With lockdown contributing to deteriorating mental health in many ways, one Lower Mainlander decided to take matters into her own hands, and onto her yoga mat. Kelsey Carignan founded Vibrant Yogi to provide not just at-home practice options, but also a connected online community founded on kindness and support at a time when we haven’t been able to do this in person. We chatted with Kelsey about her extraordinary mission, and her top pandemic-friendly yoga poses! —Vita Daily
Hi Kelsey! When, how and why did your personal yoga journey begin?
I started doing yoga to relieve stress when I was in university. I eventually did my yoga teacher training and taught as a side hustle for years! In October 2018 I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and I took my personal practice to the next level to help keep my head in the fight. It has been a daily ritual in my life ever since then!
How did the launch of Vibrant Yogi come about?
In March 2020, shortly after I went into remission, the world shut down due to COVID-19. I could see people struggling with their physical and mental health so I began teaching free online yoga every morning at 10 a.m. We had over 500 people join our community as we moved for 60 consecutive days! When the world started opening up, I was going to close down—BUT my inbox became flooded with people wanting to continue as my classes provided them with a sense of normalcy at a time when there was none. That is where Vibrant Yogi was born.
Why is yoga so beneficial, all the time, and particularly now?
Yoga can have a tremendous effect on a person’s mental health and wellness. Physically, it’s great to get the body moving and the endorphins pumping. For me, the magic really happens on the inside. By taking 30 minutes for ourselves, we allow our bodies to slide from the fight or flight state that so many of us live in all the time, into our rest and repair state. We create these unconscious responses within our bodies when we sit down, pause and breathe … so that when things get really chaotic in our lives (like right now), we have this incredible tool that we can turn to that helps bring us back to ourselves.
What do you offer clients through Vibrant Yogi, in terms of fitness and beyond?
Vibrant Yogi is a complete self-care hub offering live and interactive yoga, meditation and breathwork taught by me, Kelsey Carignan. We have close to 200 on demand class replays for our members who aren’t able to attend the live classes. In addition to these, we offer regular workshops with incredible guest speakers discussing the latest self-care topics as well as exclusive access to our supportive Facebook community providing more human connection. Our Get One Give One program in partnership with Rethink Breast Cancer is our charitable arm, which gifts a free month of our ALL ACCESS membership to a woman going through breast cancer for every month of ALL ACCESS purchased. Put simply, we are a community focused on connection, kindness and self-care.
Please share five yoga poses to implement into our everyday lives at a time when we’re all working from home and not moving as much as usual.
- Seated Forward Fold: this can help take some pressure out of the lower back while helping to calm the mind!
- Happy Baby: great to help open up the hips after long hours sitting in front of a computer (or Netflix; let’s get real here!).
- Low Lunge: sitting can cause our hip flexors to tighten. This stretch will help open the fronts of our hips and our quads!
- Wide Leg Forward Fold: any time we get the head below the heart it has HUGE benefits for our bodies! It can help clear the mind while improving circulation in the body!
- Savasana (Corpse Pose): this is my fave! Taking even two minutes in this pose each day will help centre the body and quiet the mind so you can hit your day running when you’re ready. It’s all about slowing down to speed up!
Win! A $490 One-Year Vibrant Yogi Membership!
Congrats Bridget M. of New Westminster, B.C., who will receive a $490 one-year Vibrant Yogi membership! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.