Kelly & Kyle's Journey

If you are reading this, then your story is probably similar to ours: you were living your life, doing your thing, and then someone introduced you to Thai Yoga Massage, and you thought, “Wow, how can I do this ALL THE TIME,” and now you’re reading a Lotus Palm Newsletter. Right? Well, that’s the shortest version of how it happened for us.

Our business is called the Jivaka Wellness Center. If you’ve already taken a class at Lotus Palm, you know that Jivaka Kumarbhaccha was the physician to the historical Buddha, as well as the founder of traditional Thai massage. Our Center opened in 2013, after Kyle had spent 8 years in India, studying Tibetan medicine (similar to Ayurveda, but with a more Buddhist focus). He was introduced to Thai Yoga Massage by his friend and former massage school classmate Ariela Grodner (who had studied at Lotus Palm herself). When Kyle opened the Center, he knew that he wanted its name to reflect and honor the source of the multiple modalities we would offer. Less than a year later, Kelly joined him – in marriage, and as the yoga director at Jivaka.

We live and work in a rural community, in the mountains of West Virginia. We are grateful to get to introduce yoga, meditation, massage, and Tibetan medicine to folks who might otherwise never discover these practices. A 74-year-old with a hip replacement; a charcoal factory employee with 12-hour workdays; a farmer who struggles with arthritis; a 300-lb manager of a fast food franchise, working to manage his obesity – these are some of the people who are now part of the Jivaka community. All of them have taken a leap of faith – have perhaps thought, “I’m not sure this is something I can do,” and have tried it anyway, and have continued trying it. We are thankful to have been entrusted with the chance to work with them, care for them, and help them take responsibility for their own wellbeing.

In turn, we are thrilled to put West Virginia on the radar for folks outside our area. This year, we received a state business grant, to complete Lotus Palm’s Practitioner Program. We both love Thai Yoga Massage – receiving it, of course, but also, as practitioners, we appreciate its sustainability through efficient body mechanics – and our clients are discovering they love it too. We had dreamed of studying at Lotus Palm, not only to have a first-rate, comprehensive, and shared foundation in Thai Yoga Massage, but also because we love Canada! We have enjoyed getting to know our fellow students, exploring your neighborhoods, and improving our French. Once our program is over, we will welcome any and all opportunities to return – and likewise, we invite you all to visit us too! We live within 900,000 acres of national forest, and we frequently hold workshops and retreats. Next time if you’d like to practice in welcoming company, in the midst of nature, come visit us “south of the border” – the surprise and refreshment of a change of scenery may spark up your own practice. In the meantime, we send deep Metta to our teachers at Lotus Palm, who have welcomed us and shared their knowledge and skills so generously.