Elyse Kaye lives in San Francisco but am originally from the Midwest. Elyse teaches yoga, pilates, sculpt, meditation and a variety of other forms. .
How long have you been practicing yoga?
25 plus years
How did you get started?
I truly believe that yoga in many ways found me when I have needed it most in my life. My mom and I went to a retreat in Rancho La Puerta in Tecate Mexico. It was a time where things were a bit shaky and unsure in my life. I had taken a few yoga classes at centers around Chicago before but this was the first time I truly was moved and immersed in the different elements. Throughout the week intensive, different teachers explored unique methodology. Certain cues resonated with me. Even today, I bring those into my classes. Throughout the years, it would come back into my life is differing manifestos. An injury from running taught me about alignment. A failed relationship and career switch, yoga brought me community and taught me about letting go of fear. Watching my body evolve taught me that I can push myself into new directions. Yoga teacher training gave me the tools and the voice to shre this with others. When someone says to me "I do not do yoga because I am not flexible," I challenge them to one week of yoga every day. The results are often surprising.
What type of yoga do you teach? (Please Explain).
I teach a wide variety of formats from Baptiste and I fell in love with combining different formats. I got trained in sculpt and that was transformational. Restorative yoga has also been a gift that came into my life as a teacher.
Who was your great mentor/teacher?
I have had so many incredible teachers and mentors. Chadd Schaeffer of Body Temp Yoga took a chance on me and gave me my first teaching opportunity. I had never intended to teach and certainly not as a full time gig. From there, I built an incredible community. Doors began to open so that I now have a thriving business.
What do you prefer/enjoy about this particular form of yoga? Do you feel anyone can enjoy and gain from yoga?
For me, form, alignment and breath are the most important thing I can offer. I went through teacher training because I could not do a proper chataranga. An instructor said something one day about hand alignment and "puffing up shoulder blades while tucking your tailbone" and something just clicked for me. If I can offer that to my students, I feel like the most successful person in the world.
What has yoga done for you as person?
Everything!! I CRAVE IT EVERY DAY. It calms my nerves, teaches me how to deal with stressful situations and all of that is before the physical benefits. Yoga is the only thing that has sculpted my muscles. I never knew my body would be able to do certain poses. Now when I am able to help a student master something that they are struggling with, we feel a joint sense of accomplishment even after all of these years.
Do you feel yoga is more mental or physical?
I know it sounds cliche but it is truly is the combination of both. the mental gets you through the physical. The mental stays with you throughout the days. The physical is the cherry on top.
Do you believe it is an alternative form of healing and medicine?
Without a doubt. I have witnessed it for myself and countless others.
Do you associate yoga with Hinduism? If yes, in what ways?
I think the beautiful thing is that we all take so much out of our daily practices. I bring into my personal practice mantras but I do not bring that into my teaching. Religion is very personal so while there are deep roots, it is not what I get out of the practice.
Is yoga a way of life or a way to exercise or meditate?
It is a way of life. It is the combination of mind, breath, and soul that feeds strength. At times, one may be more prevalent.
What is your dharma, your life mission?
To empower women and men of all shapes, sizes and stages of life to feel good while moving.
Where can our readers find you? (Instagram, Website, etc)
When and where do you currently teach?
All over San Francisco at Body Temp Yoga, Crunch Fitness and a handful of other locations