As we head into month TWO of this crazy year called 2018, the ODDFam is so pleased to bring another teacher feature to the blog. In light (*wink wink*) of her upcoming prenatal partner workshop, we're spending some time getting to know Mrs. Ritley aka The Yogi Doula.
Don't worry, for those of you who read this interview and think, "Oh my goodness, this woman is so wonderful, I would love to take class with her but I'm not having a baby in the foreseeable future," don't fret. Outside of PRENATAL, you can soak up Kim's yogic offerings in CHILL and FLOW in Silverlake.
Name: Kim (Neer) Ritley
Nick Name: Kimmy, Kimmie, Womps
Hometown: Bainbridge, OH
Favorite Place: national parks and gardens, or any place with a lot of trees
Favorite color: blue and green
What’s your sign? Aries
Most embarrassing moment? I think I just forget them right away, because I have never been able to answer this question.
Most empowering moment? Once I climbed to the top of a really steep snow covered volcano in Chile. I had to wear crampons and I was really bad at it (like the weakest link in the group for sure) and I wanted to quit so many times, and really didn't believe I would make it I'm pretty sure the leader of the group I was in didn't think I would make it (at one point he literally tied me to his waist). But after 5 hours of one step at a time I got to the top and the view was incredible and it felt so good to do something that I didn't actually believe I could do. Sometimes I feel weak but when I remember that I climbed to the top of a volcano I feel kind of badass.
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I never burp, it seems to be physically impossible for me.
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I'm really good at untangling knots.
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? Once I volunteered for 2 months at an orphanage in Peru and got really good at changing cloth diaper with pins. And I got good at riding in buses that I was too tall to stand up straight in, so I mastered the perfect amount of hunch. I am tall in Peru.
Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Once I was in the middle of Wisconsin driving to a friend's wedding with a few other friends, and during a break at a rest stop I did a handstand against a tree because it felt good. While I was upside down, I heard a woman, utterly perplexed ask one of my friends "What is she doing???" and he said "Who knows, she's from California." And that answer seemed to satisfy her.
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? Working with pregnant and birthing women and new moms. Petting a dog. Or getting a spur of the moment tattoo.
How do you define yoga? Connecting mind and body to the present moment.
Why do you teach? I process and understand so much about myself, my habits, and my experience on my mat. Yoga has helped me cope with the innate challenges of being a life. And it helps me feel better in this body I'm living in. I teach to share that with others. To teach body awareness. To help others feel good in their bodies and in the present moment. And mostly just to share this tool that has been useful to me time and time again for many years.
What brought you to become an instructor? In my mid-twenties I spent a year traveling around South America, and that year I was constantly shifting and meeting new people. Sometimes I would feel very lonely and restless and unsure of who I was, having to reintroduce myself all the time. I started do a little bit of yoga every day, and then it became habit. At the same time, my mom was going through challenging health issues and I sent her a yoga book. She started getting into it and immediately began down a road of healing. At some point during the year, I got the idea in my head that I should be a yoga teacher. And sometimes when I get an idea, I follow through.
What is your favorite song to play in class? For some reason I like playing covers of Drake songs. There are a lot of good ones out there.
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? I love hamstring stretches the most, specifically down dog, uttanasana or any standing forward fold really, and supine hamstring stretches with a strap. I just always feel better after stretching my legs, and I get a good release in my back. It's a simple restart for me.
Memorable yoga moment? When I was a new teacher I volunteer taught a class at a shelter for survivors of domestic violence and one day I taught supported bridge with a block and as soon as the block was in place, one of the women basically shouted with joy and pleasure, freaking out about how that was the best she had ever felt in her body in years and it was a really big deal because she was not only a survivor of physical and emotional abuse but also an addict and this one simple body shape made her feel incredible and it brought tears to my eyes. I realized yoga can be so powerful in so many different ways, sometimes in the simplest ways.
How did you first hear about One Down Dog? I actually first heard about ODD before it existed, because I worked the desk at Yoga Blend, the studio Jessica did her 300 hour teacher training at, and I heard her talking about it a lot during their breaks (this makes me seems like a stalker because we did not know each other then). Then I heard about it again because my friend Sam was friends with Caitlin who was working the desk and he told me about it for a reason I now forget. Then again when Jess got pregnant and wanted a prenatal teacher and my friend Courtney told me to show up to one of Jess' classes and tell her I was a prenatal teacher and Courtney's friend. And now here we are.
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? I love using blocks in my classes and in my practice. They can just be useful in so many ways, and for me can often deepen an experience.
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? (We will want to be more non-profits and would love to do so on your behalf) I am one of the directors of the LA Doula Project, we provide free birth doulas and abortion and fetal loss support to families in LA. We also have a teen mom program.
Would you more likely tell your boss they had food in their teeth or let it slide? Let it slide. For some reason I hate when people point out that I have something in my teeth, it actually makes me feel kind of angry.
Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings? @theyogidoula
(And don't forget about her Prenatal Partner Workshop happening this Saturday February 10th!
Anything else? (feel free to add literally anything!) My current dream for my future family is to have a small dog, a big dog, a hairless cat, chickens, maybe a goat or two, and two human children. And to be living in Oregon, specifically Eugene. My husband is totally on board.
And now for the Quickfire Challenge!
If you could have any super power what would it be? Teleport
What was the last book you read? The Red Tent
Do you dream? Lucid dream? I wish, I usually forget my dreams.
Who or What is your spirit animal? elephants
If YOU were a color what color would you be? turquoise