Funkoos recently got the chance to interview Kelly Neylan. She is a nationally registered Hatha yoga instructor, Reiki Master, energy healer and sound healer. Kelly is the founder of Lasting Light Yoga and Lasting Light Reiki. She is the author of the upcoming book: “Little Bodies Big Souls: How stories from yoga and children will change your life.” She holds a Yoga Alliance 200 hr. Hatha Yoga Teacher Certification, Yoga Alliance Pre-Natal Yoga Teacher Certification, and Yoga Alliance Children Yoga Teacher Certification. Some of the yoga classes Kelly teaches include pre-natal, children, gentle, and adult yoga. Her greatest achievement to date is her two budding little yogis who always allow her to be young at heart. She currently resides in Columbia, Maryland. We were so excited to learn more about her experiences in the world of yoga!

What is your book: Little Bodies Big Souls about?

Kelly: Little Bodies Big Souls is about positive parenting. It’s a practical book about how people have taken their experiences off the yoga mat and into real life. I feel that there are lots of terrific books out there about how to do yoga with children but not many showing “real people” how to walk the walk. I feel that this book will give all parents some ideas of what they can do with their own family as well as provide some inspiring examples to uplift them. We are still searching for a few more good stories to include in the book if you have one please send it.

What benefits to do kids receive from practicing yoga?

Kelly: There are so many physical and mental benefits that children receive from doing yoga. First off I see in my practice that even very young children are extremely inflexible because they sit almost all day, first at school and then in front of a TV or screen. This inflexibility leads to back problems, pain, and makes them prone to injuries. Mentally, yoga teaches kids a way to deal with their feelings in a positive manner through meditation.

What’s the best age to start yoga classes?

Kelly: It really depends on the type of experience you’re looking for and what you want your children to get out of it. There are classes that start after birth to give mothers and babies bonding time together, and then there are toddler classes that start with basic postures and fun yogic themed activities. There are also family yoga classes where the entire family participates together. I’ve taught all of these classes and each one is unique. It’s important that the class is tailored to the age of the child.

How can yoga help with birth preparation?

Kelly: I could probably write an entire book on this topic! Yoga is so helpful for pregnancy. A pre-natal yoga class can be an invaluable source of support for a pregnant mother. It provides physical exercise and stretching which help to alleviate some of the physical discomforts of pregnancy. It also reduces stress. The yoga postures help to prepare your body for the various positions that you may want to hold while giving birth. It can be a safe environment to ask questions that expectant mothers are afraid to ask and a chance to bond with other women. I’m still friends with people from my very first pre-natal yoga class that I was in over a decade ago.

How can moms use yoga and meditation to reduce stress?

Kelly: Being a mom, especially a new mom, can be extremely stressful. I know many moms think “I don’t even have time to get the essentials done, how can I meditate?” I used to do meditation while breastfeeding my baby; it was bonding and calming. I would meditate on love while I was feeding my children; it helped to reduce stress and any negative feelings that came up when taking care of a challenging baby. For those of you with older children I recommend doing a simple meditation before you get out of bed and before you go to sleep at night. It starts and ends the day on the right note. Don’t put pressure on yourself that you have to meditate or do yoga for so long or it doesn’t count. Just try to keep the practice in your life to whatever extent you can comfortably fit in so that you don’t lose it all together.

What is your favorite yoga position?

Kelly: That’s a hard question! It’s like asking to pick your favorite child. I think my favorite is actually not a position but the exhale or pause you take in the movements. It teaches you to surrender to the present moment. I think that’s something that many of us hard working moms need to do more of in our lives. We are always so driven to do the best for our families and careers that we forget to “pause” in life.

Learn more about Kelly at http://www.lastinglightyoga.com/ and http://www.lastinglightreiki.com/