For Kim Proctor, yoga is one of her ministries. Between motherhood, working as a Nurse Practitioner at St. Jude, serving her church community, and teaching yoga at Hot Yoga Plus, Kim has made it her life’s work to bring peace and love to all she interacts with.
Though born in Little Rock, Kim has lived in Memphis her whole life and considers herself a Memphian. As a young adult, she was in the Army Reserve, where her love of fitness developed during training boot camps and running workouts. Since then, Kim has primarily considered herself a runner, running five days a week and participating in regular races. However, in her 40s, Kim began experiencing knee pain, and after a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon, she knew she had to take a break from running. Then, Kim decided to do a year-long yoga challenge, which Kim said changed her life.
During her first year of yoga, Kim found her knee felt healed and pain-free, and her mental clarity and sense of peace were stronger than ever. “I became addicted to yoga and the low-pressure environment at Hot Yoga Plus. It’s just yoga –– I don’t need to pressure myself to perform or look a certain way.” Kim found that regular yoga practice helped her feel grounded and focused on herself despite motherhood’s stresses and working a highly pressured job. “Anything that goes on during your day can be worked out on the mat, and I could leave feeling so much lighter.”
After years of practicing at HYP, Kim decided she wanted to deepen her practice and experience Yoga Teacher Training, a decision she made with no real intention of ever actually teaching yoga. However, her intention changed during the teaching practicum portion of the training. “I found that there was something so empowering when I was leading the class; through my leadership, I had the opportunity to help people leave feeling better than when they arrived,” Kim reflects.
As a teacher, Kim wants her classes to feel welcoming and inviting to everyone, with no pressure to perform in any particular way. “When I started yoga, I felt surrounded only by tall, white, skinny girls. I love that as the studio and my classes have grown, I look around and see all kinds of people, who look different from one another, practicing in ways that make them feel good,” she says.
Though Kim did have to have knee surgery in March and was unable to practice, being able to return to the studio as a teacher brought her new challenges and opportunities for growth. Kim says that relying only on verbal cues rather than giving any physical demonstration during this time made her a much stronger yoga teacher.
In addition to developing her flows and cues, Kim dedicates lots of time to cultivating a playlist that resonates with her students. “I throw in some rap, Christian, country; you name it, I want everyone to feel represented and seen, and hear at least one song that speaks to the heart and brings them joy.”
Overall, Kim continues to remind herself and her students that it’s just yoga –– a time to feel calm, have fun, and remove any pressure for perfection.
You can experience Kim’s calming and inclusive power vinyasa class at Hot Yoga Plus on Saturdays at 11 a.m. Visit Hotyogaplus.com for more information.
By Zoe Harrison
Photo by Tindall Stephens