Mona Keddy has been a yoga instructor for more than twenty years, and she's the real deal when it comes to practicing yoga with authenticity, humour, and grace. Most recently, she has recently come off a successful seven year run as co-founder of the cult yogi favourite Shri Yoga in Montreal. As an influencer, entrepreneur, yoga goddess, style icon, and all-around lovely person, Mona was my dream pick to kick off The Acorn's brand new '7 Questions' series.
Seven Questions with Mona Keddy
1. What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?
Yoga has helped me investigate reality with compassion and acceptance. Over time, I have realized how much energy I put into avoiding certain feelings, reactions and intuitive suggestions - dreaming up excuses, options and alternatives instead. I hid myself from myself and from the world. Yoga has given me the ability to come out of hiding, to sit in all my emotions and the intensity of life without automatic reactions, and with at least fewer judgments. I have a more honest relationship with my fear, grief, anger and hurt, and can respond after a pause that interrupts the impulsive response. It gives me more opportunity for reflection, thoughtfulness and gentleness.
On a physical level, yoga has made me aware of imbalances in my body and given me ways to bring more integration into my movement.
2. What piece of hard-won wisdom has made a big difference in your life?
I'm still learning how to follow the deep desires of my heart regardless of convention, internal judgement and the opinions of others. It seems to be a life-long practice for me to let go of the “should’s” and the “I have to’s.” However, there is greater ease, authenticity and a freeing up of energy and enthusiasm when I am able do this.
3. What’s the most interesting thing about you that most people don’t know?
I hated all physical activity, especially any team sport, growing up. If someone said that I would be teaching yoga as an adult, I would never have believed it!
4. Who inspires you?
I draw inspiration from a variety of sources. I'm reading translations of medieval yogic texts and am constantly astounded by the wealth of wisdom in these teachings. I've been inspired by young yoga scholars – practitioners who are entwining their academic study of the tradition with deep engagement in practice. I'm inspired by select teachers who have immersed themselves in yoga for their lifetime and are continuing to grow and mature in their understanding. I'm also continually inspired by students who share how yoga has transformed their understanding of themselves and others.
I draw tremendous inspiration from the wonders of the natural world. Mother Nature is a great teacher and an infinite source of creativity and wonder. Time with my intimate circle of friends is inspiring as I am in awe of the ways they reflect on their processes and engage in the world.
5. Why is yoga important in our modern world?
Yoga is one of the antidotes to the external focus of our modern urban lifestyle. It can provide a space free from the ever-present distractions of cell phones, urban landscapes and excess stimulation of our senses. It is an important way to settle our nervous systems, process stress and come back to the simple importance of a full unrestricted breath.
6. Where did you get your great sense of style?
I have always loved fashion and clothes as an expression of creativity and a way to bring beauty alive in the world. It's fun – especially if we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Style emerges fluidly as a playful, creative expression of individuality.
7. What is your current state of mind?
After closing the yoga studio at the end of April, I also moved so this has been a time of several transitions. I'm feeling a bit unsettled, and grateful to have time to unpack and set up the new space without rushing. I'm also taking time to explore how I will teach next and what will arise. This place of not knowing exactly what is coming is both freeing, exciting and a bit scary.