"I make a point at least one day on the weekend, like on Sundays, to practice at home with him, so that he can see that this is mommy's time and this is important and this is a part of my life and he's very, very......he's a little yogi. I don't force it on him by any means, but when he feels like playing around with yoga, he does and he has fun."- Krista Shirley
I'm sure you would agree that anyone who finds yoga in their life is extremely fortunate. It took me till my late 20's to discover it. One of the places I first started practicing was in Costa Rica where I did Sivananda Yoga (pre - Ashtanga days) at a little piece of paradise called Horizon Yoga. The owners taught and lived there along with their little son. I remember thinking at the time what a unique childhood this boy was exposed to. All these yogis around him all day long. Just soaking in their energy. As yoga continues to grow more and more children are born into these families. In this interview Krista Shirley shows how the practice doesn't need to end once you have kids. It just needs to include them. What's really exciting is to think of what will happen as these little yogi's grow up and enter the world. Maybe that's why Guruji wanted everyone to have kids?
If you enjoyed the interview please comment, like and share below - Keep practicing. Clint
When I used to come, my earlier, earlier days, my first trip, I was here (Mysore) 10 months. Second trip, third trip, fourth trip, fifth trip, probably about three months each. Most times now, with my son though, I get to come two months in a row. He’s come actually every year since I was pregnant. In 2010, I was six months pregnant. I came with him, and every trip since then, he’s come to India with me when I come. It's getting a little more tricky, cause I can't leave him for two or three months at a time and my shala, too, suffers a little bit when I'm gone. So, it's a lot different and a lot harder than it used to be before owning a shala to come, but it's nice when I can.
I'm really lucky. I have an amazing child who loves to travel and he really seems to enjoy experiencing different cultures and stuff. I've also really exposed him to that, so he looks forward to coming back. We do all kinds of stuff and the days fly by. We just enjoy each other's company, and that's something that's really important to me because, when I'm home, I'm working, working. I'm teaching workshops or I'm managing the shala and I only get the evening time with him for the most part, and early morning time. So, here, I get all day and it's really special and it means a lot to me, and I'm also excited about exposing him to this other culture and this other way of life because I do feel like it's going to help him be a much better, more well-rounded individual.
"But in terms of the community, it's growing. People are getting less afraid to bring their children. People are getting more comfortable about the idea of this grand adventure with their kids." - Krista Shirley
My friend Harmony has her little boy here, Jediah, and I recently met some other family from Miami and they have a little boy named David. So, every trip, there's usually a handful of children here that we get to play with and we have play dates and things. And I'm really good friends with a few Indian families here in Mysore that have kids so Kaiden gets to be exposed. But in terms of the community, it's growing. People are getting less afraid to bring their children. People are getting more comfortable about the idea of this grand adventure with their kids.
He's very exposed to the community of yoga and my shala and the practice of yoga and he's always seen me practice, even before he started coming to the shala. I make a point at least one day on the weekend, like on Sundays, to practice at home with him, so that he can see that this is mommy's time and this is important and this is a part of my life and he's very, very, he's a little yogi. I don't force it on him by any means, but when he feels like playing around with yoga, he does and he has fun.
"So it reminds me, Guruji used to always, every conference, talk about "Oh, have 13 children. I want you to have lots and lots of kids." I remember, back then, not thinking I really ever was going to have children. I didn't think I could." - Krista Shirley
We've been open since 2009, the end of 2009, and we kept growing, growing, growing. So, we're looking for a larger space right now. It's a really fun, exciting time for me, but it's also a little bit stressful because I love my shala. We've been there for six years now and the idea of moving into a larger space is exciting but also a little bit sad. Right now, one of the reasons I want to expand, in addition to the fact that we need a larger space, is to have a room for kids, like a childcare room. So it reminds me, Guruji used to always, every conference, talk about "Oh, have 13 children. I want you to have lots and lots of kids." I remember, back then, not thinking I really ever was going to have children. I didn't think I could. So, Kaiden was not only a miracle, but also kind of changed my entire perception of what I expected my life to be.
So my first trip was 2006, I was here 10 months. It was amazing, it was extremely life changing. I had met Guruji the year before in New York during his tour and I really knew then that I wanted to come study with him. My dad passed away when I was really little and I've never really had a father figure, or a man to look up to in life and when I met Guruji, there was something about his energy but there was also something about this fatherly figure that I was like, "Wow, you're amazing, and your energy is amazing." And I really yearned then to start coming to India. So I just saved up and worked and worked and saved.
I remember asking Sharath, I went back to his office and I said, "Can I just rent space out of a studio?" And he specifically said, "No, I want you to open a shala." And I cried, actually. I wasn't ready. - Krista Shirley
Yeah, I was in my early 20's and I didn't own a house, I didn't own a shala, I didn't have a kid. When I went back, I was dead broke and it went like that for years, just worked to make enough money to get back here. It really kind of went that way until I got authorized in February of 2009 and Guruji and Sharath told me to go open a yoga shala in Orlando, and I remember asking Sharath, I went back to his office and I said, "Can I just rent space out of a studio?" And he specifically said, "No, I want you to open a shala." And I cried, actually. I wasn't ready. Well, I didn't think I was ready to open a shala. I wasn't ready. I didn't want to really plant roots, and, at the time, my boyfriend, at that point, we'd been together for seven years. He was ready for me to come home and plant some roots.
And, interestingly enough, I started a little program and then, in August of 2009, I signed a lease to the space we're in now, and a day later, I found out I was pregnant with my son. So, it was just sort of like God's way of being like, "Oh, we’re going to get you grounded. We're going to get you all set up through here." So, now I own a home, I have a child, I own a shala, and life is way different, but I really cherish the times that I got to come. Like 2006, I got to spend so much time in Mysore at the shala, really got to see Guruji teaching and practicing with him and with Sharath and Saraswathi, all of them were always in the room helping and assisting. You really got to spend time talking with your teachers here then. It was a really special, special experience.
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Krista Shirley is a dedicated student and practitioner of traditional Ashtanga yoga. She was introduced to this practice in 2003 and immediately embraced it as a daily part of her life because she was magnetically drawn to the healing this practice provides. For the last twelve years Krista has rolled her mat out each day because it is such an intrinsic part of who she is. Ashtanga Yoga has given Krista health and wellness, comfort, stability, peace, mindfulness and an outlet to work on herself and help others.
She recently came out with a the first Primary and Intermediate Series Poster by a women.