Kripalu Guest Stories: Mackenzie Welch
I first came to Kripalu a few years back to earn my yoga teacher training certification. Then last year, when I was 23, I took the program Quarter-Life Calling: Creating an Extraordinary Life in Your 20s, taught by life coach and yoga teacher Coby Kozlowski. It really resonated with me: I’d recently graduated from college, where I’d majored in psychology and had begun to develop an interest in alternatives to standard mental-health options. I hoped to eventually work with people to help them make lifestyle changes before resorting to taking medication. Through Coby’s program, I realized that I had an interest in becoming a life coach, and enrolled in her Souluna Life Coach certification program.
Life coaching isn’t about giving advice. It’s about helping people embrace their values, make conscious choices, and remove obstacles they may be creating for themselves. Coaches do this by asking questions and assigning tasks that reveal a person’s innermost values and then challenging their long-held beliefs. As a yoga teacher, I’d always tried to guide my students toward living more holistic lives—that is, not leaving the yoga in the yoga studio, but taking it with them throughout their day. Life coaching was the natural next step. My training program represents all ages—I’m the youngest, and I’ve got classmates in their fifties. People want to know how I can possibly have a coaching perspective. They think, “How can you coach when you’re so young?” But the point isn’t to guide clients based on what’s worked for me, or on experiences I’ve had. It’s about helping people recognize what they’re meant to learn. In that sense, I serve as their mirror.
Coby teaches us to stop dreaming of a day far in the future when things will be great. Instead, figure out what you can do to make that vision a reality now. Life coaching is somewhat instinctive, but not always easy; it often requires people to make major mindset changes. But I’ve already had some successes. One woman I work with as part of my training was losing touch with things she had been passionate about. She couldn’t figure out why. I helped show her how to dream again, and then how to make those dreams tangible. Already she’s taken some important steps toward finding happiness, and that’s amazingly gratifying to see.
And I’ve learned so much about myself, too. I’ve learned to quiet the gremlin—that voice in the back of my head that limits me and holds me back. Already, I dream bigger and see more possibilities and find other ways of doing things and showing up. Ultimately, I’m hoping to combine yoga and life coaching to offer clients a new perspective for looking at their own lives. I want to help people become observant, to consider other ways of being, and, above all, to make conscious decisions.
—Mackenzie Welch, Pittsford, New York