Ky Autumn Russell – Pilates, yoga, & relaxation

Meet Ky!

Hi, I’m Ky! 

I believe that there is inherent love and beauty abundantly overflowing in this world, but we can get stuck looking in the wrong places at the wrong time and not notice all this awesomeness. I realized about 20 years ago that I had a gift for helping people start to notice this beauty by helping them connect to their own beautiful bodies, minds, and spirits through mindful fitness practices like Pilates, yoga, and dance. It feels amazing to move your body this way, to explore how your body can move, test your limits, gain strength and confidence, move without pain - and once you start to feel amazing, you start to act more amazing, be more amazing, and notice all the amazingness around you! I am so excited you are here because I am stoked to share some of that awesomeness with you.

I didn’t always feel this way about my body and my life. I did grow up loving movement. I started ballet at age 5, and pretty much devoted my youth to ballet. I attended ballet boarding school, summer intensives at some of the top ballet companies in the country, and danced professionally at the apprentice level before a foot injury sidelined me and gave me the out I was desperately looking for. By that point my love of dancing had morphed into a chore that left me empty inside, figuratively and literally. I went through periods of living on 3 jars of baby food a day, and was never satisfied with my dancing, what I was achieving, or who I was. Other times I was able to eschew those limiting beliefs and maintain my health and sanity, like the time I convinced the caterer at ballet boarding school to sneak me in full fat cream cheese. The boarding school had a strict no-fat policy, which I knew was crazy at the time and so did our caterer.

While working on my undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley I danced lightly and occasionally, mostly because I missed it and never because I had to. After graduation however, I realized how much I was craving dancing and began to train seriously again. Once again a foot injury sidelined me and this time lead me to the career path I was always meant to be on! After dancing on a stress-fractured foot for almost 4 months I wound up with a pretty severe fracture that was slow to heal and left my body in all sorts of pain. I was lucky that I found the Dance Medicine clinic at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco, and that my doctor was the renowned Dr. James Garrick, the orthopedic surgeon who had founded the Dance Medicine division almost 30 years earlier. Dance Med offered private and semi-private Pilates based rehabilitation sessions, and I diligently attended those sessions 3 times a week for the next 2 years. I had tried Pilates before way back when I was dancing in high school, but it was not even remotely similar to what I experienced at Dance Medicine. Obviously my foot healed and at the same time I developed an entirely new relationship to my body, understanding the how, what, and why behind movement - and learning to respect and love myself. My dancing improved and I transitioned to performing in modern dance and circus groups throughout my 20’s and 30’s, finally finding the balance between dancing and performing because it made me happy! Continuing on a long tradition in Dance Medicine I began working there after completing a teacher training with Nora St. John and Noami Leiserson, leaving the non-profit world and my work in the sustainable fisheries field for good. I’ve taught Pilates ever since in a variety of ways and have literally never looked back. I’ve owned my own studio, become a Balanced Body Master Instructor and traveled the country teaching Pilates and anatomy instructor training courses at studios and conferences, and mentored some amazing Pilates instructors myself. Along the way I completed a Master’s in Kinesiology to satisfy my desire to contribute to research on mindful fitness and broaden my movement expertise. I focused my research on women’s experiences in postpartum yoga classes as I had a difficult journey re-connecting to my body after 2 miscarriages and a successful birth! My daughter is almost 6 and I have a deeper appreciation for and connection to my body and myself (more on this in future blog posts). I am currently a faculty member in the Kinesiology department at San José State University, where I teach holistic stress management courses with mindful fitness as a central component to the curriculum.

My latest passion has been to bring my work to a bigger audience, and that’s why I’ve created Connected to the Core, a unique fitness educational platform bridging mindful fitness and stress reduction. My goal is to help people connect with body, mind, and spirit so they can feel great and do great work themselves. It’s the way I can bring more light and love to the world. I look forward to connecting with you! If you haven’t already -  sign up for my weekly(ish) newsletter, I send special offers and incentives to my community there. I would love to connect with you!

Light and love,

Ky

About your host, Ky

Hi, I'm Ky Russell! I'm committed to democratizing and sharing my knowledge of fitness and wellness accumulated over decades of study and teaching Pilates and mindful movement, stress management, and wellness. In addition to having a Master's degree in Kinesiology and teaching wellness as faculty at San Jose State University, I'm a busy working mom so all of my solutions are designed to integrate seamlessly integrate into your full life. I want you to move and love your body so you can live the life of your dreams!

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