big city life and fell into teaching because there were people in my community who wanted to learn from me. I went to India in October of 2013 and got officially certified as a teacher at Ashtanga & Hatha Yoga Mysore under Ely Ruales and Mahesh Chandra in Varkala, Kerala, India. My intention for Seaside Yoga, the reason I created this space, is to create a sense of community around a lifestyle; a lifestyle that encourages health, vitality and movement through yoga."