A conversation with muse Kyla Flegg
Atop coastal cliffs, in the golden evening sunlight, we spoke to physiotherapist and yoga teacher Kyla Flegg. Our conversation reflected on the importance of connecting with our bodies, challenging our energies into constructive routines, and the exuberant joy we find in nature - easy, as we bathed in the dusksy light, summer warmth and the distant sound of the sea.
Do you know your skin type? Has it changed in your adult life and if so, how?
I have very changeable skin. I used to suffer from really bad acne, which knocked my confidence so much. I tried using every product under the sun, and it was only when I started meditation that it changed. Our hormones are so in tune with the natural world, with the mood and the tides and the environment, that it makes perfect sense to tune into these when caring for our skin.
Stress, anxiety, and all the products of our fast lives were really aggravating factors for my skin, and using meditation to get deep down within, to access the parts of yourself which you can learn to calm and nurture, restore and relax, that's what I needed. I never used to stop, never used to put myself first, tune in and figure out what I needed... This, along with using a good exfoliator, and the Basho face oils calmed my crazy skin down. I was always so nervous to use oil but that was all it needed - calming and natural and balancing. In tune with nature, and in tune with myself.
Do you have a creative discipline or passion which you dedicate your time to, and how does it impact your health and wellbeing ?
Part of my creative discipline is my work. I am a Physio and Yoga teacher, and I find each person I work with needs a whole different mix of creativity and understanding to connect with and manage to help them heal. Understanding their emotional and physical landscape, and finding a way to get through to them in the way they will understand. Almost like finding a new way through their landscape..
Yoga is my physically creative passion! I feel (after many many years of finding it really challenging) that I can find myself in the moments and the flows and the patterns which allow my busy monkey mind to slow down and formulate my thoughts into ones which are clear and distinct. I also love drawing. With my pencil and my sketchbook I can spend hours watching things and capturing them… mainly shadows and plants and the sea. I make Malas too - The 108 beaded meditation tools which I teach meditation workshops with. I find them incredible tools to facilitate meditation. I am a real fiddler and so I find having a tactile tool which can help me find the deeper parts of myself, the still warmth and coolness of spirit and the softness of heart. I also love playing the piano and guitar. I have done for years and years and it takes me to the most wonderful places in my mind, where it can just flow through me and I don't have to THINK!
When do you feel your most radiant self?
I feel my most radiant self when I am teaching yoga! Being on the mat and helping all of my students to relax, to be in their bodies, to FEEL and learn their internal landscapes.... that makes me so so happy. And my work. Educating people about their bodies and minds and patterns. Teaching people it’s OK to stop, to rest and that rest is just as important. We are human beings not human doings mannnn.
Emerging from the salty sea after surfing, wild hair and salty eyes, finding the sandy earth again after bobbing around on the water for ages, shining eyes and a clean soul....After swimming at Grebe or Scotts quay, coming out of the golden water, alone, quiet, soft and meditating there, radiant all over...
After giving myself really good face massage every night with my basho rejuvenating oil…
Do you have any self-care rituals that ground, nourish or energise you?
Meditation. every morning. And breathing. I find whenever I feel discombobulated it is because I am not in my body. I am lost in some scrambled thought process cross over, and the only way I have found which works really well is to do the Mala meditation and then I am back, steady. Grounding myself, every day! I take my coffee outside; up to my deck or to the river - 5 minutes away from my house - outside as long as it isn't howling and raining - and I have my Mala beads and I do my meditation. This grounds, nourishes and energises me, more than doing a purely physical yoga practice. I do some of that too, but it’s a little sparkle of self care which makes every day that little bit more present, and capable.
I love showering and using my oils and breathing in the smells of what I use. I have gone completely away from chemical products. I try and treat this as a ritual rather than just something else to rush through.
What is beauty to you?
To me, beauty is Love. And love is infinite. The love in the eyes and the touch and the movements and the smiles of people. People who are who they are, who are working through their shit and learning to have compassion for themselves and for everyone around them. Beauty is acceptance and Love. Beauty is being in the moment, fully and completely - when it’s messy and hard and when it’s still and peaceful. Beauty is being able to sit with the sunrise and the sunset, to feel yourself stretched into the moment and being OK. Beauty is walking along the coast path at Gunwale and as you come up the path the sea explodes the horizon and fills your eyes with absolute light and space and air. The sun on the ocean, the sun sparkles, feet in the sand wash again and again by the waves... the hands held on the sandy long walks and the connections we make talking and walking. I have become increasingly disconnected with the beauty in things.... like that saying goes, true beauty is not in things it is in US...
How do you reconnect when you're feeling out of touch with yourself?
JUMP IN THE SEA! I feel like living by the sea is one of the most precious things ever. I love the freezing cold icy world, even if it is just on my toes! It brings me back to myself and makes me (squeal!!) and smile.
SURFING! Getting battered by the waves makes me remember the true place of things. How it all fits together.
I spent a lot of my 20's feeling like I wasn't good enough, like I failed at everything and really just had missed the plot on all levels. I felt like I couldn't connect to myself, didn't trust my own little voice, couldn't make decisions and generally felt a little lost and confused. Yoga practice brought me back to myself. The painful but beautiful body awareness and being present with what was going on inside my own internal landscape, learning this made me feel like I finally had some kind of map reading tool which would allow me to navigate. Not just the moving but the meditation really helps. If you can figure out why you've lost touch, then spending time alone and learning your lost touch patterns is the best thing ever. I’ve got so much better at this as I’ve got older... I also love spending time with my women crew. They hold the space for me and we walk in the woods and swim in the sea and they remind me who I am. Babes.
How do you embrace your own sense of womanhood?
SELF LOVE. Embracing who I am as a woman and who I am as a person. Using this body and mind to help others reconnect with themselves and my real mission to make people see their worth, and FEEL it. Teaching yoga and doing my physio practice, teaching meditation, I see womanhood as nurturing, as holding space, as knowing yourself and knowing the light so you can show other people. It’s not about selling and boasting and dragging but just shining some light of awareness on what the deep truths and deep longings are, so they can come up and shine!
(I also love to eat loads of dark cinnamon chocolate dipped in turmeric tea... ;)
Is there an inspiring or empowering poem or quote that you could share with us?
LOVE IS INFINITE
HOLD THE VISION. TRUST THE PROCESS.
YOU ARE ENOUGH
This is my favourite poem ever....
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -over and over announcing your place in the family of things.