I began practicing Bikram method yoga in Pasadena CA in 1998. During a very transient time in my life, where nothing felt cohesive, the yoga was my anchor. It made sense to my body, which at 24 had been through some rough times for such a young age. After several years of dedicated practice I transformed my health and well being. I graduated from Bikram’s yoga teacher training in the spring of 2001 and have been teaching ever since. I taught throughout Vermont until July of 2002, at which point I opened my own studio in Portland. My decision to open a studio stemmed from the increasing compassion I felt for those who suffered with health issues. I chose Maine because I was homegrown here, and have a fierce passion for my roots! My other fierce passion is for teaching this yoga. Yoga is like life. It is dynamic and evolving. I continue to learn and evolve though my practice. I furthered my studies of Hatha Yoga by training with Tony Sanchez throughout 2013. This included completing a comprehensive anatomy course directed by Leslie Kaminoff, author of “Yoga Anatomy.”
I teach the therapeutic benefits that stem from proper alignment, intentional breathing and acceptance. Asana practice requires patience so that correct technique and alignment is developed before range of motion. It is important to me that students are safe and able to sustain their practice in a nurturing and fulfilling manner throughout their lives. To that end I emphasize developing and maintaining core integrity and muscular strength in each posture. This allows the student to safely develop range of motion without overstretching or collapsing into their joints and ligaments. Breathing is a bridge between the mind and the body; Intentional breathing promotes awareness and control over both. This mindfulness is a form of moving meditation that enhances the student’s awareness of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. This is enhanced with the use of a mirror so that we are forced to recognize ourselves as we are.
Ultimately this leads to a choice: accept or deny. Those that deny, give up. Those that accept begin the healing and transformational journey of a yoga practice. As we learn to accept ourselves as we are we open ourselves to compassion, to love, to understanding and forgiveness. This is a huge stress relief. Stress is a precursor of many illnesses. Personally, I have suffered from anxiety issues most of my life and I know the damage that stress can do. I experienced severe post partum onset anxiety and depression after my first baby. I struggled for 4 years to overcome this and once again, my Yoga became my anchor. The hot room somehow allows me to crack open my shell of anxiety and become a conduit for transformation both in my practice as well as my teaching. I see reflected in my students the physical, emotional, or mental pain that I and so many others have gone through, and I respond from a place of empathy. I know how powerfully this Yoga can change lives; I have witnessed it for 16 years. It is the greatest gift that I can give to my community. Reciprocally, to share the healing power of yoga and to see the joy and transformation of my students is the greatest gift I can receive.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples” Mother Teresa
I graduated Bikram’s Teacher Training in November 2002. I have taught at Maine Hatha Yoga since then. My teaching style evolves over the years. Recently I am emphasizing the benefits of conscious breathing. I use many metaphors that dance around the relationship between Ha, the Sun energies, and Tha, the Moon energies. I find that the dance of Ha and Tha is the dance of life. This original duality has many mirrors that can be used to gain insight into the wholeness of ourselves and our context within life. The dynamics of structure (Tha) and energy (Ha) are particularly relevant to the Hatha practice. Understanding and bearing witness to these personal and dynamic relationships within and throughout ourselves is a path that unleashes the potential of our practice. I teach with the intention to facilitate understanding rather than stressing exertion or effort.
The first time I took a Bikram-method hot yoga class was in 2003, and shortly afterwards I knew that it was going to be part of my life from that moment forward. Less than a year later in January 2004, I attended the teacher training in Los Angeles and have been teaching this method of yoga ever since. While teaching Bikram I also became very interested in the positive effects of Yin yoga, and have also now been a Yin instructor for the past couple of years.
I have taught the Bikram method both in the USA — Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and California — and also in Great Britain.
I have never had a typical yoga physique — whatever that really is anyway! My knees are not great; my hips and hamstrings will always be somewhat tight. This has taught me perhaps the most fundamental lesson about yoga — ACCEPTANCE. It’s NOT about forcing yourself to bend in impossible ways and then becoming frustrated, or worse injuring yourself. Rather, its about finding the level and depth of a posture that works for your body at any given moment in time, which varies from day-to-day and year-to-year. Challenge yourself but don’t force yourself is one of my primary mantras.
The Bikram method has always provided me with just the right ingredients — in terms of the postures, their sequencing, and the balance between active work (yang) and more passive work (yin). Our lives need both active and passive in order for us to remain both physically and mentally healthy, but often we are only taught to focus on the active. By allowing time for the passive as well, we become happier, more productive, more creative and more in touch with the beauty that surrounds us. And for the times when we need more yin energy, then there is Yin yoga as well.
I lead class with a strong focus on the details of alignment and breath, as well as how we carry ourselves through the process. With attention to these aspects, the benefits of yoga are amplified. I first found yoga at my gym in 2004, after one class I was hooked. At first I was excited about the movement, and the aesthetic benefit my body received. Within a few months I realized many deeper meanings my yoga practice offered. It is my exercise, my therapy, and a major support in all aspects of my life. I began teaching in 2007, and, honestly, I benefit as much from leading class as I do in my own practice. I have a background in dance, as well as art. These elements are a strong influence in my style of leading class. I strive to give support, guidance, and clear instruction to each person that has the courage to take on this challenging work.
After many years of sitting meditation, Kelly was drawn to yoga in her 20’s as a form of moving meditation. Falling in love with the lucidity she felt on the mat, she enrolled at the Nataraja School of Yoga and recieved her 200 hour certification in 2011. Training in Iyengar gave her an appreciation for precise language and taught her the import of an alignment specific practice.
She combines those principles with vinyasa and hatha styles and a healthy dose of pranayama. She brings to class her love of and anatomy and her deep fascination with the subtle, mystical and energetic aspects of the human experience.
Kelly is certified in advanced polarity and craniosacral therapies, a conscious channel, holistic nutritionist, reiki master teacher and licensed massage therapist. She has been practicing professionally since 2001 and has true passion for helping her students and clients find their access point into the higher infinite nature.
Kelly is an avid runner, beekeeper and backyard herbalist. When she is not in her office or the studio, you can find her out on Portland’s beautiful trails or tending her hives and perennial flower beds. Every year she escapes the long Maine winters when to paddle board in the warm Hawaii waters and enjoy a practice with sand in her toes.
Yoga has been an incredibly healing practice in my life that has allowed me to understand more about my physical body and given me insights into my thoughts and behaviors as well. This practice has opened up a new level of awareness as I strive to continue to make a positive impact on the world around me. My classes have a meditative focus, allowing students to start to bring that awareness into their yoga practice and their lives. We are all at different stages of our journey but practicing as a community can give us additional energy to keep moving forward.
My first Bikram class was in Burlington, VT in 2004 and I was hooked from day one. The challenge of the practice and the warmth of the room brought me back again and again to continue opening up and exploring my physical and mental edges. Upon returning to Maine after 20 years in Vermont, I studied with Michael and Angela at Maine Hatha Yoga to be able to teach the practice that has been so healing for me as a student. I look forward to sharing the practice with you.
Outside of the yoga studio, I teach people about mindfulness, music and energetic healing to assist them in letting go of stress to more fully enjoy life. For more information about me, please visit www.jeffarbor.com.
I started practicing yoga a few months after turning 21. The year before held a lot of changes for me. I left college with an incomplete degree, my mind was anxious and my body felt worn out.
The move from school sparked a shift in how I saw my life. Up until then it felt as if life was just pushing me along. I began to wonder how I could take more responsibility in my own life. I started to notice that although it seemed I was being pushed along, I was the one taking the steps. I put myself where I wound up. Somewhere in there I stumbled upon a mediation video and began to read and practice any type I could find. As I was experimenting with my mind and thoughts, I began experimenting with exercise and diets. That’s when some co-workers suggested I try yoga.
I started at a small gym in Yamrouth, Maine. That would lead me to Portland Power Yoga (while it was a Baptiste Affiliate studio). Practicing a few days a week became 5 or 6. Peers and teachers encouraged me to think about teacher training. My first training was in 2014 when I completed the Baptiste Level 1 program. Around that same time I discovered Naropa University when reading a book by Ken Wilber. Naropa is a somewhat unusual school founded on Buddhist principals. I applied and was accepted to Naropa’s Yoga Studies and Teacher Training bachelors’ program. That fall I drove out to Colorado to begin.
Naropa was incredible. I had only been exposed to modern postural yoga and vaguely or indirectly to the canon of the yoga tradition. While at school I studied eastern history, philosophy, music, Sanskrit, mediation, and plenty that just that can’t be said in words. I spent 2014-2018 completing my degree at Naropa. During this time I also completed the Baptiste levels’ 2 and 3 programs along with Art of Assisting and Art of True North Alignment. I left Naropa with my Bachelors, a 1000/hour yoga teaching certification and, around 350 hours of Baptiste training.
I’ve recently moved back to Maine and teach at a variety of studios. My classes are inspired by the Baptiste methodology. The practice emphasizes building strength, developing mobility, and practicing deep relaxation.