Celeste is a certified Kundalini Yoga & Prenatal teacher sharing since 2005. Known as the Yoga of Awareness, she uses tools from the ancient technology of Kundalini Yoga to help others awaken and access their highest consciousness and cultivate the desire to live from this expanded energy ever present inside each of us.
Raised in a family that honors love, natural health, nutrition and the innate power of the body, Celeste strives to remind us that we have the ability to heal and achieve anything we wish. She has a Bachelor's degree in Holistic Health from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. She feels blessed that her parents practiced Kundalini Yoga while she was in the womb and believes it led her to LOVE teaching prenatal yoga to women as they connect deeply with their babies! Her first childhood memory is of her younger sister being born at home. These formative experiences led her to pursue being a doula (labor support), childbirth educator, and a leader in empowering women to birth intuitively and fearlessly. She teaches annually at the Texas Yoga Retreat in Austin. Her journey into motherhood has also birthed a new adventure of leading Mother Love Circles & Spiritual Sisterhood gatherings/retreats. She currently teaches her classes & workshops in Tulsa, where she lives with her husband and children. Celeste originally got her Kundalini Yoga certification in California with Guru Rattana and has recently trained with Internationally recognized Ravi Singh & Ana Brett.
1. How long have you been practicing yoga, and Kundalini Yoga in particular? How long have you been teaching yoga?
I’ve been practicing for 15 years, I am in my 13th year teaching Kundalini Yoga. I’ve been teaching prenatal yoga for about 11 years.
2. What drew you to Kundalini Yoga specifically?
The Spirituality, the tangible energetics experienced when practiced, the chanting and its euphoric effects, the meditation after a yoga set feels easy & automatic…I could go on but what is interesting is that I first experienced Kundalini Yoga in my mother’s womb. My folks were in Atlanta, GA at Chiropractic College, and practiced it regularly with a Sikh friend (he wore a turban and they met in the early “ambrosial hours” of the morning). They moved to Arkansas when I was one, and I was never exposed to it specifically growing up. After graduating college I re-discovered it and let’s just say it was an “AH HA, this is what I have been missing” kind of experience. Finding it in my 20’s was like a re-activation of something that had been laid down at what I now know to be a most crucial phase in forming who we are on this earth (science now shows so much is formed in the womb, i.e. taste buds, personality, sleep habits & more).
3. Can some fundamentals of Kundalini Yoga be worked into a more traditional Vinyasa-style studio class?
Yes! This is a fabulous question – it’s one of my current missions to spread Kundalini Yoga to more people. Kundalini Yoga has a plethora of short pranayamas, meditations & exercises that are fast-acting and could be integrated deliciously into a more classical Hatha style class.
I hope you check out our EYS Kundnalini Yoga Continuing Education training in November!
4. Why is it important for new yoga teachers to get introduced to different styles of yoga practice?
Mainly because the tradition of Yoga is so very diverse…One of the most common things I hear is that “I can’t do yoga, I am not flexible.” And that shows how much our culture has made yoga into this very physical thing. When you read (the Yoga Sutras by) Patanjali, one of the first lines describing yoga has to do with stilling the constant waves of thought in our mind. Yogi Bhajan said, “if flexibility of posture is the only yoga, then people in the circus are the best yogis.”
In general, I am a big fan of trying new styles of yoga to see how your body, mind and spirit respond to not only other styles, but also new teachers.
5. You are a Birth Doula, and you also teach Prenatal Yoga. What got you interested in that?
It goes back to those formative years, when I was 3.5 years old my sister was born at home and I remember that day vividly, buttoning my blue jeans as I walked up the stairs to a new family member and then the image of my sister laying on my mother’s chest in the midwife prepared herbal bath. This experience is seared in my mind and planted a seed that sprouted about the same time I was re-introduced to Kundalini Yoga…I’m all of a sudden reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Zora Neal Hurston, “There are years that ask questions and there are years that answer.” Anyway, the more research I do, the more I learn that the time in the womb, birth and our first year on this planet are beyond crucial in determining the adults we become. So I have dedicated much of my life & profession to this time period! I could talk your ear off about this topic so please reach out to me if it interests you! I truly believe that peace on earth begins with birth so it ties in perfectly with my yoga philosophy.
6. How can yoga teachers be prepared to handle prenatal yoga basics for pregnant women who might be attending public classes towards the beginning of their pregnancy?
Oh my, this is a loaded question really. My biggest piece of advice is to consider reminding a mama to be to trust her intuition and for you as yoga teachers to foster a non-competitive environment in your class. She should know what is right for her, if she is willing to listen. And also, more and more women are experiencing loss and wait until much later in their pregnancy to make the news public…if you teach to lots of females and are doing for example rocking bow pose or tons of down dogs, maybe you could say, if you thought you might be pregnant, this is one you could skip or modify if you felt the need…but again, it is such a private and sensitive subject, as a teacher you hopefully will just know what to say! OH, and when she does tell you, please encourage her to seek the community of other women on this path to motherhood with a prenatal yoga class!
7. What are some of your favorite yoga books?
The Mind, by Yogi Bhajan – it is profoundly deep and I read it with reverence.
Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda - the consciousness shared here is just wonderful & inspiring.
HeartMath Solution by Childre & Martin – it’s not a yoga book but what I love is that this institute is using science to support what yogis have said for thousands of years!
8. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of becoming a yoga teacher? And what advice would you give to someone who is a new yoga teacher?
If you hear a whisper or have a calling to become a yoga teacher GO FOR IT! As the Zen proverb says, leap and the net will appear! Starting this process is only going to make you a more complete and alive human being, and we need this in our world today.
New yoga teachers – you have the BEST profession on the planet! First off, f you are nervous teaching at the beginning, you have one of the few “jobs” where you can ask the people you are working with to close their eyes and breathe…so you, in the very process of doing what you have been trained to do, become less nervous. But secondly, I feel teaching yoga is letting the universe and infinite source flow through you, and it is beyond fun to allow and witness the transformation that can follow!
9. Where do you see yoga headed in the next ten years – both in Tulsa, but also overall?
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND! Wait, did I really just quote Buzz Lightyear ? Haha, but I am serious. You have heard the saying – let there be peace and let it begin with me. Well, I feel like yoga is a huge reminder that the world we see is also a reflection from within, so in some respects yoga is at the forefront of the new peace movement. As for Tulsa, I can’t really say, but I see more cohesion in the growing yoga community and less competition...
10. Who are some of the teachers or mentors who have inspired and influenced your teaching?
My parents who raised me to recognize my spiritual essence and share my truth. Guru Rattana, who I got my first certification with and who for 28 years practiced and learned from Yogi Bhajan. Ravi Singh & Ana Brett who are helping make Kundalini Yoga more mainstream.
Tej Kaur Khalasa – who I attended classes with in LA at The Golden Bridge Temple whenever I could. And Ina May Gaskin & Michael Bernard Beckwith.
11. Tell us about yourself – other than teaching yoga, what are some of your hobbies, interests, and passions?
I love being a mother more than anything to my 2 young children, both I was blessed to have attend classes with me as I taught for the first year of their life. (In some respects, they can say they were raised in a yoga studio!)
I adore traveling with my amazing husband and family, reading, finger painting and riding bikes (although Turkey Mountain misses me these days!)
12.Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
If you can breathe, you can do Kundalini Yoga. If you do not leave the mat feeling a profound sense of spirit flowing though you, then I invite you to try out Kundalini Yoga…I will leave you with a quote from Yogi Bhajan in a lecture he gave called What is Yoga? An Adventure in Awareness: “In Kundalini Yoga the most important thing is experience. Your experience goes right into your heart. No words can be said because your consciousness will not accept them. Your mind may or may not. All we want to do is to extend your consciousness so you may have a wider horizon of grace and of knowing the truth. Then you can smoothly plan your life to any extent you like. You can radiate creativity and infinity in all aspects of your daily life.”
Thank YOU, Celeste!!!
RYT 200, writer, founder of New Moon Mindfulness + Movement
about our Authors
The Everyone Yoga School blog is written by guest authors who are former students, instructors, and passionate yogis with the sole purpose of sharing the yoga experience in the live and hearts of everyone.