After years of traveling and living abroad, I feel like I have lived many lives, and they have all lead me to this place right here.
A highly experienced Yoga Teacher, Teacher mentor, and Women's Coach.
I was born and bred in Hamilton, New Zealand where I later graduated from Waikato University with a Social Sciences Degree, majoring in Psychology, supported with papers in Philosophy, Sociology, Anthropology, and Counselling. For as long as I can remember I was interested in people and culture, and had a deep but quiet desire to support people in recognising their potential.
Straight out of University I took a position as a respite care worker. Supporting at risk youth in a respite home, teaching them skills, protecting them, and inspiring them to live a less worrisome and more joy-filled life. I stepped into it naively, was faced with some harsh realities, and stepped away from it with a new level of awareness, new tools, and a desire to do more of that work.
The move to Hong Kong
Quite impulsively, 2 months before my 23rd birthday, I moved to Hong Kong. I will never forget that first night, jet lagged, and sitting up in the wee hours of the morning staring out of perhaps the 17th floor of Chung Ching Mansion in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon side. The flashing neon signs and constant hum of the city was a stark contrast to the sprawling green pastures and dinky little towns in New Zealand. I started out teaching English to people of all ages, and went on to lead the International Service for an NGO, counselling and delivering Drug Education programmes in International and Government funded schools.
During that time I found refuge in a regular yoga practice and classical Indian dancing. It brought internal balance to a rather hectic life. I felt inspired to fuse my love of yoga, experience teaching, and passion for working with people.
In 2007 I took the leap and completed my first 200 hr Teacher Training
in Hong Kong, in the method of Anusara Yoga with Patrick Creelman.
I loved the attention to detail and physical focus of an alignment based
practice. I was employed as a full-time yoga teacher by PURE Yoga,
and initiated by taking the classes that the more experienced teachers
no longer wanted, which meant taking on the dregs of Bikram classes.
I didn't enjoy the sequence or the repetition but I learned a lot.
That repetition, teaching 20 odd classes a week, helped me understand and communicate the intricacies of poses and the practice.
I had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest and most respected yoga teachers around the world. I was trained to teach Baptiste Power Yoga, Yin Yoga, Hot classes, Pre-Natal Yoga, even Acro Yoga. I taught on average 20 classes a week, literally thousands of classes over the four years I taught there.
It turned out that full-time yoga teachers were not immune to burn out. My life wasn't any less hectic as a Yoga Teacher. I was practicing Hot Flow Yoga vigorously and regularly alongside my already very heavy physical teaching schedule, and along side that worked out at the gym daily, either doing spinning, boxing or body pump. Not to mention my social life.
I crashed and burned.
That's when I discovered Ana Forrest and Forrest Yoga. I wasn't attracted to Ana when I first met her years prior but she crossed my path again. This time I was broken, physically and emotionally, and I was ready to make a change. Her teaching spoke to me.
I stepped into the Forrest Yoga Advanced Teacher Training in 2010, which was a huge turning point for me. A huge nudge in the right direction. I became acutely aware of how I had been living a life, burning the candle at both ends. A pattern that had been woven into everything for longer than I could remember.
For the first time since embarking on my Yoga journey I was instructed to breathe and was supported in speaking my truth.
In 2011 I travelled to Houston, Texas to complete the Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training (200 hr) and the year following engaged in a year long mentorship programme with Sinhee Yee in Seoul, Korea to become a fully certified Forrest Yoga Teacher.
It was a process I went into with the intention to become certified but it eventuated in meaning so much more than that. It was an experience that not only shifted the way I taught and communicated, it shifted the way I lived my life.
I moved to London and began teaching in some of the biggest and most reputable Yoga studios in the city, namely Triyoga and Indaba, to spread the magic of Forrest Yoga. I assisted Ana Forrest in workshops and Teacher Trainings around the world, mostly in Europe and taught workshops in Europe too. I laid the foundation for the Forrest Yoga community in London which expanded as I inspired my students to train and teach themselves.
I handed over the reins in 2017 as I stepped into mothering my first daughter, Anna. I had stepped into maternity leave with the intention of taking a year away from teaching but after 6 months I found myself sitting within a circle of women at The Yoga Shed in Hitchin, where I live, leading a yoga and written meditation workshop. Prior to that day, I had whispered to myself that I wanted to work with women.
Fast forward to the birth of my second baby girl Giorgia, 2 weeks into the first lockdown here in the UK, and this is really when motherhood ripped the rug from under my feet. The midwife walked in through our front door just in time to catch Giorgia as she arrived earth side, and walked out just as quickly. Leaving me to heal, look after a new born and manage a very emotional 2 year old who was now at home full time because of the pandemic. She called in on me again once, to check the weight of my baby.
The Turning Point
4 months in and I was struggling in a way I never had done. Full of guilt, anxious, and tired of being tired.
I got up at 5am to put Giorgia back into her cot after a feed and my legs went from underneath me. I crawled out of the room on my hands and knees. My back had relapsed. By morning time I was crouched on the living room floor simultaneously sobbing, pumping milk (that would later be poured into the sink after a heavy dose of painkillers), and talking my husband through the motions of getting Anna off to nursery school. In my physical state I had no choice but to lay on my back for the days following.
Life always has a beautiful, yet sometimes shocking way of slowing the wheels in motion.
I prescribed myself early nights, and focused my attention on activities that fed my spirit. A good friend of mine created an interview series with women talking about their purpose in life. So, every night I tucked myself up in bed to watch an interview and then settled to sleep with a recorded Yoga Nidra session. Over those days, and weeks, I started to feel myself wake up again.
My inner fire began to light up, and that propelled me to sign up for a 3 month coaching programme called Courage to Create with my incredible friend Claudia Whitney. This helped me clarify how I wanted to step back into the world within the early stages of motherhood. I knew I wanted to continue my teaching. I also knew I wanted to further weave my counselling and mentoring experience into my work of supporting and coach women and mothers.
That's where I stepped into further coaching with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz, Author of Mama Rising and Matrescence Activist. A journey that has taken me deeper into understanding my right of passage as a woman and as a mother, redefine my life within these roles, and has helped me forgive myself for the struggles. I feel more fired up than ever to share this work through my teaching experience and strength in holding space for other women and mothers as they move through their own unique journey.
I wasn't able to articulate it at the time, but the passage into motherhood hugely impacted my identity. It felt lonely and hard. It was a constant dance between following my intuition and then being influenced and pulled away from my centre. Without family around for support I was exhausted. I found it difficult really connecting to other mothers that I bumped into through baby groups. Everything I had pinned my identity on I had stepped away from. In some cases I had burnt my bridges. I felt like I had been thrown in to the depths of a forest without a compass.
I began going to a postnatal pilates class locally where I could take Anna with me.
Some days I couldn't get a lot of the exercises in because Anna demanded a feed or a cuddle but it felt so good to connect with my body again, regain some strength in my core, and learn something new. These classes inspired my practice and also my teaching and from there, the way I taught began to evolve. I also began to feel a strength that I hadn't before. I felt more graceful in my movements somehow.
A little more formal
Kristi is a passionate and experienced Yoga Teacher, Teacher Mentor, and Women's Coach. Whether you are working with her in a yoga class, part of a group teacher mentoring programme, or in a private yoga or coaching session, she has the gift of holding space in a grounded, intuitive, authentic and relatable way.
Kristi has been teaching yoga since 2007 in Hong Kong, London, Europe, and now Hitchin, Hertfordshire where she is currently based. Highly experienced, Kristi teaches Private and Group yoga classes, is involved in running movement and breathing sessions for mothers and mothers-to-be, teaches workshops, runs teacher mentoring programmes and offers private coaching sessions for women.
Kristi has lived, travelled, taught and assisted teacher trainings around the world. Her life experience and down to earth nature support her non-judgemental, kind and open minded approach to working with people.
Training Programmes and Qualifications
Accredited Mama Rising Facilitator with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz
Redefine 8 week Coaching programme with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz
Courage to Create 3 month Coaching Programme with Claudia Whitney
Your Core Matters 6 week Pelvic Floor Course with Centred Mum Pilates
Chakra Yoga and Psychotherapy with Anodea Judith
Forrest Yoga 12 month Mentorship Programme with Shinhee Yee
Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training with Ana Forrest/200 Hours
Forrest Yoga Advanced Teacher Training with Ana Forrest/90 Hours
Acro-Yoga Teacher Training with Jason Nemer/40 Hours
Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Sarah Avant Stover/40 Hours
Anusara Seat of the Teacher Training with Patrick Creelman/
Anusara Yoga Teacher Training with Patrick Creelman/200 Hours
Bachelor of Social Sciences, Major Psychology with Waikato University