31 January, 20171-Year YTT Anniversary
Today, I'm celebrating my 1-YEAR since completing my yoga teacher training!! To date, I've taught a total of 516 yoga & fitness classes across 6 different studios, with 5 of those having been under my personal practice Kinga Gorski Yoga. Bananas, I tell you. B-a-n-a-n-a-s! I'm so beyond grateful for the endless support & encouragement from my friends, family, studio owners and all the kickass clients I get to sweat it out with weekly.
And to think - all of this has come to fruition since I decided I needed to start the newest chapter in my life, after pursuing acting and a life of the arts for 12 years prior. Change is always scary, no matter which way you cut it. Even for people like myself - always willing to take a chance, to try something new, not being shy to go against the grain of "traditional" educational paths, etc. When you decide to overhaul your life and shift your personal story - even the confident people will wonder:
The key to figuring out these big questions is to give yourself time. Give yourself time to sit on it. Think about it. And I mean really, really think about it. Weigh where you are at now, what you're doing and how you feel, with how you actually want to feel and where you want to be. Then, if you realize that what you're currently doing isn't bringing you those feelings that you desire, then, very likely, it's time for a shift. Conversely, the answer may not come right away. But it will. Trust that it will. It always does.
True, I do still think about the acting world very often. It was such a humungous part of my life for so long, during really impressionable years of my life (13-25 years old). It absolutely shaped a huge part of who I am today. One thing I always knew for sure, was that I would forever rather be willing to take risks, sometimes making less than no money, pursuing a profession that fired me up to the bones that hold me together, and actually KNOW that I was following my true life's purpose (which can of course change - why does there have to be only one?) than to fall back into something that my parents wanted me to do instead that seemed more "secure", being miserable in my day-to-day, and sure, probably making more money, but always wondering what my life would be like if I had just dared to dream big. Where would I be now? Would I be killin' it? Would I be reaching my fullest potential? Would I have joy in my life? Perhaps the thing I'm most grateful about is that I will never have that regret on my deathbed. Just wishing that I had tried. You can't put a damn price on that.
The only thing that's permanent is impermanence. Thus, why be so afraid of change?
04 October, 2016Vancouver Yoga Expo
Vancity yogis rejoice! The Vancouver Yoga Expo finally graced us with its inaugural event here in our bustling city this past weekend, Oct. 1-2, 2016. I was fortunate enough to win a pair of tickets for the entire weekend through a Facebook contest (thanks again Laura @ Potentialize Me Yoga) and went with fellow yoga instructor & friend Martina Michalova.
Sat. Oct. 1 (day one) - The Yoga Expo started at 10am, but we arrived closer to 1pm as Martina was teaching in the morning. Once we got to the Vancouver Convention Center at Canada Place, we first checked out the Marketplace with all the vendors to see what goodies were in store. As one could expect, there were plenty of yogi-inspired active & streetwear clothes, health-conscious snacks and beverages, and jewellery, including mala beads and mini buddha altar statues for use in meditation.
Some more interesting items included prize draws for a portable infrared sauna chair and a local yoga retreat, aerial yoga ropes and yoga wheels (the latter of which I ended up purchasing for myself = play time!) For those of you cocking a brow, thinking "what the deuce is a yoga wheel?" It's a newer tool that can be used to delve deeper into stretching poses and build flexibility (such as the splits or backbends), as well as a support structure to prop you up in poses that require more strength & coordination (such as forearm stand or balancing atop the wheel for more of a challenge!)
Class 1: Power Hour with Caron Christison - Since the Yin class was full, we opted to go for Power Yoga (totally different, but what the heck!) This was a fun one, similar to a class that I would style. The instructor was from Georgia and played groovy indie music that made for a cool energy. The boat pose crunches & leg lifts were killer on the core though.. needless to say, I know where I need some work!
Class 2: Lotus Wrap Restorative with Kara Schwandt - A local North Vancouverite, Kara created these supportive wraps that coccoon around your body in various ways to hold you in your chosen position, thereby allowing you to fully release in the restorative pose and not have to work to hold yourself up in anyway. I really enjoyed using this tool in the class, it was very supportive and could be used in a variety of postures! I had a nice sense of relaxation at the end of the practice.
Class 3: Chan Meditation & Qi (Energy Flow) with Shana Han - We came in to this class with open minds and no expectations. Having said that, one can usually infer how this type of class might go.. Welllll, let's just say this class isn't what we had expected it to be, even with no expectations. The teacher was a spunky Korean woman, now based out of California, who shared with us a bit of her personal story and of how she came to be where she is today. After studying bio-engineering (if memory serves me correctly) and feeling pressured by her family to lead a "traditional" life with a good education and well-paying job, she realized that wasn't where her heart was and became depressed. She turned to yoga and meditation, studying at a Buddhist temple. Essentially what the class became was having to sit in Lotus (the far more intense version of seated criss-cross apple sauce legs) for close to an hour, or at least that's what the instructor was trying to bribe us to do ("I'll give you a free mini bottle of essential oil & a book on Buddhist meditation if you stay there the whole 50 minutes!") ..Okay. I'd rather keep my knees and ankles intact, thanks kindly.
Basically what she was trying to impart was that Lotus was the foundational pose to allow your chi, or life force/energy (also known as prana), to flow through your body. Any pain felt was blocked chi, and that you would have to work towards mastering mind over matter and eventually the pain would go away (due to numbness, for real), before normal feeling would be restored, resulting in your chi pushing through the blockage and finding its flow throughout the body again. I can appreciate the sentiment of challenging oneself and cultivating mental tenacity, but not in an unsafe manner where most people could hardly stay seated in an easy, criss-cross legged seated posture for longer than 5 minutes, much less Lotus. I certainly wouldn't want to be held responsible for anyone's dislocated knees.
Sun. Oct. 2 (day two) - Martina was teaching again in the morning, so I decided to head down to the Expo a bit earlier by myself and meet up with her once she got there. I cruised through the Marketplace once again to peruse over the booths. It wasn't all that huge to begin with, but surely I missed some things from the day before so I let my eyes wander and feast on all the novelties around me.
Class 1: Drishti Beats with Lori & Jeremy Lowell - I took this class solo before Martina joined up, jumping in with the group that was practicing in front of the main stage in the Marketplace. This was a super fun experience! The practice was being led by the husband & wife duo on stage, and they were accompanied by a saxophonist from Portugal, a DJ from Colorado, and rapper/beatboxer also from Colorado, and a vocalist from California. They blended together to form a super groovy, instrumental medley with intermittent vocals, while leading the flow with the assistance of headset mics. I highly recommend taking this energetic class if you want something completely different than a silent studio practice. I would totally take it again! They are based out of Virginia, so keep an eye on their tour dates.
Class 2: Yin It Up with Cheryl Uphill - Fortunately Martina was able to meet up with me in time for us to save a spot in this class, as it quickly filled up yesterday and we weren't able to make it. Another Vancouver local, Cheryl guided us through about 5 postures, allowing the body to surrender in the postures while taking longer holds and making for a very chill class. The class filled up again this day, and it was clear why - pretty sure the shirts that say "I'm just here for the Savasana" are made primarily for Yinsters (aka, Yin Gangsters) as Cheryl affectionately called us. And Savasana we did!
Class 3: Yoga with doTERRA Essential Oils with Shannon Kaeding - The class was led by Mishka Ma, accompanied by Shannon coming around and placing various essential oils on different parts of our bodies as we moved throughout the practice. Simply put: I loved it! Some of the oils used were Wild Orange, Peppermint, Lavender, Melaleuca, and Deep Blue (the last of which was gloriously massaged onto the backs of our necks as we lay in Savasana, I NEED to get my hands on some more of that goodgood!)
To summarize, it was a fun-filled weekend of all things yoga. It was wonderful to be able to participate in so many classes with teachers of all individual styles. From the perspective of an instructor, it can be challenging to maintain your own personal practice at times - when I'm at the studio, I teach yoga. I don't practice yoga. To avoid teacher burnout, it's imperative that we maintain a personal practice to keep inspired, refreshed and connected to the thing we love. As much as we enjoy giving and sharing the knowledge of yoga with our students, it's equally as important that we receive and continue to be students ourselves.
Do you have any other questions regarding the first ever Vancouver Yoga Expo? I'd love to hear them and share my insights!
Kinga Gorski, 200-YTT...read on →
29 August, 2016Actor -> Yogi
Hello dear friends and followers of my journey! It's been quite some time since my last written blog (a year as of this month, to be exact. Holy smokes.) Many of you have likely noticed that this year I went from "Kinga who acts" to "Kinga who yogas" (sure, let's make that a verb.) To some of you it may have appeared as a sudden shift, but really, this was a transition in the making for a while.
After investing in a career in acting for 12 years, the appreciation for the craft was still there but the passion to pursue it had waned over the last couple years. It was January 2015 when I decided to put the arts on an indefinite hiatus; it was months of stewing over this decision before I could finally admit it to myself and then share that with my agents (who were wonderfully understanding and supportive of my choice, thankfully), and then another few months before I could start saying it out loud and sharing it with others. That's because then, it would become more concrete. It would actually be the bona fide truth. Who was I to become if I wasn't Kinga the actor?
A series of deep questions rose very quickly to the surface of my mind, ones which surely every human being grapples with at varying points throughout their lifetime. What do I want to do with my life now? There is a saying thrown around (I don't think there is much research to support this, but I digress) that Americans change their careers an average of 5-7 times over their lifespan. So.. I guess one down, 4-6 to go.
I had to ask myself: what other occupation on this Earth could make me excited to get up out of bed every morning for "work"? I use quotations because I am a huge fan of the motto: "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." That saying is attributed to Marc Anthony, with another variation to Confucius; either way, the message rings clear. That begged the question: What do I truly enjoy? Well, I enjoy helping people. I have a genuine interest in health and wellness (Physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual). I like exercise and getting the blood moving.
These answers prompted a stroll down memory lane. I first began practicing yoga after a breakup about 4 ish years ago; it was something I had always wanted to try, and leave it to heartbreak to kickstart a new hobby for a gal. Not only did I want to engage in more physical exercise, but yoga has long been revered for it's mental and emotional healing prowess and hot yoga in particular for it's detoxing properties. I ended up getting a 1-year unlimited membership at a local Bikram hot yoga studio. Just several months into my practice, one of the newer instructors there had asked me if I was also a teacher at the studio (ha!), perhaps because they thought my practice seemed advanced. It certainly stroked my ego at the time as a newbie; sure, I soon realized I had a skill for the physical practice of yoga, but being a teacher? It was a thought that very loosely floated through my head every now and again, not even a real consideration really, but like a passing cloud would very quickly dissipate into the ether and I'd go on living my life, wondering what dessert I'd want to treat myself with next.
In regards to teaching Bikram yoga specifically, one thing I did know was that it was ultimately too regimented for me. All classes are 90 minutes long, going through the exact same 26 postures in the exact same order every class. No music either. It was a strong foundation from which to build my personal practice upon, however having said that, if I knew then what I know now about the founder Bikram Choudhury, I would have abstained from that practice (look up allegations/charges if you're curious). Fortunately, for anyone interested, there are countless other styles and lineages of yoga available to further your knowledge.
Fast forward a few years later to summer of 2015. I decided to take the 200-hr YTT (yoga teacher training) through Oxygen Yoga & Fitness, as the summer previous I had tried a 1-month unlimited membership at a nearby location and loved the variety of classes in both yoga and fitness, and I really dug how instructors could style their classes to fit their personality (while of course keeping with the general structure of the intended class) and choose their own music! I felt like it would be a solid fit for me and I was excited. Completing my 200-hr YTT while working full time was one of the most mentally challenging endeavours I had undertaken. I literally had 1-2 days off per month for 6 months, excluding a month "off" over the Christmas holidays (insert mountain of written essays/take home tests/other homework here). After all that, I came out successfully on the other side with a Yoga Teacher Certificate in one hand, a tequila caesar in the other, and a new chapter in my life waiting to be written.
My birthday is just a week away, which means my current personal year (from birthday to birthday) is coming to an end, and a new one is about to begin. This period of time should usually ignite some new goals to be set, and mine is to lead my first workshop. So to you, dear readers and yogis (present or soon-to-be!), I ask: What would you like to see offered in a 1-hour workshop?
See you on the mat!
Namaste x...read on →
15 November, 2013Free Bird
T-Minus 6 weeks til the next great adventure is upon me.. Come New Years Day I will be boarding a plane that will take me just a hop, skip and a jump across the pond to New Zealand! I will spend a week navigating the North Island and a week on the South Island, mostly in Queenstown (a hub for exhilarating activities!) From there, I will make my way over to the land of Oz (so 'keen' to see all my 'mates') and perhaps start a new fad of bathing oneself in vegemite. What can I say, those Aussie buggers have got me hooked! As one of my mates once said (in light of my tentativeness to give the jar of vitamin B-rich yeast extract a proper go), 'It's been bringing up Aussie kids since the 70s.' Being my cheeky self, I went and read the label for confirmation and just had to correct him that vegemite has actually been doing that since 1923. Did it really matter? Nope, because the damn stuff took over my palate before I could say 'vege-wha?' and I licked the whole jar clean in about a month and half's time. As another one of my Kiwi-born friends illustrated to me pre-consumption: 'Soon your taste buds will die and you will shovel that salty black tar like it's honey.' Mmm mm good.
As I sit here and write this entry at 3:50am, it's odd because even though I really enjoy my late night productivity spurts, in a sense I feel out of sync with the rest of the world. Granted, there are undoubtedly many a night owl such as myself out there, working away on whatever project is pulling their creator toward its completion, but I guess it's because the 'typical' person has a standard 9-5 job and a routine surrounding that. Work, run errands, participate in hobbies, etc. during the day, followed by rest, relaxation and eventually sleep at night. I've never been able to comfortably lead that lifestyle. Trust me, I've given it the ol' college try. For years. Nada. I read an article several months ago which informed me that being more nocturnal is just my natural circadian rhythm. Look it up. As Hilary Rubinstein said, 'Blessed are the owls, for they shall inherit the mystery and magic of the night.'
Point being, there's a sense of calm that the evening brings which you often don't get to experience during the day. Something about the world around you powering down for the next several hours, along with the tranquility and silence that tails it.. It simply allows you to think, uninterrupted. I'm constantly daydreaming during regular daylight hours - imagining what great events are just around the bend - but when nightfall comes, those daydreams become outlines of achievable plans of action, plans that are eager to be implemented. Stat. I've been overwhelmed with the desire and pure need to travel this past year, and the fact that it's finally happening is so surreal. I'm sure many readers are thinking 'What's so surreal about going on a trip? Just save some money, book a ticket and go.' But this is bigger than that. For me, anyway. This is something I've wanted to do for 6+ years, and I know it'll be a changing experience for me. I adore and respect the craft of acting, but in a big way it has been the ball and chain that's kept me rooted in Vancouver because I didn't want to miss the opportunity of a great audition, the possibility of that 'break.' After 11 strong years of pursuing the arts, the longing to travel has started to call my name a lot louder than the happy mask singing my artistic accomplishments thus far and the sad mask playing the small violin about roles not obtained.
The fantastic thing about acting is that I will be able to do it for the rest of my days, as age holds no bars in that department. Yeah, I know Hollywood is all about youth and glamour in this day and age, blah blah, but stories still need sassy grandmas too. So at least I can bank on that, right? At this point in my life, I'm just realizing now that it's completely unjust to give up one dream for another. The interesting thing is, once I finally had my Vegas trip booked this past Summer, I ended up getting a part on the 8th season of the TV series Psych. After filming (and with the help of that paycheque), I booked my NZ/Oz flight, then shortly after that I landed a commercial. Bananas. Pineapples. All sorts of cray. It's about balance, and finding it is a helluva hard thing to do, no matter what aspects of your life you're trying to apply it to. Key word right there: all you can do is try. It's impossible to plan for each and every single moment in life, whether the potential end result is something you would welcome with open arms or avoid like the plague, but if you don't take chances and jump into any opportunities with both feet first and eyes closed, you'll never be fortunate enough to experience the euphoric rewards that the universe will manifest towards you. Sometimes you just have to be at peace with being awake while everyone around you is asleep.
Once the sun resigns and the earth is draped by the dimmed moonlight, in each star in the sky I see the wonderment of a new journey yet to be taken..
I sound like a frackin' student in poetry class, so, I think this is my cue to bounce. It's also 4:45am as I'm finishing this, so.. Au revoir. Peace. Good night. Good morning? ..G'nite....read on →
09 August, 2013Stellar Summer
This is the first summer (and overall year) in at least 2-3 years where I feel like I've actually been living, experiencing, socializing, indulging, and adventuring to the fullest. When I look back on the last few annual stretches, surely I had some great moments gallivanting out and about, but the most prominent memories I have seem to revolve around work. Whether it be my day job back then, my evening job I have now, my 24-hr job (acting, never truly ends and I know my artistic friends feel me) or one of my many random side jobs - case in point, I was all too often indoors, anchored to the hull of the daily grind.
I changed my perspective in the Fall of last year in regards to how I wanted to move forward living my life. I was so over simply talking about doing things. Big things. I wanted to become an active initiator. Interestingly enough, since deciding to be even more of a doer, certain events have manifested themselves that fully align with my new wants and it's been pretty incredible. I haven't been on a plane in 5.5 years because I didn't want to travel and miss acting opportunities in Vancouver. I changed my views surrounding that theory and started planning trips this year - Vegas, New Zealand and Australia. Lo and behold, I ended up booking a role on Psych. These happenings once again reinforce the truth and beauty of one of my favourite quotes:
'Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative, and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would come his way.' - W.H. Murray
Aside from travelling more (which I wrote about in my previous blog entry), this past Fall I also started a journey of higher fitness and long-term mental and physical health. I started with a 1-month unlimited trial of Bikram hot yoga which led to me going all in and committing to a 1-year membership. This summer alone, I ran Tough Mudder in Whistler with a team of 9 people which took us across 18km in close to 4 hours, I completed a personal 30-day Bikram hot yoga challenge, hiked the Black Tusk Trail in Whistler which took my friend and I up to an elevation of 2,319m across 30km in 8 hours round trip, and despite having 3 months left in my yoga membership, I invested in a 1-year membership at GoodLife Fitness. I've always been active, but I'm loving this new heightened lifestyle of fitness so much that I'm seriously considering expanding my knowledge and getting certified as a personal trainer and/or group fitness instructor. Acting is always my number one, but what a complimentary pairing that would be to my role in the arts.
Never have I ever thought that this is where I'd find myself in my early 20's. Or really, ever. I am completely open to the possibilities that may evolve from this new chapter and I shall await with baited breath for the next great accomplishment and adventure!...read on →
09 May, 2013Changing Horizons
I've been pondering for a couple weeks now trying to think of a topic that I'd enjoy writing about as my first blog entry. I didn't want to write just for the sake of writing, but it was a bit bothersome to me that of all the things going on in my world, I couldn't come up with one worthy thing to write a few paragraphs about. I wanted it to mean something to me, and through that notion I believe that my written thoughts would deeply resonate with someone else too. It just hit me out of left field as I was enjoying my day off at home - I've had an epiphany recently that I was itching to share with those closest to me.. I recently met a group of travellers in Whistler who opened up my eyes to the wonderment of having frequently changing horizons. Most were from Australia (figures, I know) but there were also a few from England, Norway, and even other parts of Canada.
Travelling is always something that I've wanted to do in my life, yet I've given up several trips over the years so I could better myself as an actor. Chasing the dream ain't cheap, especially when you're paying for everything biz-related yourself (among many other expenses) from the age of 16 onwards. My train of thought was to take as many classes as I could and do my best to establish myself as prominently as possible in the Vancouver market while I was young enough to do it. Providing everything worked out in my favour (ha, a girl can dream), I would one day reap the fruits of my labour and then later on in life, I could revisit the drawing board and map out my journeys to different parts of the globe.
There have been times where I've felt a bit stuck here in Vancouver, the old 'ball and chain' if you will, in regards to staying here and working hard to grow a career for myself as an actor. Long stretches of time often pass by where there is very little reward from the industry in terms of jobs, despite countless auditions over the years, and the devil on my shoulder starts to inquire why I put in so much time, effort, will, and determination to be a great artist when I seem to get very little out of it in the end (aside from my own self-gratification that I simply do the best that I can.) The reason for that is simply because I love to act and I was meant to be an entertainer. I know that. But I've recently realized that another reason this question pops up from time to time is because I haven't found balance in my life in terms of striving for my goals professionally, and living my life leisurely. I didn't realize that I've had this gaping void inside me, craving to see the world. I was always afraid that if I left Vancouver, even if just for a couple weeks, I might miss the opportunity to audition for the role that might just be the break that I've been hoping and preparing for.
Something my new-found travelling comrades have enlightened me with is a rejuvenated, fearless sense of adventure. I've always been the type of person who's up for just about anything - hiking mountains, bungee jumping, running in Tough Mudder, buying the Guinness Book of World Records most expensive hot dog on the planet ($100 Dragon Dog aka EPIC) but with travelling, those plans were always delayed to another time. A later date. A more convenient year. Well damn, I'm tired of talking about it with no follow-through, and this is the year it's actually happening. In order to be an actor, to live in someone else's shoes, to take on another life - you have to live your OWN life to its greatest extent and gather those experiences to use as your tools to portray another person. If anything, exploring the world away from Vancouver isn't me losing an opportunity at an audition, it's me gaining another freckle of wisdom to layer onto a character in the future.
Thanks to the friendships I've made with those top-tier folks in Whistler - most who have already moved on to other parts of the world - along with much appreciated words of encouragement from fellow artists, I now have my plane ticket to Vegas booked (you gotta do it at least once) and will be going to New Zealand/Australia for a month later this year. In addition to that, I'm already planning a trip to Poland and Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway & Sweden) for next summer. It's happening. Follow *all* your dreams!...read on →