Facilitator Interview – Kristen Williams
Winston Salem, NC
Who’s the real you?
I’m Kristen, a collection of letters doesn’t seem like the best way to describe me though. I can’t be defined by where the collection of letters sit in the alphabet. I guess that general thought describes me more than anything. I’ve always looked at things differently. I would argue in school that a square had 8 sides, each 4 sides consisting of a linear line with a starting and ending point, so in my world a square would naturally have to have 8 points disguised as 4 sides. This describes me pretty well, always wanting to be different and testing people’s ability to accept different outside of looks or social status, without bias, without judgement. Can you accept the fact that I see the world differently than you? I accept that fact as my eyes are seeing everything from a different angle. What if the sky was white and the ‘clouds’ we see were actually a change in the formation of flat blue with reverse shadows. I’ve always wanted to change prospective, to encourage others to see things from a different viewpoint, not to take ‘what is’ as a final answer. Explore and discover on your own and decide without a shadow of a doubt what is true for you. I’m a rebel in that sense. I’ve been called quirky, and weird and a hippie and I accept all of those things because I live my life authentically me. I tried to fight it a few times, to dress a certain way, how I thought I ‘should’ look. I remember a specific time buying white jeans and white eyeliner because a magazine told me that I would be the most popular in school. You can imagine, while you are viewing the world with 8 sides to a square, that being the popular person in school was not a goal easily achieved. I realized, when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see myself, especially that time I tried to dye my hair blonde. How can I give myself a morning pep talk in the mirror if I don’t recognize who is looking back at me. That person is unnatural, she isn’t me, she is lost. I have always been small in stature, I was a swimmer in middle school and high school and specifically remember being told day after day at swim practice how skinny I was. Then the comments stopped… Clearly I must not be skinny anymore. Insert the attempts to not eat, to exercise more, and to learn how bloated those mashed potatoes that I loved so much must be making me… I wasn’t strong enough to not eat, thankfully.
I see today, how if something isn’t authentic to my soul I can’t stick with it. I was brought up to be true to myself and to know that I am whole and I am enough and that if someone thinks otherwise, then I need to question the truth behind that relationship. With that comes the shadow side, feelings of shame when I hear other peoples stories of resilience, that I haven’t had any major life experiences that have brought me to a breaking point to fully see that I am enough. But I am enough, I just know that, some days I know it more than others, some day I get pulled into the expectations that life throws at you. Especially as a yoga teacher, marketing marketing marketing, make money, make money, make money, wear this, do that etc. Who came up with all these ‘rules’? I stop and remember my why…
How did you become involved with Embody Love Movement?
I became aware of ELM through Off the Mat, Into the World. I was in the Purpose and Action Intensive with Karen Gilmour and started to see all the things she was doing on facebook. The Embody Love Club stood out to me as the event director at the YWCA in my town. I couldn’t get them on board, imagine that, to offer such a program so I stepped back. Two years later, after understanding the dis-empowerment of the YWCA where I worked, the universe would happen to send a Facilitator Training to cross my path at the perfect time. As I was finalizing the curriculum for my 300hr advanced yoga school which is based on service, I saw this a absolute perfect timing! Ironically, I would be in Phoenix the same weekend that the training was offered! I stepped in the door, introverted Kristen, and quickly was able to open my heart and know I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
How do you embody LOVE and contribute to the world?
For me, the embodiment of love is loving me first, and letting that shine out in its most authentic way. I don’t love speaking in front of people or being the center of attention. Through my yoga teacher trainings I strive to allow my students to find their authentic self and to share that with the world. To be the yoga teacher that they want to be, to let their personalities shine, not to ‘should’ on each other, be defined by social media, or by standards of a particular studio or style.
I personally try to do everything with love and care, to look at every situation as if it were a square with 8 sides, what are the other opinions, how can I step back from being reactive to the world and take a viewpoint of all prospectives that I have the eyes to see, how can I learn from others and develop new eyes to see.
Standing up for my authenticity is a key to embodying love within myself. To love my own quirks, to love my own shadows and to always be open to learning from what they have to share.
Why should others join the movement?
Joining this movement will bring you to yourself, it will free you. There is always work to be done and we must not get lazy. We must support each other in doing the work and understanding our own shadows, to not be afraid of them. We must go through the junk, let it burn off and relish on the other side. When you are free from the shoulds of society, you can live authentically you and move through the world with grace and honour. Joining this movement will give you the courage to share yourself with the world in a healthy way. To know your boundaries, know what serves you and what doesn’t. Even more than that, we can start to be true role models for the younger generations who look to us in times of turmoil, whether the world is crumbling or whether it feels like it because you’ve just experienced your first breakup from a significant other, or even from a friendship. We can be so mean and catty, use this movement to make a difference from the heart. Use the Embody Love Movement to free yourself of anyone else’s expectation and live fully. Do the work and show other generations that they too can be free, be love, be enough at any age.
Kristen Williams, ERYT500 & YACEP Kristen began practicing yoga in 2007 and quickly fell in love. By 2011 she had completed 500 hours of study and began traveling the world to share her love of yoga. She is a Continuing Ed Provider for Yoga Alliance, an Ambassador for Off the Mat, Into the World, a Facilitator Trainer for The Embody Love Movement and certified to teach Yoga for the 12 Step Recovery. Kristen is the heart behind K10Yoga and has both a 200 and 300hr Yoga School in Winston Salem. Her approach to life and to teaching is that one must do the work and step into their purpose and passion. When we accept what is in life, we stop fighting and just respond with honour and grace then the universe opens to us. Kristen started K10Yoga CoOp in June of 2017 as a place for new and experienced teachers to teach, and a place for everyone to have access to affordable yoga with all classes being just $10.