Student Stories: Kiersten Anderson

ON November 16, 2016

This is YOUR community. We want to continue to make an effort to share the stories of our students and your fellow yogis. Get to know the people who practice next to you. Here is one of our newest stories to share about a yogi who gives back to our world by helping homeless animals. Enjoy!

1. How and when did you first get into yoga?

When I was in undergrad, I developed a nervousness and anxiety from all the major life changes happening to me and this turned into an eating disorder. I hate to say that I came to yoga because I was broken, but I’ve always known that there is more to life than the superficial surface layers. I grew up backpacking and hiking in the Santa Cruz/Big Sur mountains with my dad and felt so at peace in nature. When my anxiety developed and spiraled into a dark place in college, I sought solace in a small, independent yoga studio in San Luis Obispo owned and operated by a warm, knowledgeable and beautiful yogi who exposed me to wonderful physical and spiritual practices like Nia, kundalini, hatha and yin-my favorites to this day! I grew more and more curious about the other limbs of yoga and this “do no harm” lifestyle… I’m forever grateful to Amy and that sacred space she and the students created; it provided a strong foundation for my explorative and knowledge (of self, body and yoga philosophy)-seeking practice today.

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2. What brought you to Namaste? Any favorite teachers?

I came to Namaste seeking a diverse community of teachers, practices and students. I suffered from a really traumatic experience, resulting in the loss of a loved soul, while I was in the Peace Corps a few years ago. I literally searched online for “grief support/Berkeley” and found Ken’s workshop on working through grief through community and yoga. I am forever grateful to him, those I met in that space and the tools with which I came away to continue to process my loss. I love the variety of classes and am always so impressed and inspired by the variety of offerings-workshops, trainings and types of classes. Admittedly, my home base is the Berkeley studio, and I’m still relatively new to Namaste, but I gain so much from Abby Tucker’s classes. I love how she blends philosophy with movement, delivering both with clarity and intention. I walk out of her class with an elevated understanding of myself and others-or sometimes with an incredibly humble feeling of not knowing anything at all 🙂

3. We loved learning that you work for the SF SPCA and have been committed to living a philanthropic life. How does yoga support you in your non-profit career?

I worked with street animals while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Caribbean and feel beyond Kiersten Andersonlucky to have found my calling in life in animal welfare and hope to get back to working internationally with street dogs in the near future. I continue to be involved with the organization I started, The Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA) and am so inspired by the local island community responding to our mission to lever kindness to all living beings. I’ve seen, and continue to experience, a lot of tough stuff-but yoga has been my compass. Be it deep belly breathing and meditation, physical asana that’s yang or yin focused, or choosing to practice ahimsa in how I live-yoga anchors me to stay true to my life-intention and brings me into balance when my heart or body are fatigued from working with shelter animals, as I do now. For me, a regular yoga practice brings forth the kind of person I want to be-compassionate, empathetic and continuously learning.

4. Anything else you want to share with our community?

I go through different phases, as I’m sure we all do, of getting lost in the surface level side of yoga-the final pose or those cute new pants that cost more than we know we should be spending. What I enjoy so much about a regular practice is that it reminds me that the beauty lies in the becoming-the process, not the result. As I age and my body changes, I find certain things now more challenging but it excites me to address these challenges and stay tuned into the “feel” rather than the “form”. What we think, we become. Yoga helps me think beautiful and compassionate thoughts about myself and others… reinforcing my life of service to those who cannot speak for themselves. Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu <3

Have a story you want to share?

Let us know! Shoot us an email at info@ilovenamaste.com with the subject “My Student Story”.

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