Ottawa Yoga Teacher Profile - Kelly Trimm
Updated: May 7
I first took a class with Kelly a little over a year ago, and it has always remained in my memory as a unique experience, one in which I truly began to learn how to move mindfully. What first astounded me about Kelly is her encyclopedic knowledge of human anatomy and biomechanics. I'd never heard a teacher cue her students with such precision, and I found it incredibly helpful and awe-inspiring. I've since attended many of Kelly's classes and she is a teacher like no other.
As fate would have it, Kelly began practicing yoga after receiving an email promotion and deciding to follow up and attend a class. She was drawn to yoga as a way to deal with anxiety and quit smoking. She then became a regular student at what was then Santosha Yoga on Elgin St., and started volunteering there as well. One year later, she completed her teacher training in the Baron Baptiste style of yoga with one of his master students, and began teaching shortly thereafter at what had now become Elevate Yoga (formerly Santosha). She currently teaches at and manages Elevate Yoga.
Following her initial teacher training, Kelly realized the fast flowing style of Baptiste Yoga was not quite for her. Although she learned a great deal, especially how they deconstructed postures, her unease with the fast pace led her to study with a local, senior Iyengar Yoga teacher, and Kelly feels this is where she learned the essence and foundation of yoga. This is what propelled her into teaching "alignment yoga", which emphasizes safety and a solid foundation. Her ultimate goal is to become an Iyengar certified teacher.
Over the course of our conversation, Kelly shared that she connects strongly with the spiritual aspects of yoga: learning to get comfortable with discomfort and knowing that nothing needs to be "fixed"; and getting to know yourself on a deeper level. Yoga taught her mindfulness: why did she need to smoke? It also taught her to deal with her anxiety instead of masking it, and to not run away from her feelings.
In her classes, Kelly also focuses on building community and creating a learning environment that's comfortable for everyone, where students can also support one another and learn from each other. She never tries to be someone she isn't. She does what she believes is right and safe and aims to keep her students out of harm's way. Kelly feels there is a certain level of humility that must come with teaching yoga. Yoga teachers have a huge responsibility towards their students to help them practice in as safe a way as possible. She believes teachers need to constantly see themselves as students and admit when they don't know something. It's ok to not know everything - no one does.
In an increasingly commercialized environment, Kelly had to reconcile being comfortable with her style of teaching. She teaches her students how to do a pose by breaking it down to its basic components - if you don't get the foundation right, you can't advance, at least not safely. Kelly's classes are indeed unique, and I'm so grateful she chooses to be who she is and teach what she believes is safe and effective.
Kelly also brought up a very interesting point in our conversation. Due to the constant "sexualizing" of the human body, she feels that being able to assist students with hands-on adjustments has become somewhat of a minefield, and students are losing out on assistance that can be very helpful. She feels male yoga teachers are in an especially difficult position, as any type of touch could be misconstrued. This has, of course, seeped into the classroom. Kelly feels there should be a "de-sexualizing" of the body in yoga practice that simply focuses on moving the body safely and effectively while de-emphasizing any kind of sexual overtones so that students aren't losing out on what could be very helpful assistance, by both male and female teachers.
Fiercely dedicated to her students and to the practice of yoga, Kelly is, in my opinion, one of Ottawa's best yoga teachers. I've learned a lot from her in a short time, and steal from her constantly in my own teaching (I've admitted this to her). Kelly is unapologetically herself, and doesn't try to fit into any kind of imposed mass-market mold of what a yoga teacher should be. She teaches from the heart and empowers her students with her passion, caring and depth of knowledge. You can find her at Elevate Yoga (298 Elgin St.). She teaches on Mondays, 10:30 - 11:30 am; Tuesdays, 12:00-12:45 pm and 4:30 - 5:30 pm; Thursdays, 10:30 - 11:30 am; Fridays, 12:00-12:45 pm and 4:30 - 5:30 pm and Saturdays, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm.