1. What part of your journey led you to become a yoga teacher?
Yoga has always been a big part of my life since I was 15, but I never thought of it as a potential career. I studied performing arts and completed a triple major in college, including dance, theatre and singing. After graduating I was hired in a role in New York City which is the dream of many, but after just one week of rehearsals I realized right away my calling was in the yoga community. Encouraged by my yoga mentor in New York, I quit the cast and never looked back; others were telling me to follow my dream and be a great performer, but I knew that I could not “perform life.” I wanted to truly live life, with true authenticity. As a yoga teacher, I needed to try and fail and just share my life. I figured we are all going to grow together. I truly needed to be myself and help others, so the other expectations in my life I had to let go of.
My approach to helping students has always been “Come as you are!” I think it’s important for yoga teachers to be vulnerable and radically honest about their journey. So here I am 17 years later and this is what I am doing, travelling the globe with different festivals like Wanderlust for the past few years while sharing my passion and what I learn along the way.
2. How do you prepare to lead these large-scale event classes? Do you create a vision and set intentions for each?
Yes, I prepare ahead of time; each class is totally different, and ends up being more of a river than a swimming pool, in the sense that we will just flow to meet everyone’s needs and adapt to the level they are at that day. At the beginning of the season, I will prepare all new classes and I always overdo it. Let’s say it’s a 90-minute class, I have probably over three hours of class prepared (giggles) – and then there are lots of variations and progressions. If people who show up are level 1 then we just adapt; yoga is wonderful in that way — I tell them we are going to travel together.
3. You lead the Flow With Intention 10-Day Yoga Challenge on Wanderlust TV online. Each day you encouraged students to grab a journal and just write. Is that a big part of your own routine?
Yes, we asked everyone to just free write for two minutes at the beginning of each yoga segment. It is something I personally do, even in the car when travelling with Mike (her fiancé, often featured in acro-yoga photos); we will set a few minutes aside where each person takes turns and talks about their goals and dreams, while the other actively listens. The time goes by really fast! Instead of just scrolling social media for those minutes, focus on journaling your goals.
4. Speaking of social media, you have such a huge following! How do you handle the responsibility to positively inspire, with body confidence or body image issues facing so many today?
I know my followers on social media, I speak with them regularly and I try to answer every single question I get about this topic in private on Instagram. When young girls tell me “oh I just want to be super skinny, etc.,” I’ll actually video them back and we’ll go deeper and try to pull the curtain back on the root of that desire. I tell them not to compare their bodies to other women’s – but above all my message would be this: “What if? What if we raised just ONE generation of women to believe that they have permission to live big, dream big, back to nature with a wilder sense of self, to ask themselves – What IF this body I have right now is just right? No more playing small.” I will share my own journey too. I had to look in the mirror and just let go of expectations.
Go play big with your life!
(Amen to that.)
5. Where do you feel most at home?
I now call Boulder, Colorado my home. We chose this town because it offers everything we love: a great community, hiking, cross-country skiing in the winter. And the fact that Boulder is so dog friendly was a huge factor to put down roots here! Our dog, Lozen, goes everywhere with me, even to yoga retreats. Nature is where I feel most at home, and beach and trail clean ups are at the heart of my teachings too.
Find Chelsey at Wanderlust Tremblant, Qc Canada: August 23-26 2018!
Check out Chelsey Korus programs at www.chelseykorus.com.
And Wanderlust Festivals, next up travelling to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec! www.wanderlust.com/festivals/
Photos courtesy of Chelsey Korus’ team.