Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 00:00
Hi it’s Marisa Lee here, and I’m so excited to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you. In these episodes, our brilliant lineup of guests will include healthcare practitioners, voice educators, and other professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialized fields to empower you to live your best life. Whether you’re a member of the voice, community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. It’s time now to share your gift with others develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, it’s time for you to live your best life. It’s time now for a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 01:15
This week on A Voice and Beyond, we welcome Kassandra Reinhardt, who was a Yin & Vinyasa yoga Instructor, a youtuber with over 2 million subscribers, a published author, and the face behind Yoga With Kassandra. In this episode, Kassandra begins by discussing her journey into yoga as an 18 year old dancer who’s suffered from anxiety, body image issues, and always felt that she was being highly scrutinized in the ballet world. Kassandra tells us that she fell in love with the practice of yoga because she was able to remove herself from a place of judgment, depletion and burnout. Yoga has also helped Kassandra manage her own stress and anxiety, and increase her flexibility and strength, amongst many other benefits. In today’s show, Kassandra demystifies many of the myths, misconceptions and spiritual philosophies around yoga, but most importantly, she shares with us its many benefits, such as how it can positively impact our mindset, improve our flexibility and mobility, and nourish all physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of us. Kassandra also explains how we can develop mental health discernment, through setting daily intentions, the benefits of scheduling time for a self-care practice, to ensure we are not depleting our energy supplies, and the importance of prioritizing ourselves in amongst helping others. Ultimately, Kassandra’s desire is to help people feel good in their bodies and expand their minds through simple yet effective practices and exercises. This is a truly stunning interview with Kassandra Reinhardt. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 03:59
Welcome to A Voice and Beyond we have Kassandra Reinhardt. How are you?
Kassandra Reinhardt 04:05
Thank you so much for having me. I’m well how are you? Good. Thank
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 04:09
you. Where are you located? Kassandra.
Kassandra Reinhardt 04:12
I’m in Ottawa, Canada. So a little bit far away from you.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 04:16
I know. But Canada is so beautiful. I visited Vancouver a few years ago, and it reminded me a lot of one of our cities here in Australia. It reminded me of Melbourne. Okay, yes, I just had that kind of vibe about it. But yeah, Canada is such a beautiful place. Now, not only are you in a beautiful location, but you do some beautiful work as well. You are a Yin & Vinyasa yoga Instructor, a YouTuber. We’re going to talk about that because you have literally millions of subscribers. You are an author and the face Behind Yoga With Kassandra, now you’ve launched several challenges, including a 30 day challenge called Flexible Body Flexible Mind on YouTube. And that was also on your app. I will talk to you about that one, because I have a lot of questions around your philosophies about having a flexible body creating that flexible mind, because I actually agree with you. And we’ll talk about that a little later. Now, I want to start with the most basic of questions, because there are so many misconceptions around yoga. So I would like to ask you, how do you best describe the practice of yoga? What is yoga?
Kassandra Reinhardt 05:50
You know, it’s actually a big question. Because what we think of when we talk about yoga in the Western world, is maybe just a fraction of what yoga truly is, you know, yoga is rooted in Indian philosophy, it’s quite old. So it’s very much a spiritual practice, a philosophical practice as well. And really like a laid out path, you could say, a way of life leading towards non-attachment. But when we are talking about yoga, we’re usually thinking of yoga poses, you know, going to a yoga class, moving my body breathing techniques. So when we talk about yoga, we’re talking about a system that blends or utilizes yoga poses, breathwork, meditations, as well as ways of living your life, that are all part of this system of yoga that are all meant to promote well being and to deepen spirituality. Now, when I teach yoga, when I’m talking about teaching yoga, I’m talking about teaching yoga poses teaching meditation, and teaching breathing techniques. But it’s just important to know that there’s a such a great, bigger context, that can surround the practice of yoga, just because it does have such rich, rich history and rich roots. But for the most part, when I’m talking, you know, you said, I teach yin yoga and vinyasa yoga. So those are different styles of yoga, that primarily utilize yoga poses, breathing techniques, and meditation.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 07:33
Hmm. I had some pushback, some time ago, we had a couple of guests, who have a program called YogaVoice, and the spirituality side of yoga, upset a couple of people. So with the spiritual side of yoga, so let’s just say your faith is a particular faith, whether it’s big Catholic or Christian, or Jewish, whatever it is. So if you practice yoga, are you going against your your faith? Is it is it something that is so deeply connected in that spiritual side, that it contradicts religions?
Kassandra Reinhardt 08:23
I mean, yoga is a spiritual system, but it is not a religion, right? So there is a little bit of a distinction there. So I don’t really see why or how it would be a cause for conflict for someone who has a strong tie to a particular faith or religion. However, I guess everybody is different. But at the end of the day, even when we’re talking about the spirituality of yoga, we’re talking about tools, techniques, practices, teachings, and wisdom that are really with a goal of finding some kind of inner peace within people releasing attachment, releasing judgment, like I think these are things that most major religions would probably be in line with anyway, not that this is my area of expertise at all. But no, since it’s a spiritual system, I, you know, it is not a religion in and of itself. So I don’t really have any reason to believe why someone who is tied to a faith would feel conflicted by the spiritual aspects of yoga. And the truth is in the West, you know, for better or worse, a lot of that has been extracted from the practice because we’re teaching yoga, not only in studios, but also in places like gyms, you know, where you’re being seen really as purely physical practice. So you kind of often we’ll get the spirituality stripped out of the practice. That’s not something I’m a fan of, but it is some it is to say that for the people who don’t want the spiritual aspect tied to their yoga prayer, Practice, those classes are out there, you can find teachers and classes that strictly approach it from the physical perspective. And there can be great depth actually, just by working with the physical body. And just by working with the breath, like learning to cultivate your own energy, there’s a lot of work that you can do. You know, you mentioned my flexible body flexible mind challenge, that’s kind of the idea behind it is that, whenever we’re challenging ourselves, physically, there’s a mental challenge and a mental component to that as well. So there can be great depth, even if you’re only going into the practice and only approaching it from, you know, I’m gonna get a workout or I’m gonna get more flexible, or I’m going to work on my balance, like, you might not realize it, but the deeper inner work will happen. And
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 10:46
I’ve heard that I’ve heard so many people who have discovered yoga to be such a wonderful gateway for them, in terms of discovering joy and fulfillment in life, changing their attitude towards themselves that self love, so many benefits. But how did you discover yoga? What was your journey into yoga?
Kassandra Reinhardt 11:14
I was very naive, I didn’t know much about yoga when I was about 18, I was coming from the world of dance. So I grew up doing a lot of ballet and other kinds of dance. And I really, really, really loved it. But it was very hard on my body, on my knees, on my hips on my lower back. And I also was not necessarily the most flexible person, like, I still have extreme trouble, like with flexibility, though, I have to really keep on top of it. And a friend had just suggested why don’t I go try a yoga class, offering it to me as cross training for dancers, you know, she just thought that this would be something that would help me in my dance. So I gave it a try. You know, I was one of those students that did not realize that yoga was this ancient system. And you know, had so much history and philosophy and spirituality behind it, I just signed up for a yoga class thinking maybe I’ll get more flexible, maybe I’ll get stronger. Let’s see what it’s all about. So I came to it very naively. And I didn’t necessarily fall in love with it right away, I had to kind of keep practicing and try different styles of yoga, because it’s really quite varied. And I also had to find a teacher I really like who spoke to me in a specific way. And then it really all clicked. And then I discovered, okay, not only am I getting more flexible and feeling good in my body, but there’s also something like mental health wise, there’s something that’s happening here as well, like, a great part of yoga is its ability to help you kind of take a step back and have a greater perspective. And to really find that difference of like, Who is this little inner voice that you hear inside your head, this little inner critic? And can you separate yourself away from that and practice non attachment towards these judgmental thoughts? Something that as an 18, 19, 20 year olds, I definitely need especially coming from ballet, which I was very critical of myself, you know, very much striving for perfection. So, yoga came at the right time, to me, where it really helps to teach me that we don’t have to strive for perfection. And it really teaches you to like really be in the moment. So it was a journey. But that’s how I found it. And here I am, however, many years later, still singing to
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 13:33
what you’re saying about being in that non judgmental space, too. I know you’re you’re coming from the dance world, and I’m coming from the singing world. But I know as singers, we’re always in our heads, we’re always judging ourselves. And that inner critic is switched on 100% of the time, and that gets in the way of our performance. And by what you’re saying yoga would be a lovely way for us to get out of our own way.
Kassandra Reinhardt 14:06
It really helps to develop the awareness. So it’s not necessarily that practicing yoga will make that little voice inside your head go away, it might or might not. But even if it doesn’t, you’re at least going to be aware of it a lot quicker, so that then you can make that decision to okay, I hear the criticism, I hear the judgement, I can tell that I’m comparing myself to others or I’m talking disparagingly about myself or criticizing others, you can notice it a lot quicker and you can make the conscious decision to choose a different thought right to not allow yourself to indulge in this self critical self criticizing behavior. So that was extremely, extremely valuable for me because it took I mean up until you know, I was probably 20 years old or so I hadn’t even really Notice how much of my internal dialogue was critical, you know, and quite harsh. So even just having that illumination and having that awareness around it made a big shift in a positive way.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 15:13
Knowing what I know about ballet classes because my daughter is a dancer, and she did ballet for years. Basically, every time you go into a ballet class, you’re being torn to shreds. You. I mean, there’s body shaming that goes on. Yes, there’s also like, it’s down to what your little finger is doing. Yes, exactly. You are being micromanaged and micro critiqued. If you have to be a really tough kind of person to survive the ballet world.
Kassandra Reinhardt 15:49
Oh, yeah. And compared, you know, so blatantly compared one girl to another. And all, I guess, that I it’s not like I was a professional or anything like that. This was just something I was doing for fun. And I had a great studio and great teachers. But even in that environment, as healthy as they could make it, it was still really hard to be a teenage girl, wearing spandex and you know, striving for physical perfection with your other girlfriends. It was it was just very difficult. And physically, it was also very difficult as well. So I felt like it even though I felt like dance was fueling me in so many ways. And there’s such a deep love for it. It was also kind of mentally and physically draining. So it was refreshing for me to move my body and express myself by movement, something that I love from dance. But now I could do that through yoga. And yet with yoga, there was no perfection that we were trying to achieve. There was no end goal, right? You’re just moving for the sake of moving. There’s no ideal way of doing any one thing. And that was really hard for me in the beginning, because I was so used to, like you said being told how to move every finger and yeah, it’ll be picked apart. I almost felt like the lack of micromanagement was very difficult to cope with. Because I was like, Well, what do I do with my right ankle and my left wrist, you know, and you just have to learn to let that go and to let go of the control and to see what feels good for you. And to move from that space. So it took a while to get used to but it was extremely empowering. Really, really, really wonderful for me. And it did make me more flexible. It did make me stronger. It did improve my balance, you know, so it made me better at dance through this compassionate practice.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 17:49
Do you still dance?
Kassandra Reinhardt 17:51
I do. I don’t do ballet. But I take like classes every now and then. Yeah.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 17:57
Let’s get out of that ballet classes as fast as we can.
Kassandra Reinhardt 18:03
Yeah, I would go back, maybe I would go back. But yeah, I do still take dance classes from time to time, the love of it has never gone away. And you know, I’m not I really don’t want to talk disparagingly about ballet. Because knowing this, you know, it is difficult to always be striving for perfection. But my goodness, when you see a dancer execute it, there’s nothing like it. You know, the beauty of Yes, sport is unmatched. You know? I love it. But it was difficult.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 18:33
Yes, I know. And really, if someone wants to have a professional career as a dance, they have to do ballet. That is the foundation of all dance. That’s what gives you the beautiful technique, the beautiful lines, you can always tell someone who’s had that training. Yes, they’ve had definitely. But in terms of where you’re at now, what are some of the other benefits that you’ve noticed that have come along with your practice of yoga, from when you started to where you’re at now? Do you feel like you’re a different person? Do you feel that you’re in a healthier state of mind?
Kassandra Reinhardt 19:16
Oh, definitely. I mean, especially because I started when I was 18. And I’m 32 years old now. So I think part of it is just maturing and getting a little bit older. But thank goodness, I had yoga through it all the I think the greatest thing that has taught me is to embrace change, and to not really take things for granted. There are things that I could do before that I can’t do now and there are things that I can do now that I couldn’t before and learning not to label one thing is good and one thing has as bad has been super, super, super helpful in my life. And we talk about it in the context of you know, the yoga mat and my yoga practice, but I really feel like the work you do on the mat does get reflected out into the world, there’s a, there’s a parallel that happens here. So whenever I’m faced with a certain challenge on my yoga mat, and I learn how to deal with it in a productive way, like say, for example, you know, I was in my 20s, I was really into strong practices that focused on arm balances and inversions. And I found that so fun. And now in my 30s, I don’t care so much about that I don’t do it quite as much. So I’m not as good as them at them anymore, because I’m out of practice. And, you know, beforehand, I would have been really critical about myself, but now it’s like, I really am able to embrace the change, I have this non attachment toward the results. So mentally mental health wise, that’s been extremely important and valuable. And I am someone that tends to be more on the stressed or anxious side, that tends to be something that I have to cultivate the tools. Yeah.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 21:04
Yes, speaking my language there, girl, yoga is non
Kassandra Reinhardt 21:07
negotiable, like yoga is truly non negotiable. It’s something that I have to do on a regular basis, it helps so much, even with things like when my anxiety gets really bad. Sometimes I won’t even really notice that I’m in the midst of like this anxiety spiral. But I’ll be able to tell because I can’t sleep. As soon as I noticed that my sleep pattern is not good. Maybe I’m having a little bit of insomnia, I know that I have some underlying stress and anxiety that I haven’t processed and acknowledged. So even something as simple as training myself to be able to fall back asleep when I have insomnia, like yogic breathing has been so helpful. So I am a different person. And I do think maybe everyone is a different person from 18 to 32. Right? So definitely,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 21:53
well, we’re always evolving, we’re always changing, but hopefully for the better. And it sounds like your life has undergone some amazing transformations for the better.
Kassandra Reinhardt 22:05
I’m a lot kinder to myself, and kinder to others, I believe, because that’s for that’s something I think I can attribute to the practice for sure.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 22:16
That in itself is something if you can achieve that in life, then that is a remarkable thing to achieve. Because I think we are all so unkind to ourselves. And if we can learn to be kind to ourselves, then we can be kind to others. And how can you be kind to other people, when you’re rating yourself constantly, is what I think. So with yoga, there are so many different types of yoga. What are the most common ones or the most popular ones that we come across in the Western world? And what are the differences between these practices?
Kassandra Reinhardt 22:56
So most styles of yoga that we do like physical practices of yoga come from hatha yoga, and pretty much all styles of yoga that you would encounter at a studio or anywhere else that you practice are variations from that original Hatha Yoga. So I personally teach yin yoga as well as vinyasa yoga. And hatha yoga was really based on like specific practices and a philosophy versus Ashtanga Yoga, which was a different philosophy or goal system. But usually like what will mostly come across what I teach, I like to teach vinyasa yoga. So it’s derived from hatha yoga, and it’s a much more dynamic form of practice. I liked it because it reminded me of dance a lot. So it’s very creative. There’s a lot of strength, balance and flexibility involved. The classes will be very fluid moving in and out of poses. So it reminded me of choreography.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 23:55
Yes. Sounds like it’s choreographed. Yeah, exactly, exactly.
Kassandra Reinhardt 23:59
So I really enjoyed that. So that’s what I kind of was practicing and ended up teaching. And then yin yoga is completely different. So Yen is a passive style of yoga, where you will hold one pose for five minutes or so I
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 24:14
Gosh, you’ve got no hope with me.
Kassandra Reinhardt 24:18
You try it, I’m sure you got it. So the poses are not strength based. It’s all seated or lying down. So it’s very flexibility focus, and it’s often called the yoga of the joints because that’s what we’re looking to strengthen. You’re looking to strengthen your joints, and to work on the connective tissues of the body. So the fascia, the tendons, the ligaments. So it’s passive poses meaning you’re relaxing, letting gravity get you deeper into the boat, like if you were just to do a straight forward bend or pigeon pose, but you’re holding it for a long time. So that is mentally quite challenging. Because you’re in a pose. It’s quite sensational. There’s a lot maybe that you’re Feeling come up for yourself maybe a lot of internal chatter. So it’s quite challenging, but at the same time, because all the poses are done either sitting or lying down, it’s very accessible to all levels and to all people. Whereas vinyasa can sometimes be a little bit more daunting, because it requires more strength, more effort, more balance. But those are the two that I teach. And I specialize when and I find that they’re both very good counterparts to each other one being a little bit more dynamic, and the other being much more passive. So if I have a good balance of both, that’s usually when I’m feeling the best in my body and mentally as well.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 25:40
So if someone was starting yoga, they’d never done your yoga before, which one would you suggest they start with?
Kassandra Reinhardt 25:48
They could try a vinyasa yoga class, you know, if they go to their local studio, or even better, if they go online, and they just type in yoga for beginners, they can find a great simple sequence to work from there, it really doesn’t have to be overly complicated or strenuous, to be valuable, and to be worthwhile. The progress and the benefits of the poses are the same, whether you’re at a 10% range of motion, or all the way dancer level flexibility, right? We’re all working the same muscle groups. We’re all you know, working with the same kind of bones. So the benefits are the same. But yoga for beginners, just a simple either hatha yoga class or vinyasa yoga class could be wonderful. And if they want something that’s a little bit more relaxing, and flexibility focused, then they could look into yin yoga or restorative yoga as well.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 26:41
I have done yoga, and I’ve shared this story before that. The first time I went to yoga, and I’ve only done yoga twice, and the same thing happened. But the first time I went, I started crying hysterically. And I was so embarrassed, I was so so embarrassed. And I thought, Oh, this is not for me. I don’t want to pay someone who’s going to make me cry. And then I went and tried it again, about two years later. And the same thing happened. So yoga makes me cry. What is that.
Kassandra Reinhardt 27:26
So that’s an incredibly common phenomenon. It’s called an emotional release. This is, again, when I say you know, you can practice yoga and think you’re just working on your physical body not tied to anything else. But the poses can kind of work their magic on you, whether you want to or not. So an emotional release is something that happens when we’re in a yoga pose. I like to think about it as if I’m breaking down layers of tension in my physical body, which now makes it easier to access. Other tension that’s living in the emotional body, you know, you might have heard this expression that emotions are stored in the hips. So you know, people will say that if you do hip openers and hip stretches, you’re more likely to cry. It’s not as black and white as that you can do any kind of pose and have any kind of emotional release. It’s not always crying. Sometimes people will start giggling and laughing uncontrollably, knowing why.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 28:27
What would be more embarrassing crying or laughing out hysterical.
Kassandra Reinhardt 28:31
I mean, sometimes it just means there was something in you that needed to be expressed. And because you were giving yourself this permission, where you were being really open with yourself, you were releasing tension from your body. Now that emotion has somewhere to go, right. Like there’s, there’s a there’s a vehicle forward and out of it. But it is incredibly common. At the same time, some people will practice for decades, and will never experienced that. So it’s not right or wrong to experience it. But if it does happen to you just know it’s normal, it’s common, it happens, it’s okay. And sometimes you’ll know why you’re having the emotional release. Like sometimes, you know, you need a good cry, because you’ve been going through a hard time in your life, you know, maybe you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. So it makes sense that the tears are flowing or you’re angry, and you’re going through a breakup, whatever, right? Sometimes we know where the emotion is coming from. So it can be really nice to allow ourselves to process it that way, like somatically. But sometimes you’ll have an emotional release and you don’t know what’s going on. You don’t even know why you’re crying. And that’s fine, too. That’s okay. You know that there’s, there’s a different kind of wisdom in your body. It’s all being processed. You know, this is what we call like the alchemy of yoga. There’s something that is being worked out and work through and you’ve cleared the pathway enough to allow that emotion to flow. So the best thing you can do if it does happen to you is to just let it go and let it through. The more you try to suppress it or get it under control, the harder it’s probably going to be. So let yourself have the cry, it’ll pass through a lot faster in that way. And, you know, try not to be too hard on yourself, because I promise you that teacher has seen that a million times.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 30:15
No one said anything to me. The teacher didn’t say that. She didn’t say, oh, that’s normal.
Kassandra Reinhardt 30:21
Oh, the I think she should have Yeah, I think she should have.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 30:25
Yeah, I think we need to fire that teacher. So recently, you held a 30 day flexible body flexible mind challenge. So describe what that is and what the participants did during that program, and what kind of outcomes they achieved.
Kassandra Reinhardt 30:46
Yeah, that was really fun. So this year, in April of 2023, I launched my newest 30 day challenge, I tried to do them annually as much as possible. And I wanted to do something that was practical, but also meaningful. So instead of just doing one yoga class a day, for 30 days, I wanted to add an extra component to it to help people step out of their comfort zones. So the flexible body portion meant that every day we were doing like a 10 to 20 minute yoga class focusing on increasing flexibility. So slow, stretchy, feel good flows. But then for the flexible mind portion, every day, I gave people a different challenge to help them step out of our comfort zones, and cultivate a flexible mind. So whether that was you know, one of the challenges is to go in your car or Gorsuch go somewhere where he won’t be disturbed and are alone and just scream as loud as you possibly can. Or another challenge is to write a letter to your childhood self, or to your eldest self, or to do list you know, so very simple or like, cook, try a new food that you’ve never tried before, or wear something in your closet that you save for special occasions and never actually put on like, very small, simple things on cool, though, it’s been a hard, you know, because it’s, it’s a little step out of the comfort zone. But it’s to embrace this idea of cultivating a flexible mind and just being open to new things, exploring different parts of yourself. And it was really my way of reminding my students that yes, yoga is an amazing physical practice. But there’s also more to it, we can work on it to cultivate our emotional health and our mental health and our spiritual health as well. So they’re just small, little challenges. But we did that in April, it was really fun. And it’s all still available on YouTube for free. So if anyone still wants to do it, it’s just the flexible body flexible mind yoga challenge. It’s all they’re all free. But it was it was a lot of fun. People were very good sports about it. And they really embrace those challenges are really well.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 32:59
I love that you also say that a flexible body creates a flexible mind. But I just feel even moving your body helps you. I know with me, the days that I go and do Pilates or I go to the gym. I’m far more creative. I write every morning, I have to I have like a little 10 minute exercise regime that I do. I used to do planks, and then my lower back started hurting. So obviously it wasn’t engaging the core. I was doing six minutes of planking. But now I have I do push ups and some air squats. But I find once I do those, I just feel better. I feel like ah, now I’m ready to start the day puts me in a far better mood, I can have an absolute mood shift, just by moving my body
Kassandra Reinhardt 34:01
and only 10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be super long, super complicated, super hard. I think of it a lot as like an analogy of like a pond becoming a swamp. You know, sometimes when it’s stagnant, where we’re not moving for too long. It’s like we become kind of swampy, you know, our mind is cluttered. We’re not vibrant. We’re not creative, like you mentioned. So we really do need that movement to allow for this current of water, you know, to be flowing in and out otherwise, like that stagnation can be really detrimental. And I noticed the same thing whenever I noticed that while I’m feeling maybe a little depressed or if I start to notice I’m feeling anxious, I might not have been as consistent with my physical practice as I should be.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 34:52
And I noticed too with my students, when they stood still when they sing, and they’re not moving there bodies. It’s like they’re stuck in their bodies. And their voices are stuck. Yeah, and just by getting students to move when they’re singing, and no matter, sometimes I’ll give them a silly movement. And I’ll say, pretend you’re the agitator in a washing machine. Now get them to do this kind of like, thing. This is the agitator, and these are the clothes, you know, just getting them to move, the voice starts to move. So there’s a lot to be said not only improves your state of mind, and your creativity and your energy and your attitude, there are so many benefits to just doing something. And now you
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 35:45
You’re one of the first yoga instructors to launch a new online teaching platform. And you have your channel yoga with Kassandra, and you have an online community of almost 3 million subscribers. How did that happen?
Kassandra Reinhardt 36:05
I don’t know. When did you launch? So my first YouTube video, I started in April of 2014. So next April will be 10 years. So I’ve been doing this for a little while, right. And I’ve been very, very consistent. Even in the beginning, you know, it took a long time to get subscribers and to get views. But even when no one was watching, I still put out a video every week, you know, I was still very, I acted as if the people were there, and I just trusted that they would come and that they would find me if the time was right. So I was really, I took it very seriously while still having fun with it. But I really wanted to prioritize that and give it its best shot at succeeding. I also just loved it. Like from the first video that I made, I knew that this was something I wanted to do. And I was really excited about it. So that really helped keep me motivated and energized for those first few years because you’re not really seeing big numbers or anything like that. But that’s that’s it, you know, I started and I just simply did not stop. And I tried to do something new and different every year. And I really tried to challenge myself to grow and to, you know, try new things and to offer new programs are to branch out in different ways just to see what would work a lot didn’t work. Some did. I kept to it those. You know, there’s a lot of ventures that I tried that didn’t pan out, but I really was I let myself be very creative with the endeavor. And yes, slowly but surely here we are with over 2 million subscribers more than that on YouTube. So it’s been really great. And very surreal. Because I never imagined that it would become this popular. There’s no way
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 37:53
Yes, but the what you just said there about consistency. That is key. If you’re going to launch any kind of podcast, YouTube channel, you have to show up every week, or however often you promise the subscribers or the listeners or the viewers that you’re going to turn up, you need to be there. And it will come it will happen. It just takes time. But it takes consistency. And with those sessions that you have on YouTube, how long do they normally go for? Because I know you do yoga sessions on there. So how long are they for? And how successfully? Does does it work for the the actual viewer? I mean, are they getting the same benefits as someone who’s in person in the studio?
Kassandra Reinhardt 38:52
That’s such a good question. So my classes, the lengths vary a lot. I have a lot of 10 minute morning yoga classes, I would say that’s probably one of the things I’m most known for are my short 10 minute sessions. But I also have classes that are up to 90 minutes long. So I really do try to have a wide variety of class lengths for people who want something longer and people want something shorter in terms of what will you get online versus in person. Of course, it’s not the same. But I definitely wouldn’t say that it’s inferior. There are a lot of advantages to teaching online or to doing a class online that you can’t get in person. So of course online, the disadvantage is that you don’t have a teacher they’re in the room with you to be able to physically assist you in each and every pose. That means that there is a greater responsibility for me as an online yoga teacher to make sure that I am crystal clear in the way that I am guiding students in and out of pose. The best compliment I ever get, you know the best way you can make me happy is to tell me that you were able to do my entire yoga class without looking at the video, you know, just by listening to me you were able to do it. That means I did a really, really good job. Yeah, keep you safely. So of course, I’m not there in person, I can’t answer questions directly, I can’t physically assist. However, the benefit, first of all, is that these are free classes. I don’t know how it is in Australia. But here in Canada, yoga classes are expensive, okay, it’s at least $20.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 40:29
Pilates is the same, it’s 30 to $35. A class.
Kassandra Reinhardt 40:34
Exactly, it’s expensive. And you also have to factor in, people have to drive there and back. And for a lot of people, that also means finding childcare, you know, so you’re paying for a babysitter, you’re paying for a class, you’re using gas to get yourself to the studio, like there’s a there’s a great privilege that comes with being able to actually even afford to attend studio classes. So that’s a barrier that gets removed with online, you don’t have to go anywhere, you can practice at home, if your dogs or your toddlers are crawling all over you, it’s totally fine, because no one’s watching anyway. And that’s the other thing that’s really nice. A lot of people hold themselves back from trying yoga, because they worried that they’re not fit enough, they’re not flexible enough, they’re not going to fit in, they’re not going to be comfortable. So giving yourself permission to just do it at home, or you can do it in your pajamas and no one’s looking and it’s all okay, you can just at least give it a try to see if it’s for you. There’s way less pressure with online yoga classes in that sense. And overwhelmingly, if you go to any of my videos, and you read the comments, some of the top comments that you’ll find from people is saying, I’ve been practicing with you everyday for the last three years. No, like I get that all the time, all the time. So it’s different than in person. But I found that, especially with my shorter classes, it’s realistic, it’s practical, and they’re actually able to commit to doing it on a regular basis versus you know, trying to make it out to the studio once a week. So there’s both are great, I highly recommend if you can make it to the studio, do it. It’s super nice to have hands on and in person feedback. But in the meantime, don’t hold yourself back from trying it out. There’s a lot of depth, and a lot of growth that can happen from online and it’s free, which is great.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 42:31
Yes, and you talk about mobility, the benefits of improving flexibility and mobility with morning stretches. So my question is why the morning? And what are some of the most basic stretches we could do? What’s something really basic.
Kassandra Reinhardt 42:50
I mean, I like the morning, you know, of course, people can practice at any time of the day, sometimes I do it in the afternoon, sometimes bedtime. But I do like in the morning to at least get a few quick stretches. It’s less about the physical poses and the stretches themselves. And more about carving time in the morning that is just for you. Like really time where you get to put yourself first you get to think about you know how you’re feeling how you want your day to go, what’s important right now what’s going on with your body like having just that time, especially if you have a very busy day ahead. And you know that during the day, you tend to be very outwardly focused caring for other people working a difficult job, like it’s nice to have that little pause, where you can be the only focus, you know, and really care for yourself and that way. So I do like the morning classes for that, especially because I always try to in my 10 minute morning yoga classes, I always try to get people to choose a one word intention just to set the tone for their day just so there’s a little bit of purpose, you know, purpose and mindfulness and awareness that they can carry with them even when they’re off the yoga mat and just going about their daily lives. So I really liked that. In the morning, super simple poses i would love I don’t know if you’re familiar with cat and cow, but it’s just when you’re on hands and feet. So cat and cow is just when you’re on hands and knees so your hands are under your shoulders, your knees are underneath your hips, like a little table pose. Yes. And then moving, flexing and contracting your spine. So dropping the belly down little cat, like you know how a cat pose when they’re on their backs. Yeah, you’re making that shape. And then your reverse power pose, which is like a backbend. So doing those two poses a few times is a great way to get some movement in the spine. That’s wonderful in the morning to get a big boost of energy. You know, if you’ve been sleeping for long, hopefully, you know 69 hours or so. That’s wonderful, but you can have a lot of stiffness along the spine and if you know you’re going to be sitting a lot, it’s really nice. Just get those movements in and I always do a low lunge. Any kind of lunch in the morning to stretch out your hip flexors is really great. Again, especially if you know you’re going to be sitting in a chair for long periods of time, sitting in a chair is something that can cause a lot of tension and shortening in our hip flexors. So every morning, if we can just try to counteract that and prepare ourselves by doing any kind of simple lunch, that’s really my go to so cat and cow low lunch, those are very simple ones that people can start start doing right away. Pretty much.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 45:31
Yes, I love that. And what if someone feels anxious or stressed? Is there a particular thing they can do to help with that?
Kassandra Reinhardt 45:41
So I would consider this my area of expertise. Because I feel a lot of stress and anxiety. What works, the best for me, is to do a combination of poses that really helped to get the energy moving. And then poses that really relax. So often, when people are talking about yoga for stress, and yoga for anxiety, they’re trying to calm you down with a guided meditation or slow stretches. For me, I find that if I’m really nervous and anxious, I can’t get there yet, I actually need to move and get rid of a big burst of energy, and yet, I can quiet down. Likewise, you can even if you just do jumping jacks, you know, if you just do like 20 Jumping jacks, before you try to do a meditation, or before you try to, you know, do some deep belly breathing, I find it to be much, much, much more beneficial and much more useful in the long run. So get the energy out, do something vigorous, whatever it is like just get your heart pumping a little bit, and then focus on the rest and relaxation and the mindfulness. It’s more effective in my, in my experience anyway,
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 46:55
that’s a great idea. Because I feel like that I feel that when I’m anxious or stressed. I have so much adrenaline. Exactly, exactly. And we’re trying to calm down. Yes, we go, okay, let’s breathe, let’s breathe. But it actually doesn’t always work. So maybe that’s a great thing to do next time, but I feel like that is to do that energy release first and then go into the breathing.
Kassandra Reinhardt 47:25
A couple of push ups, even, you know, doing a little sprint, jumping, jacks, whatever. Just something to not exhaust yourself, but to get that nervous energy out. Because otherwise I find that if I’m really anxious and stressed and I tried to just sit and close my eyes and meditate, there’s so much going on in my head, it’s, I end up feeling worse, because then I feel like oh, it’s not working, nothing’s working, you know. So I feel worse than even before I tried. So yeah, letting the energy out and then getting into your relaxation is really nice.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 47:59
I love that you talk about self care here, because that’s what a lot of this is. And you’re talking about doing these activities in the morning, which is something that I advocate for as well, because I have a morning routine that I set up some years ago, that has absolutely changed my life. And I believe how you set your morning is the tone that you set for the rest of the day. And for me, my morning starts with a meditation, I do some physical activity, which is 10 minutes, then I mean that that doesn’t include what I do at the gym or Pilates. This is just my morning routine before I leave the house, and then I have my gratitude journal. And in that gratitude journal I to set intentions for my day. And it’s incredible how that can just change the way that you approach your day. And in fact, when I go to work people say to me, oh, you know, you’ve got this energy about you. You’re always so positive and you know how the, you’re just like this ever ready battery. You’re just on charge all the time. And I you know what I say to people, I work at it every day. Right? Yes. It doesn’t happen by accident. Yeah. Yeah, I’m very intentional around that. I want to feel good. I want to feel positive. I want to have a good mindset. And especially if it’s a day of teaching where and you know, when you’re working with clients or you’re working with students You’re doing those eight hour days, where you have people that are relying on you, and you’re giving so much of yourself, you have to have something in the tank for you.
Kassandra Reinhardt 50:14
Yeah, definitely. Especially if you’re being influenced by other people’s energies and moods, you know, it’s like, it’s nice to have your own base level of wear hat. But it’s nice, you know, because you’re touching on something that’s so important, which is discipline, you know, we think of discipline often as motivation. But the two are very different motivation wanes, you know, waxes and wanes, sometimes we’re in the mood, and sometimes we’re not, sometimes it’s easy, and it feels natural to do our routines and to do our self care practices, it’s effortless. And sometimes it’s really hard. And for some reason or another, we don’t feel like it. But discipline is what keeps you going, you know, and keeps you accountable, and keeps that battery charged, you know, but it’s, I’m glad, I’m glad you tell them that you work at it. And then it’s not just you being naturally blessed, because I do think that’s a common misconception, like, joy and positivity, you know, optimism, like, these are things that I think I have, but I work at it, and I work at it, I probably wouldn’t be this joyful. If I didn’t have so many practices that help anchor me and, you know, like you like I work with gratitude a lot and intention setting, it matters, it makes a huge difference.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 51:33
Yes. And sometimes to I love another thing, I call it. Segment intending. Okay, oh, I’m gonna teach you the, okay. So it’s like, just say, you’ve been at work all day. And you’ve been in that mindset, okay, I’ve been at work. And then you arrive home, and you’re stepping into your domestic part of your life, could be you have a partner at home, or some people may have their children at home. And so when you get home, you take a moment in the car, to set the intention for the next segment in your life. Oh, I love that. So that way you leave the office in the car. And then you step into the person that you want to become going into that next segment of your life. It could even be now I’ve done this recently. I had a difficult student recently. And I was starting to feel a little like, oh, gosh, I’ve got the student again, come in like and she’s come in 10 minutes time. Yeah. So I started setting the intention that I was going to surround her with love. So I just went, I am surrounding you with love. Now, can I tell you that next lesson, was the complete opposite of every other lesson that I’ve had with that student, you know, so setting the intention could be you going into a business meeting? And tension is that you want to have a favorable outcome for all parties. You know, so yes, that’s segment intending.
Kassandra Reinhardt 53:39
I love that. I’m definitely going to implement that. That’s nice.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 53:43
There are times you need to I believe in life. Yeah, there are times, too. But anyway, we’re getting off the track here. So what are the things that you do for self care other than yoga? What are the practices? Do you have?
Kassandra Reinhardt 54:00
something I do every day, I do go for a 30 minute walk every single day. I’ve done that for years. I don’t feel quite right. If I don’t walk every day, that’s a really I find I get my best ideas. When I’m walking like I process things a lot better. So definitely a 30 minute walk usually around 10am is when I’ll go do that. And every night before bed, I journal a little bit. So just a few sentences every day. But because it’s so short, I have been able to stick with it and to be consistent. I’m going on this is the fifth year now of me doing it every single day. So that’s been really that’s been really good. So I do that. Those are probably the main ones that I’m the most consistent with on a day to day basis.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 54:46
And they’re all short. You say that? Yeah, that’s what I think people where they get it wrong, is that their goals are unattainable. Yeah. And then they set themselves up for failure and they give up whereas, like my, usually my meditations are 10 minutes. Yeah. And I just scroll through YouTube. And I just find something that resonates with me that morning. Yeah, 10 minutes, maybe on the weekend, it might be a 15 minute one, my little exercise regime might only take 10 minutes, my gratitude journal might only take me 10 minutes while I’m eating breakfast. They’re not big chunks of time. But they
Kassandra Reinhardt 55:29
have a big impact, huge
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 55:31
impact, huge impact. And as I said, especially voice teachers that are listening, when you’re giving so much of yourself, you need to have something in the tank for you. Yeah. And when you’re teaching those long days, that last student should have the same level of teaching that the first student has. Just because you only have half a tank. That’s, you know, that student is still paying full price, they don’t get a discount for your half a tank. That’s so true. Yeah. So you need to take care of yourself, you need to have practices in place that makes you turn up as your best. And that allows you to to hold safe spaces for other people. When you’re doing the work on yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, it allows you to hold space for others to be authentic and genuine to now you have these beautiful cards, as well. We talked about your cards, and they are I radiate joy, Daily Affirmation cards, so tell us how they came about and how they work. And maybe you need to pull a card on me. Okay.
Kassandra Reinhardt 56:59
This is like I love tarot cards, oracle decks, affirmation cards, so I really jumped on this opportunity to create my own. But it ties into this idea of setting an intention every day, that’s something that I like to do. And I like to work with a lot of affirmations, I find that they’re a really great way to quiet down my inner critic, and to put a more positive spin on my internal dialogue. So something that I’ll do more most days is to just draw a card from my deck and to have that be my affirmation for my day and my intention for the day. So the suit or the deck is built out of four different suits, that all revolve around health. So physical health affirmations for physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health. So all in they’re very holistic and simple and easy to use. So the way that I use them most of the time is to just pick one at the beginning of the day, to help it set my tone and to set the intention for the day. I also like to use them in my yoga practice. So either picking a card before I start my practice to, again, set the intention for the practice itself, like for this yoga class, or something that I’ve also done is to kind of pick a card propose in a yin yoga class. And to like, internally repeat that affirmation as I’m practicing the post. So a million different ways that you can practice with them. But I’m very, very, very happy with them. And it feels very surreal to actually have my very own deck that’s out in stores and everywhere, and I can go pick one, but I have to go get my tickets over there.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 58:39
That’s okay. That’s okay. Yes, let’s do this. All right. I’ll share with the listeners that I was given a deck of cards not so long ago, where you have to pull two cards, you have to think about a problem. Or set an intention around something that you’re going through in your life. And you pull two cards randomly. And I’ve never done anything like this before. And I don’t look at the cards when I shuffle them but it’s the weirdest thing. I will feel a current go up my arm when it’s the right card. And these cards, kick me in the butt. Like they tell me honestly. Even something I don’t want to hear but I know to be the truth. They give it to me. Oh my god. Yes. Yeah, but I don’t do them every day. I just do them randomly when I feel like I’m stuck. Yeah, and and they speak the truth. So people who think this is woowoo I tell you what, you want to get yourself some cards and have them too Have you?
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:00:01
Oh yeah, try it out. You don’t lose any trying it.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:00:05
And then there was when I was handed the cards. There were two women at another table who saw me with the cards. And they asked me to pull the cards for them. And I’d only just been given them I wasn’t sure what I was doing. But once again, I trusted and I felt this energy radiate up my arm when I when the card was in my hand that needed to be pulled. You pulled two. And both of them cried. Oh, because it, it was spot on. How weird is that? I mean, you you wouldn’t say it’s weird because it’s lovely synchronicity.
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:00:49
Yeah, it meant that there was great meaning for them. Okay, I’ve shuffled. I’m just gonna pick one. Yes, I picked the spiritual suits. Yes. It says I have all the answers within me. And then your affirmation that I picked is, I trust that my life is unfolding exactly as it should. This card here, I trust that my life is unfolding exactly as it should. So that is your affirmation.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:01:19
Okay. Well, well, I kind of feel like on this show, I just talk openly. I share sometimes I overshare. But I feel like I’m going through a really big shift in my life. And that is what my cards have been telling me is to trust to know that I had the answers within me. And to let go.
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:01:53
not always an easy one.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:01:55
That’s what I mean, the carbs have been kicking me in the butt and you just kicked me again. Sorry. You kicked me when I was in the curb with the other
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:02:07
with supports, support and acknowledge that everything’s gonna be okay. Your life is unfolding exactly as
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:02:15
it is I’m going through. I don’t I don’t know. It’s like the word energetic shift came to me the other day. I don’t even know what that means.
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:02:26
Okay, that’s interesting. I wonder how that’s going to come up for you. You’ll probably gain more clarity around it with time.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:02:33
Yes. So it’s just like, I am going through a massive shift, a massive change in my life right now. There’s so many things that are happening. And yeah, so I’m just trying to embrace the chest and let go. Trust that everything that needs to happen will happen in the way that that it should do and needs to.
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:02:58
Wonderful. I believe it. I believe that for you.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:03:01
You have two books as well. You have a journey, like your yoga journey, which is a guided journal, and your of yoga and yin yoga. So am I getting those right there with Mandela publishing?
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:03:19
Yes, yes, that’s right. Yep. With the cards. So at the same time that we came out with the I radiate Joy deck, we also came out with the my yoga journey guided journal. And, you know, we’ve been talking about this throughout the whole podcast, but the journal was really to help people take two minutes before they practice and two minutes after they practice. So one to set the tone, to set an intention to reflect on how they’re feeling right now. And then after their practice, to take the time to write down something that they’re grateful for, and to further reflect on how their practice has shifted them. So super simple, short practices, because again, that’s what I think helps people be the most consistent, yeah, what’s effective and meaningful enough just to help them like deepen their experience of their yoga practice so that it’s not mindless, you know, that they can really be fully present to the experience. So that’s the yoga journey journal. So very simple. Two minutes before your mats and two minutes when you’re done class. And then a few or six months before those came out. We I my newest book came out year of yoga, which is just like a beautiful labor of love that I put together. So lots of classes and sequences and practices that you can do that are aligned with the seasons and with the lunar phases. And because like because I’m an online yoga teacher, of course, all the classes, the sequences are laid out in the book with pictures, but I also added a QR code and a website that people can go to, and they can follow along with the online yoga class version of that sequence. So you can either do it via video, or you can just follow along with the book because I wanted to, I just wanted to make the book a little bit extra Special. So I really love that one.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:05:02
Sounds beautiful. I love that that aligns with the lunar
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:05:08
and the seasons. Yeah, exactly.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:05:11
Amazing. So what are you up to next?
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:05:15
So, right now I’m actually working my next project is going to be a training for yoga teachers to teach how I personally seem sequence and Cue my yoga classes. So it’s like a continuing education training program. I finished filming and editing it now. Now, we just have to work on building the training manual to go along with it. And hopefully, I’ll be ready to have that out sometime in the fall. But I really liked doing training programs for instructors just to help them refine their skills, and maybe tackle any gaps that they might have in their training. I find that’s really fun. And I love to talk about cueing and sequencing and coming up with really creative themes for your classes. So that’s my next my next big project in the way.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:06:07
And in wrapping up, do you have any advice for our listeners in regards to self care or to yoga, or anything you feel that you would like to share with them that will help them?
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:06:22
Well, I think a guiding philosophy that has always helped me, there’s kind of two, I always come back to this quote, a rising tide lifts all boats. So this idea of turning towards or turning comparison or competition into collaboration, right? So if especially if you are in a field where a lot of other people are doing the same kind of thing that you’re doing, you know, maybe you get a little bit competitive, I don’t know if it’s the same as a vocal coach, but yoga teachers can certainly experience you know, I mean, applies for the whole thing. So I try to stay grounded in that a rising tide lifts all boats, what’s good for others is good for me. I want other people to be successful. I want to be other people’s cheerleaders, I do believe that that energy gets redirected back to me. And I do come back to this other quote, which I think is Gabby Bernstein. And it’s a great heart. Love her. Yeah, a grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. I really try to hold that. You know, we’ve talked about gratitude a lot. But that’s a really great anchoring point. Even when things are very difficult. If you focus on what you do have and what is going well, it can really help to call more of that in your life. So that’s probably what I would what I would have done.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:07:47
Well, Kassandra, we’re going to share all your links in the show notes to your books, your cards, your website, to your YouTube channel, anything that you would like our listeners to have access to. I appreciate your time. I’ve loved spending time with you and talking to you about all this stuff. I’ve learned a lot about yoga. I hope our listeners will listen to this with an open mind and an open heart also. So thank you again, best wishes with everything and look forward to connecting sometime in the future.
Kassandra Reinhardt 1:08:29
Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. It was a lovely discussion
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:08:33
show was Thank you. Bye.
Dr Marisa Lee Naismith 1:08:39
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of a voice and beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you’d like to help me, please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of a voice and beyond.