Meet Kirsty Van De Geer | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ
Meet ray of sunshine Kirsty van de Geer when she’s teaching her sold-out Myofascial Release workshops, or gentle and resilient flow classes at Sala.
Oct 20, 2022
Meet ray of sunshine Kirsty van de Geer. When she’s not teaching her sold-out Myofascial Release workshops or gentle and resilient flow classes at Sala, she’s hanging out with her family and two cute Griffons.
Hey, who are you? What do you do and where do you live?
I’m Kirsty, a yoga teacher and yoga therapist. I’ve been teaching prescriptive yoga from my home studio for a couple of years whereby I can tailor practice for each individual’s needs. I also offer yin yoga teacher trainings, and grateful to be a part of Sala’s teacher trainings, where I teach anatomy and philosophy. I live in Point Chevalier with my husband, two kids, two Griffon dogs and an ancient cat.
Why and how did movement become such a big part of your life?
Born into an able body, with a natural desire to explore, I started gymnastics at 5 years old and later danced until my early twenties. When I first left school I got a job teaching aerobics in a gym in Wellington, when unitards and leotards were a thing, and then a stint training competitive gymnastics in Singapore. I then spent the next 20 years working in film and tv, with little free time to explore movement passions, so discovering yoga in my thirties felt like a homecoming.
How would you describe your classes?
I hope they convey a sense of warmth and care. There’s a lot of struggle in the outside world, so my classes are framed to support building awareness, resiliency and gentleness that feels kinder and more forgiving than the constructs of western systems we live in.
What drew you to teach at sala?
Sarah is a good friend, so the opportunity to teach in her studio feels like teaching in a friend’s home. Sarah genuinely cares and supports the teachers at Sala, which has a top-down effect. When teachers are valued, so is their craft. It generates a space for growth and creativity that feels sincere and vivacious.
Your favourite thing about the sala community?
The Sala community is vibrant, enthusiastic and curious.
What’s your favourite SALA class?
Thursday morning Yogasana with Sarah. It’s the one group class I get to in my week, and it really feels like a treat to be guided through practice by Sarah’s poetic musings.
What’s your go-to movement to elevate your mood?
Years ago I attended Qi Gong training. It’s an energy practice, not unlike yoga. One of the fundamentals that resonated with me from the practice is shaking. Shaking is one of the ways our nervous system processes fear, stress and other so-called negative emotions. When I’m low, I’ll literally shake for 10 -15 mins. The session might end with some rolling on the floor or meditation, or occasionally a good cry if it’s needed.
What are your pre-class rituals?
I like to connect with students as they enter the studio, to get a sense of what’s going on in their bodies so that I can adapt my sequencing as needed. Once everyone is in, I take a minute to clear space for myself. I have a brief prayer that grounds me in the heart of yoga so that my motivations are uncontaminated by my own ego
From the ashes of hustle culture, self-care is on the rise. Why is self-care so important?
I feel as though self-care gets confused with pampering. Self-care can be simple practices for a connection back to ourselves so that we can more effectively care for others. When we lose connection with ourselves, we often mistakenly start looking outside of ourselves for a fix. Meditation, pranayama, journaling, yoga, and taking a walk, are all great (free), self-care practices to bring ourselves back to the source.
What other practices do you live by that support your mindset and mood?
I couldn't live without a four-part Classical tantra practice, that includes breath work, chanting the chakras and awareness meditation. It’s a practice that literally eats karmas. I think I’d be a hopeless case without this practice that has supported me through a tough couple of years
How do you motivate yourself to get moving when you’re low energy?
If I’m low energy a Yoga Nidra practice is a great way to top up, while building purposeful intention. If I’m tired and don’t have the need to lift my energy, I might drop into a few long-held yin poses. I’m a morning person, so I prefer dynamic practices when my energy is naturally more elevated.
Any movement essentials you can’t live without?
My myofascial release balls. These sound fancy, but the best tools are two tennis balls in a sock. I have sets everywhere, in my handbag, gym bag, a set in my car, and all around the house. If you didn’t know what they were for, you might think I was a bit odd.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
It sounds obvious, but my mum used to tell me just to follow my heart. I have done this most of my life, with a few decisions that were led by my head that didn’t serve me as well.
When you’re not teaching where can we find you?
Nowhere particularly exciting… I’m a homebody, and my home is close to the beach. So I spend my spare time walking our two sweet Griffons, hanging with the kids, entertaining friends and pottering with paints at home.