New to yoga?
2147 E 151st St, Olathe, Kansas 66062

How Yoga Changed my Life: One Student's Story by Keith Larkin

Request More Information

Request More Information

By providing your number you consent to receive marketing/promotional/notification messages from Surya Yoga. Opt-out anytime by replying STOP. Msg & Data rates may apply.

Request More Information
How Yoga Changed my Life:  One Student's Story by Keith Larkin

How Yoga Changed my Life:  One Student’s Story

Keith Larkin

Hello, yogis.  We’re starting something new-ish at Surya Yoga.  A few years ago, Annie shared a Student Spotlight with her members, highlighting a student and his or her yoga journey.  We’re going to revisit this idea within our blog. We’ll be highlighting two of our amazing students each month.  If you are willing to participate, we will have five questions for you to answer.  We’ll also need a photo to post with your answers.  (It doesn’t have to be a photo doing yoga. It can just be a selfie.)  So take a look at our first Student Spotlight that we're calling How Yoga Changed My Life and see if that would be something you’d be interested in doing.  You can reach out to me (Crysta) at  I’ll also be emailing you asking for your help.  Thank you for reading this post and for considering participating in our Student Spotlight.  I think you’re really going to like hearing what our first volunteer, Keith, has to say.  


Our first student we’re spotlighting is Keith Larkin, a Surya Yoga student since September 2022.  Keith is a divorced father of three budding adults.  As a high school English teacher for nearly thirty years, he has guided many young people toward maximizing their talents and passions.  Reading, camping, yoga, martial arts, weight lifting, science, history and most recently singing are among his many interests and hobbies.


Why did you start practicing yoga?


I started practicing yoga about six and a half years ago.  Recently divorced, I found myself with the time to make decisions to take care of myself rather than someone else - a recognition of my codependent tendencies, but that would be off the topic. The stress of that relationship had left me the heaviest and most out of shape I had been at any point in my life. Yoga looked like a good way to ease back into a more active lifestyle.


I signed up for weekly classes offered through my work. After the first few sessions, I could not believe the physical difference I felt. I walked taller and my muscles felt like everything was in the right place. I would just be walking down the hall or down the street and think, “Wow! I am really enjoying the sensation of walking!” I would breathe and just think about each step as my gaze angled a little higher and my hips simply picked up my legs and placed them gingerly and joyfully each time they touched the earth. It was quite astounding!


Over the next few years I fell into and out of a yoga routine. Every time I would start again, I would ask myself, “Why did I ever stop this?” “Why am I not doing this every day?” So that aspect had not changed. I do what I don’t want to do and don’t do what I want to do. Human condition, right? But each return solidified the commitment a little more. Last summer I happened into a yoga retreat which really solidified my interest and commitment to yoga. I joined Surya in September and have been attending 4-6 classes every week ever since.


What do you enjoy about yoga?


I enjoy the consistent challenge and ritual of the many groups of poses. I can always adjust or enhance every pose by thinking more specifically about that part of my body that should be a little to the left, or tightened, or loosened, stretched, etc.


What has been an unexpected benefit of practicing yoga?


The unexpected benefits have been concentration, calming the mind chatter, learning the difference between discomfort and pain, finding focus in the midst of chaos, becoming comfortable with failure, not letting what others think stop me from doing what feels right to me, not letting the skills of others hinder my desire to try new things, judging myself on my own yard stick - not anyone else’s, learning how to get to know myself, and learning that I like this guy!


Yes - that’s quite a list, but all of this comes from the effort it takes to hold a pose. I must concentrate, so I must silence all other distracting thoughts. Especially in balance poses, there is the necessity to hold on no matter what is going on all around you. My balance is all that there is in that moment. That is where I need to focus. I also fall down a lot which reinforces that I have only myself to improve upon. And in that process, I find that I do have good qualities of perseverance and dedication and even devotion. And, yeah, I like those qualities in me. Such clarification really was unexpected.


What is your favorite pose?


I like balancing poses that I have achieved enough proficiency in that I can hold them fairly solidly and just be in that moment.  Warrior 3, half-moon, and tree are probably my favorites. My favorite challenges right now are the arm balances. I love the forearm balance and scorpion, and I really want to work to achieve a solid handstand.


How has yoga changed your life?


So many of the benefits of holding poses and concentration have, without much effort, seeped into all other aspects of my life. I am calmer at my job, with my family, and really all day long. I am less hesitant to say what I think or to express the joy I feel in the moment. Previously I had let what others think keep me from expressing my thoughts or my joy in a situation. Now I am much more likely to just let it out. I face adversity with more confidence since I do it nearly every day on my mat. I know some poses are going to be uncomfortable. I know I am going to push myself to hold a pose longer or stronger or better than I ever have before. I know I am going to be tired and my muscles are going to want to quit, but I know savasana is coming;  I know that the more effort I put into the pose, the better that savasana is going to feel. And there it is - the more effort I put into my day, the better that sleep is going to be when I hit that bed at night, rejuvenating me for the next day!


Here are some of Keith’s additional thoughts.


All of what I have previously mentioned is a portion of what makes yoga not only a way of coping with the physical world but also a revealing of the spiritual one. Surrendering yourself to the process is a path to experiencing more of the divine in this physical life. Closing your eyes and watching the darkness behind the eyes of your savasana after a dedicated practice enhances the mind's ability to be open to thoughts and ideas that would not have occurred without the sustained concentration of a yoga practice. Because of this, every time I step on the mat is a spiritual experience. With yoga, the spirit is always there. It is this way in the rest of life as well. I feel closer to God, or the divine presence, or whatever it is at all times because it is there at all times. There is no longer a separation between spiritual practice and daily physical activities. He/she/it is there all of the time, with every conversation, every time I am alone, in all that I think. This is definitely a life enhancer. I have read a book I highly recommend that articulates this aspect of yoga very well.  The book is One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How It Can Transform Your Life by Eddie Stern.


[In Yoga] there is room for everyone, regardless of your spiritual, religious, agnostic, atheistic, pantheistic, polytheistic, henotheistic, or monotheistic beliefs. If your belief helps you to calm and control your mind, experience your innate inner goodness, and love everyone, then you are on the right path. If your belief sets you apart from other people and leads to fights, anger, violence, judgment, and self-righteousness, then it's not yoga.

Olathe's Most Welcoming Yoga Community!

Request information

Request Information Now!