Interview: Cam Kjeldgaard
An Interview with Cam Kjeldgaard
Tell me about your yoga background.
I had never been to a yoga class in my life until about 5 years ago. My brother was encouraging me to take a yoga class – in his words, it improved his mind, body, and soul. I was a skeptic; I was 47 years old, a little bit out of shape, not flexible in any way, and very intimidated. I hated my first class, I hated my second class and I hated my third class less. By my fourth and fifth class I realized I wouldn’t have a heart attack and die and very quickly I started practicing 6 days per week while the hate turned to love. I took an early retirement from my corporate career and had time to immerse my self in my practice, and I very quickly developed a stronger body, a quieter mind, and a more peaceful soul. Within the first year of my practice I took a teacher training at Iam Yoga with the purpose of learning and deepening my practice. I never intended to teach.
Well, 5 years later, here I am.
What are you working on right now in your practice and/or in your life?
Fitting in my personal practice has been difficult for me lately. So just getting on the mat. I am a procrastinator by nature, so I just need to break through and get back to it. Enough of making excuses!
Do you have any single bit of advice that changed your practice in a significant way?
As a yoga teacher, you never know what words you choose that will resonate with someone in the class. In one of my classes very early on in my practice, while in Savasana at the end of the practice, the teacher talked about gratitude – specifically including a moment of gratitude into your daily routine. Maybe it is when you wake up in the morning, before you go to bed at night, or during meditation. I am grateful for things in life large and small, grateful for people in my life who have made me who I am, grateful for teachers past and present, grateful for a healthy body that allows me to participate in my practice… so I try to practice gratitude every day. Its one of the many things I do that lead to being at peace.
What is the most important thing that you want students to learn in your classes?
My classes are known for being physically challenging – I teach the way I like to practice. But, having said that, I want people to know that yoga is so much more than being able to touch your toes or get into or hold an arm balance or handstand. Yoga is a moving meditation meant to quiet the mind. By connecting to our breath and connecting our movement to our breath we will work toward a stronger body, a quieter mind, and a more peaceful soul. Just showing up is yoga. Come to my class, take breaks, try, fall, pull back, push forward. There should be something for everybody. If I started at 47, was out of shape, not flexible and intimidated – others might be too. My class is a judgment-free zone, and I will do my best to help you advance your practice.
What one word would you use to describe yourself?
HAPPY! I have people around me that bring me joy. I have a good life, I help people feel better and get stronger. I have nothing to complain or be unhappy about!
If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
My dog – He is my Buddy and brings me so much joy. He is a great companion.
My yoga mat – of course!
My hiking shoes – I have recently discovered hiking and how meditative it can be be as well as a great way to stay in shape.