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Nike Global Yoga Ambassador Leah Kim returns to teach at KX

Leah Kim, the Global Yoga Ambassador for Nike, has just returned from a whirlwind three month promotional tour for their new ‘Move More. Move Better’ campaign in which she stars – Congratulations Leah! – and we are delighted to announce that she is now back at KX every Wednesday evening (6:30-7:30 – KX Yoga) and Friday morning (10-11 – Dynamic Yoga) teaching her expert classes and we sat down with her this morning for a quick chat.

Hi Leah, it’s great to have you back at KX.

I love being at KX, I’ve been teaching here for about two years now, it was one of the first places I started teaching at when I moved to England, and yeah everyone here has just been consistently awesome, Gideon’s awesome, James and everyone else – so it’s cool.

Congratulations on the new ‘Move More. Move Better Campaign’ can you tell us a bit more about it?

Thanks. The campaign mainly revolves around the new fall/winter collection and I’ve been working with Nike for five years now and they always want to add value to the products and what they put out there – so they always do a big campaign and the focus of this campaign really, and everything I have done with Nike, is to find ways to inspire and motivate people to get them to move more.

So it’s all about encouraging people to lead a healthier lifestyle, get fit and get moving?

Yeah. I’ve actually just been in the states at the Nike HQ in Portland – which they call the ‘campus’ – and there are these crazy stats I heard over there, for example that this current generation of children is meant to die younger than their parents generation for the first time in modern history. Kids nowadays are so unhealthy, their not moving, always on their computers and video games and, I don’t know the details, but Nike will actually be working with Michelle Obama in the future as she’s all about getting kids to be healthy and exercise more.

Wow, those are some shocking statistics! So besides this new campaign, what else do you do in your role as Nike Global Yoga Ambassador?

I travel a lot! I am the only person representing yoga globally so in the past three months I’ve been to Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Rome, Stockholm, LA, New York, Chicago, Portland and the South of France! I understand the Nike brand and of course I understand yoga so my role is to bring what I know about yoga to the brand in a way that makes sense and fits with the brand. Nike and yoga don’t necessarily obviously go together – like if you say ‘yoga and vegan restaurant’ there is an obvious connection and Nike is very sports-riven and mainstream – but they are the experts on moving and fitness and Yoga is a big part of that.

So you’re back at KX now (yay!) what are the classes you’ll be teaching?

So I teach two classes at KX on a Wednesday evening and a Friday morning. Both classes are pretty similar, the KX yoga is on a Friday evening when people may be kinda tired and have a bit less energy so it is a bit more relaxed and then the dynamic yoga at 10am is more high energy. My classes at KX are super flexible though and I’ve never actually had a non high-energy group at KX! My classes here are really friendly with lots of chatting and good vibes and it’s really fun.

What level are your KX classes aimed at?

A lot of classes are labeled specifically as ‘beginner’ or ‘advanced’ level associated but most classes fall somewhere in between and for me personally I work on all levels and here at KX they keep the classes so small so it’s very easy to control a smaller group, and I always make sure to pay extra attention to anyone who needs extra help.

So a total Yoga beginner can attend one of your classes?

Definitely! If you’re just starting out you just need to be ok with the fact you might be a little bit confused to start with but if you’re looking to get into Yoga my advice is to just find a class that fits your schedule and start going! Then you’ll just figure it out.

What are the benefits of Yoga?

What is really unique about Yoga is that it is all about connection between mind and body. People say to me ‘Is it just like breathing? Is it just mediation, do you just sit there and stretch?’ and some classes may be more still and not quite as dynamic or high energy, but the thing that is consistent through all types of Yoga is that mind and body connection. We all know that we have a body and we have a mind, but usually they are so disconnected and people don’t know how to bring it all onto the same page, so yoga teaches you do to that

What is your favourite aspect of practicing and teaching Yoga?

My favourite aspect of it is that you feel more chilled out and more peaceful. Not always like ‘everything is peachy and always happy’ it’s deeper than that – you just feel a sense of peacefulness. You still feel angry and frustrated at times, but it’s the way that you can then deal with normal human emotion and life experiences that changes – you can do it from a more connected place. Things are gonna happen; you cant map out the rest of your life and never be sad again, but you end up with control over your emotions and they don’t consume you. It’s crazy that you can go into a gym, roll out a mat, move and sweat and then all these benefits come from it – but they do!

What are you up to for the rest of the year?

I’m off to LA to shoot some new videos for the Nike app and also I am off to Singapore – I go every four months – for a teacher-training course which is for people looking to gain their first Yoga teaching certificate. You need 200 hours training to gain the teaching certificate so the course I run lasts three weeks and involves 12 hour days with only like two days off! I do try to keep a good work/life balance to avoid ‘yoga-teacher-burnout’ and although I teach and practice on my own 6 days a week and I make sure to spend one day doing absolutely nothing yoga related! I’m also going to New York with my husband for the Christmas Holidays, which is really exciting.

What are your current goals?

I’m aiming to move away from doing so many classes all over London and to focus more on workshops and events. I put out a very specific Yoga e-book last year but it has always been my dream to write ‘book books’. So books about Yoga, but not in a really specific or obvious, technical way. I really recommend Jessica Albas’ book ‘The Honest Life’ as it contains great healthy recipes, tips and info on products that contain toxins so I’m really inspired by her book; it’s a lifestyle book with a very specific view but it has a wide appeal. My New Years resolution was to do that but there’s no time! So my new-new years resolution is to clear space to get the time do that.

Yoga, Interview

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