Jamaica’s Kalisse Kelly says, “5 minutes of yoga is better than no yoga.”

Yoga has been many things for a lot of people. Whether it is a means of coping, a leisure activity, a profession or a hobby, there is no doubt the practice has valuable benefits. Kalisse is a young woman who exudes creativity and her beacon of light has attracted friends far and wide who have become motivated and inspired by her art, in more ways than one. She has taken up yoga as a way to express herself, and since she connects with various art forms, she has found inspiration in her yoga journey.

“I am my inspiration. When I look back on how far I have come, I realize that I am the master of my own destiny and body. I determine what my body does in poses. I decide where my pain level stops and I decide when I can push past it.” – Kalisse Kelly in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.

Kalisse earned her Bachelor’s degree in Food Management at the University of Technology in Jamaica and she utilized that as a foundation to become the Kitchen Manager of a well-known restaurant in Kingston, Jamaica. If she is not expressing herself doing yoga, she is very passionate about cooking, writing poems, practicing Spanish and visiting her love for tennis and painting. Her main challenge is balancing her work life and practicing yoga, as she has to often apply the “five minutes of yoga is better than no yoga” rule to ensure that no matter how busy she gets, she still makes time to do what she loves (even if it’s difficult at times).

“The following week I will ensure that I must do at least five minutes of yoga per day. Then I will ensure to practice a challenging move so I don’t revert to total beginner mode.” – Kalisse Kelly in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.

She desires to associate her name with yoga so she still goes by the name “Jamaican Yogi” on her social media accounts as she wanted recognition as a yogi, and as a Jamaican and as a result, her Instagram page has reflected just that.

“I plan my content months ahead of time. I plan my colours, my captions, and my hashtagsI am currently working on improving my photography style and skill to create really inspiring and beautiful content…. I work very hard for my content and I want the persons that follow me to be impacted and actually love what I do.” – Kalisse Kelly in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.

Her experience thus far is that many Jamaicans have not embraced yoga; they think yoga is either demonic or fetishized.

“Yoga is an ancient art form where we practice the power of breathing and meditation while moving through postures. There are several forms and types of yoga. Yin yoga is holding a posture for 5 to 25 minutes with the addition of a prop; Ashtanga yoga is an active and dynamic type of yoga that creates a lot of heat in the body; vinyasa yoga deals with flow and transition of poses form one to another. So, when we talk about yoga, it is hard to define.” – Kalisse Kelly in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.

Although many of her friends have not caught up to the art of yoga as yet, her current support her twin sister @Zhoesoldana has joined her for three yoga sessions, but her younger sister and her mother are more willing to engage in her practihttps://www.instagram.com/zhoesoldana/ce. So much so that she has done acro and partner yoga with her younger sister; since she is small and eager to learn, they have both developed a bond with each other through yoga.

Kalisse has more of a preference for solo yoga on the premise that she can’t disappoint herself if she were to do partner yoga and they are not at the level, commitment or age as herself. However, she does not negate doing partner yoga and desires to collaborate with anyone who communicates a serious interest in yoga.

“I don’t think I am inspired so easily by people. I am more inspired by what they do! Does that make any sense? Let me give an example. I follow many yogis on Instagram. Some are really popular and some are just regular intermediate yogis and sometimes I find myself more inspired by the “regular yogis”, they are more earnest with their intentions.” – Kalisse Kelly in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.

She has had her personal benefits in practicing yoga, including the relief of her back pain when she had exhausted all other means, as well as, improve her flexibility and tone her muscles.

“The thing is you have to believe in its power. You also have to believe that the power came from within you to heal yourself. Yoga makes me sane so I cannot stress how much quieting your mind and body allows you to be so much calmer.” – Kalisse Kelly in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.

Then, why doesn’t she do yoga professionally or full time you ask? Well, she has a good job and an even greater career that has been progressing over the year which she plans to maximize to the fullest. However, she would love to get certified so that she can start teaching yoga classes.

“We do have JAYA (The Jamaica Yoga Association). There are small initiatives and classes island-wide. My personal goal is to grow my yoga brand and improve my personal practice. I also am currently selling yoga products (mats, blocks, straps, foam rollers, core balls, tights, shorts, attire). I eventually plan to offer beginner classes at very affordable rates.” – Kalisse Kelly in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.

Kalisse wants to master performing splits even though it isn’t a yoga pose, it is something on her list to do and she finds beneficial to having leg flexibility. She adds that having tight hips and hamstrings are definite drawbacks as she finds ‘down dogs’ and ‘forward folds’ difficult consequently. Any pose that requires upper body strength is an issue for her, especially the free handstand poses. However, the “headstand baby” is a pose that she has worked on a lot and seen the most flawless progress.

“Mastering is an overstatement. [The headstand baby] is a pose I have become comfortable in doing and experimenting with. Other poses that I have become comfortable with include puppy pose, cow legs, pigeon, side plank to name a few. Basics are important.” – Kalisse Kelly in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.

Her advice for persons wanting to start yoga is to simply start slow, practice breathing, do poses that are comfortable and don’t push your body to do things. She also recommends making use of Youtube (it’s basically how she learned) especially, with yoga professionals like @_atum.

Her aim is to become a master yogi in time as it has motivated her to move forward in more ways than one. She has been able to follow her progression over the past year and she plans to commemorate this with yoga challenges and a possible giveaway in the future. Her amazing feats can be followed on her Instagram page @kalissekelly where she shares her yoga tips, tutorials, and her overall yoga journey. Follow Kelisse on Facebook

“I know with consistent practice I will be doing yoga till I am 90. I will do a headstand, go to savasana and die peacefully. I never plan to stop.” – Kalisse Kelly in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.

By Alexandra Daley

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