By Avra Sullivan
Most people go on vacation for a different experience or to lose themselves for a while. Kent Island resident Debra Kelly would probably say it was during a vacation that she found herself. Nine years ago while vacationing with her family Debra took a free yoga class. That class changed the course of her life. “I felt as if I had landed,” she says.
As a runner and weight lifter, Debra was no stranger to exercise and living a healthy lifestyle. She found that yoga had a unique way of “pulling me down to earth.” After that first experience, Debra dove in head first. She immediately found a local instructor and began taking classes. She also began taking certification courses that would allow her to teach the discipline of yoga to others.
Debra is a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda and has trained with many yoga and Ayurveda instructors, each of whom she says left an imprint on her own teaching style. Soon she was giving private lessons at peoples’ homes, and her client base grew quickly. She decided to investigate opening her own studio and turned to the Internet to research commercial listings. As Debra recalls, “Life has a weird way of happening.” The first online listing she viewed was perfectly priced and ideally located. As it turned out, she knew the seller through her husband’s business.
That was nearly four years ago. Since then, Debra’s studio Life Elements Yoga and Ayurveda has grown to offer many levels of classes in yoga and Ayurveda. The studio employs a licensed massage therapist with over 18 years’ experience who offers Ayurvedic Body Treatments massage therapy and deep tissue, myofacial, Swedish and prenatal massages.
Debra says many people have major misconceptions about yoga. “You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga. You will learn to become flexible,” she says. Yoga has countless benefits including stress relief and lowering cortisol levels that can cause stress-related health problems. Yoga also increases strength, muscle elasticity and flexibility. It has been shown to help reduce pain and to help those with limited mobility or who are recovering from illness or injury to increase their mobility and healing.
Ayurveda is an Eastern Science that encourages rebalancing of both the physical and emotional self. Its focus is to promote healthy habits and lifestyle changes including proper nutrition, skin care and emotional and spiritual well-being to bring the whole being back into balance.
“I feel really blessed,” says Debra. “Every time I go to work, I love it.” This month, Life Elements will host a four-day Yoga and Ayurveda retreat at a private estate in Oxford. The retreat will include classes in yoga, meditation and breathing as well as classes on how to prepare healthy meals. Ayurvedic body treatments and Ayurvedic lifestyle classes also will be available. Debra is excited to offer this retreat and hopes to offer more in the future.
For more information on Life Elements you can visit their website at www.lifeelementsyoga.com or call Debra at the studio at 410-991-0578. The studio is located at 109 Market Court in Stevensville.