To my body

which regularly travels three continents, and traverses the diverse cultural constructs found there.

To my body which has been groundlessly shamed, in spite of the protection all loved ones have placed around me.

To my body, which has endured sexual abuse, both above and under the influence, in youth and maturity.

To my body that dances through the madness and heals even as it terembles.

To my body, which has been attacked and battered without provocation, and in spite of my attempts of self defense.

To my body, which I have have abused, and occasionally still do, and hope never to do again. And again. And again.
To my body that practices, sustains, and grows with every breath and cycle.

To my body, that is so much blood and bone, fat and muscle. That is skin and other organs in and out that deal with the world and taking it in.

To my body, and your body, you deserve so much more than destruction.  I hope you know your beauty. I hope you live your strength.


As a yoga teacher and a body worker, I strive at all times to provide my students and clients with a safe space. By the time I came to yoga, at the age of 14, I had already endured sexual abuse. It was my discovery of my body through yoga and dance, and the help of a loving community, that allowed me to move forward. Capoeira was my next step along the path, and was my island of safety during an eating disorder, PTSD, and the process of recovery.

The wound is the place where the light enters you. – Rumi

This evening, I was body shamed, for being “half-naked” in some of my recent yoga pictures. I then deleted almost all of those pictures from Instagram. With the unfaltering support of my partner and husband, and after an emotional conversation with a dear friend in Australia, who pointed out to me I have nothing to be ashamed of, I wrote this and decided to show myself again… Not for pity or approbation, but because I know I’m not alone. I know there are other people who have faced greater obstacles in finding center and over come them. All I can do is bear witness in my life to my struggle and maybe, in doing so, I will affirm the struggle of others.

If my words sound familiar, no matter what your body type, history or status, please know you are not alone. Please know that agency is yours for the taking. Claim your power. Know your beauty. Release pride for a deeper awareness; you are not better because you aren’t someone else, you are amazing because of who you are.

And, now that I have shown you much of my inner self, with words that still terrify me as I submit them to public view, I am finally going to bed. And I am posting some of those pictures I took down. Thanks for reading.

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free from all suffering. May you share your gifts with the world, and may you know your true self in this lifetime.

Kayla Ankeny, SahajaSoma

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Into the desert

I never really thought I would like the desert. I always just assumed it would be a dry, empty, hot place. I love lush green places. I love trees, which is quite evident if you check out my earlier post about AIR Yogalates teacher training. After moving to Morocco, I decided I had to see the Sahara before I left the journeybeginscountry. Just so I could have done it, you know, bucket list style. The opportunity to visit the desert came this year with my friends, Ashley and Kris. They came to visit me in Morocco on a grand tour of Europe. We spent a few days in Casablanca, then we took off to Marrakech. Where we relaxed, ate, shopped, haggled, drank oj, got henna done in that order 😉 . Now, for those of you know doIMG_4502n’t know, Marrakech this time of year is HOT. The Sahara is also HOT. I was told several times that this plan was a little crazy. Especially since it is Ramadan, but who knows when my peeps will get back to Morocco. We spent the night in a Riad. Mine was Riad Khol which was an absolutely beautiful. The modern Moroccan twist on décor, the friendly staff, and the icy pool water were so refreshing coming in from the streets of the Souk. I love seeing my friends faces light up the first time that they see the Jmal el fna for the first time.IMG_4508 The lights, the sounds, the call to prayer hanging on the wind. This is the magic of the Medina in Marrakech. The next morning, we woke up super early to meet with Khaled, our guide from Sahara Services. The tour was expensive for Morocco, but I will say I think I got my money’s worth, and happily reccomend the investment.  Check out http://saharaservices.info/product/sahara-highlights/ if you are interested. In order to get to the Sahara, you have to cross the high Atlas Mountains, the anti-Atlas Mountains, and then quite a bit of terrain before you arrive the dunes. In the High Atlas Mountains there can be snow, pine tress, and thunder storms. The road is one of the most dangerous in the world, but is it ever amazing. 1

Once we arrived in the desert, I was struck by the peace and wonder I experienced. I had not anticipated falling in love with a dry, hot, sandy expanse of land, but there is so there to be experienced. We all felt totally peaceful, calm, and amazed. Camels moved acorss the land as their owners, nomads to this day, search for good grazing land. Donkeys, which I never found particularly attractive before, have a certain charm on the dunes. Mice with long tails scurry around at night. We saw sand storms, then lightning and rain, then sand storms again. We played music with our guides and I learned some words in Berber. We learned how to dance Desert berber style and were up until two in the morning with our guides, who mostly grew up as nomads in the region. IMG_4748

Nomad family in the desert

Nomad family in the desert

For the first time in my life I saw what must have been the milkey way with the naked eye. I slept beneath the stars until a gust of wind blew my pillow from under me as I changed positions. Yes, I chased after my pillow in the middle of the night in the Sahara. Our guides laughed at that one for a while the next morning. I learned how to tie a turban. We met a nomad family and I played hide and go seek and did down dog with the kiddos.

Kayla Ankeny, SahajaSoma

*Vinyasa Yoga * Aerial Yoga * Acro Yoga JAMbassador * Dance * Therapeutic Massage* World Music * Capoeira*

For your listening pleasure….

listeningA bunch of students have asked me to share my yoga and pilates playlists with them so here are two of the ones I use the most frequently. Hope you enjoy 🙂 Vinyasa

Pilates

Kayla Ankeny, SahajaSoma

*Vinyasa Yoga * Aerial Yoga * Acro Yoga JAMbassador * Dance * Therapeutic Massage* World Music * Capoeira*

Too busy for yoga class: The cinch fight

Wouldn’t it be great if you could make it to class every day? Sadly, life gets in the way at times. I understand, all yoga teachers do, and can relate. I am starting a series of little ideas to help you move through whatever is blocking you from moving forward. Today I would like to focus on breaking the cycle of immobility.

Give yourself a cinch fight

Have you ever had a day when everything seemed to go wrong? Like the cards were straight up stacked against you? Maybe you procrastinated for so long things have piled up and you aren’t sure how to proceed effectively.  Or perhaps you just feel depressed…and the most reasonable thing to do would be to curl up in a ball and cry, or drink hot cocoa or something stronger (or some combination there of).I would like to offer you one of my favourite ways of getting myself motivated. I give myself a cinch win.

A cinch fight is a term from community organising. Let’s say you are trying to get a group of people to take action on a certain issue, but the obstacles in front of them just feel so huge to them that they have no forward momentum. Morale is at an all time low, everything feels futile. You have to find a way to un-freeze the folks you are helping to mobilise so you set up a cinch win. You give the group you are working with a task to do that you know they will be successful in carrying out.

A cinch fight is a manipulative technique- see the link provided above- but it can be effective. In this situation I invite you to use it in order to help motivate you to move forward. You can’t just fight the battles that are easy to win, but sometimes, if you are feeling down or overwhelmed it is good to feel successful just to get the ball rolling. So, what can you do to make yourself feel just a little successful?

  • 10 jumping jacks
  • walk around the block
  • do a mini yoga practice
  • brush your teeth (it couldn’t hurt)
  • make a to do list
  • drink a glass of water
  • do a handstand or head stand against the wall for a few seconds
  • (fill in the blank here with what ever makes you feel good…)

One more thing, if you are feeling like all you can do is nothing, it maybe that you just need to trust that instinct and do exactly that, nothing. Take a moment and integrate all of your experiences into the present moment. Breathe. You got this.