There's no question that sticking to a yoga practice has countless benefits, but add a fitness routine to that equation, and you might as well call yourself a superhero. Just ask Alo Om-bassador (slash double threat) Kenzie Morley—she was always into fitness, but it wasn't until she found yoga that she unleashed her full potential. The self-taught yogi now integrates both into her practice and swears by the winning combo of physical health and strength and mental well-being. With an e-book on the way and teaching certifications in the works, she's spreading her love for yoga and fitness in a major way. We caught up with Kenzie to chat about her journey on the mat, the magic of combining two different workouts and a newfound kindness that's changed her world.
You were big into fitness before you got into yoga. What drew you to yoga, specifically?
I honestly found yoga on Instagram! I had taken a few yoga classes here and there and done P90X yoga, but never loved it. I thought yoga was just boring stretching. Then, I started following a few fitness accounts on Instagram, and a major yoga account popped up. I looked at more accounts, and I couldn't believe what I was seeing—I had no idea yoga could be so fun, beautiful and challenging. The control yogis had blew my mind. I thought I was strong, but I was nothing compared to these yogis. I also loved the community around yoga and how accepting and encouraging everyone was. So I committed to a self-taught practice. It's been three years and I haven't stopped since. I love what yoga teaches me about myself and others. What drew me to yoga were the physical aspects, but the most important changes yoga has made in my life are anything but physical. My perspective on life has changed for the better.
Yoga and fitness both play a huge part in your life. How do they work harmoniously together?
I added in yoga immediately after my workouts, and I have learned that the two are meant for each other. Fitness and strength training keep me active and my heart healthy, as I still do a lot of HIIT, running and cardio, but yoga has strengthened my core and body way beyond anything my normal training would. It's gives me a new awareness of my body and muscles, and the flexibility has everything to do with my range of motion when I lift. Yoga maintains my body and mind's health and stability and makes me so much stronger, balanced, flexible and controlled—all characteristics a fitness guru should have. It's also helped extinguish knee pain I was having and further prevent other injuries. I literally think yoga and fitness have to be done together now. That's the message I'm trying to get out!
You’re working on an e-book! What made you want to write one?
I've discovered how yoga and fitness complement each other. I'm working specific muscle groups in my workout, then practicing related skills right after in my yoga practice. I get asked about how I mesh yoga and fitness together all the time—everyone wants to know how I fit an intense workout and intense yoga practice into an hour every day, so that I can still fulfill all my full-time mom duties at home (and work!). This book will help beginners (and intermediates) start their fitness and yoga journey the way I believe it should be done—together. And my book will answer all the questions I've ever been asked from followers, which are usually all the same questions—about my workouts, yoga and even how I eat.
What has yoga taught you since you began your practice?
Oh gosh, everything. Patience, with myself and others. Not to judge. To be so much more accepting and open to people and their beliefs. Not to compare myself anymore. These are things I use to do all the time—be impatient, judge others, compare myself constantly. Now, I don't. It's liberating to be so comfortable with who you are and what you stand for that nothing can shake you. It rubs off on people, and you want to share that feeling.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your yoga practice and how did you overcome it?
Probably becoming "bendy." I'm not naturally bendy as far as backbends and open-shoulder poses go—I was strong before, but never bendy. I've had to work so hard on my spinal flexibility, and it continues to be a challenge. But I know it requires dedication, practice and patience. I also had to stop comparing myself to people who could touch their heads to their butts! I've accepted that that just may never be in my practice, and it's okay!
Also, working through an injury can be really frustrating. I tore my hamstring a couple years back, and it was so hard to have the patience to be careful, when I just wanted to continue doing everything I had been doing before. I felt like I was being held back. But the injury taught me to look at a hard situation as an opportunity to focus on other skills that didn't affect my leg—things like backbends! I learned patience, to be more careful with my body and to not overwork myself. It took a whole year of careful physical therapy and self-practice to get back to 100%.
Who inspires you in your own practice and why?
Anyone who follows me knows that my ultimate inspiration is my friend Erin Kelly. I found her a couple years ago on Instagram and have been so lucky to get to hang out with her a few times in LA now. She is everything I love about yoga—her movements are authentic and she drips creativity, which makes sense because she's a painter and an artist too. She is shorter than me and such a tiny, beautiful thing, but she is the strongest girl I know, and she makes it look effortless. She has been so nice to me, to let me study her practice. She's like a virtual mentor.
Who are some of your favorite yogis to follow on Instagram?
What hopes do you have for 2018?
I can't wait to release my e-book. I'm going to get my 200-hour yoga teacher training, and I want to become a certified personal trainer too. I want to travel and share my love and yoga, and I also want to be more present in my mom life.