Interview | Kerri Kelly of Off The Mat, Into The World
Recently the Wanderlust Festival team had the chance to sit down and talk with Kerry Kelly, yoga teacher and Director of Possibility at Off The Mat, Into The World.
Hey Kerri! Tell us about Off The Mat, Into The World’s plans in 2011; we know you have some great stuff boiling.
Off the Mat, Into the World is a non-profit program committed to bridging yoga and activism. We believe in the power of yoga to transform individuals, communities and the world. The most exciting part for me has been in witnessing what happens when this yoga community comes together for change. We tested this theory in 2009 with the Global Seva Challenge Cambodia by challenging yogis to become leaders in mobilizing their communities around important humanitarian issues. Well they did. In our first year, our collective efforts raised over $500,000!!! Since then, we’ve raised almost 2 million for local and global initiatives through collaboration and action. This year, we’re rallying the community around Haiti to provide support and sustainable solutions for the people of Haiti.
You’re an athlete turned yogi…what inspired you to make that shift?
I’ve been a runner and athlete all my life. I turned to yoga in the 90s to put my body back together. What I didn’t expect is that it would take my life apart…in all the right ways. At first, I discovered a new way of being in my body, one that was more balanced and receptive. But as I got deeper into my practice, the yoga became something more – a resource, an outlet, a friend. After 9/11, it was my greatest healer. To this day, my practice and my life continues to grow and shift…and I just keep breathing and going with it.
You’re known as the Director of Possibility at OTM…what does that mean?
My personal purpose is to invest in the greatness of all beings…to support them in discovering their greatest potential. My role at Off the Mat, Into the World is similar – to support and elevate the impact the community and organization has on the world. I do everything from business development to community building to leadership coaching. I get really inspired by the intersection between yoga, innovation and service and the ways in which we are getting more effective, more impactful in our work as a community. I feel privileged to be a part of this organization and can’t wait to embrace the possibilities ahead.