For Kay Corpus, M.D., yoga instructor and owner of The Loft, understanding one’s body and learning how to move and breathe functionally are the biggest keys to being healthy.
Corpus has been a yoga instructor for around 15 years and has practiced the art for 26 years.
She began practicing yoga while in medical school and found solace in how peaceful it was amidst a busy and hectic lifestyle.
“There’s the end piece to it where you lay still, and that pose is called corpse pose, so that was the part of the class that I appreciated most, not all that moving around,” she said. “It was the part where we had to be still.”
As a student in medical school, Corpus said her world was stressful and chaotic, mirroring what many people live on a daily basis. For her, having a moment to bask in stillness and peace was moving, and it inspired her to become more immersed in the practice of not only yoga, but functional medicine.
Functional medicine, according to Corpus’ website, looks at one’s state of health as a combination of genetics and all the inputs the body has experienced — from food to medicines to one’s natural living environment.
Functional medicine considers alternative treatments before medications or invasive procedures. By understanding the root cause of your ailment, she said, functional medicine practitioners fix the root cause of the problem, rather than mask the symptoms with prescriptions, and provide a foundation for preventative healthcare.
Corpus said stress, exhaustion and certain lifestyles often lead to physical ailments, and functional medicine, combined with yoga, is what helps her treat her patients and find the root cause of their illness and alleviate it naturally.
“We have a society that moves so fast and wants to achieve everything in five seconds and is so not aware of themselves that they end up, one day, exhausted, they have chronic illness, they have hormone imbalance … and they have zero idea why,” she said. “Yoga’s healing. My diagnostic tool for people is the yoga mat, not a CAT scan, because the way people move on a mat is the way they live their lives.
“The way they enter into and out of a pose tells me a lot about how they approach issues, challenges. For me … medicine is about healing on a deeper level, on a root level.”
Yoga, Corpus said, not only helps her to identify certain imbalances in her patients and clients, but it also provides other health benefits, which includes helping lower blood pressure, stress, pain levels and inflammation.
Namely, she said, it gets people moving and breathing and paying more attention to their bodies and become more in tune with themselves.
“It gets you moving, out of your brain and into your body,” she said. “Breath is also very much key because breath is the cleanser of the body; lungs are the biggest detoxification organs.”
Corpus said she chose to enter into the medical field because of the inspiration of her family, coming from a lineage of doctors. She has always felt that her path was to help heal others.
Going into holistic medicine, however, was something new for her, but it has allowed her to take a more natural approach to helping others better themselves and take authority over their bodies and their health.
“There’s a connection there,” she said. “There’s nothing mystical, to me, about yoga … it’s basically physiology.”
She began practicing and teaching yoga in Pennsylvania. She never considered opening her own studio until she moved back to Kentucky.
Even then, she said she was not sure if there was interest for yoga locally, so she decided to test the market to see if there was any interest for a studio.
“I actually taught yoga … in somebody’s living room,” she said. “Then I started holding yoga down at the Riverfront on Saturdays, and I had up to 90 people at those classes.”
That was around five years ago, and now she has not only opened her studio, formerly known as The Yoga Loft, but it has evolved from teaching yoga to also teaching more functional styles of movement, offering classes and modifications for those at different levels.
The studio closed down for a time during the COID-19 pandemic but reopened earlier this year with a name change to The Loft to better embody the more inclusive and immersive class selection.
While classes are not at full swing just yet, Corpus said she hopes to start offering introductory-level classes and outdoor yoga sessions soon.
The biggest things, she said, for those interested in yoga is to not become intimidated by it before trying it.
At its root, Corpus said yoga is all about simply moving the body and becoming more in-tune with one’s physical well-being; it is not about “fancy” movements and poses that many might come across on social media.
“Yoga is personal; yoga is breath; yoga is even slight movement — it doesn’t have to be those fancy poses,” she said. “I’m more interested in people having longevity in the practice, so you have to go slower, and you have to move intelligently.”
Anyone interested in learning more about The Loft or functional medicine in general, Corpus said, can contact her through the studio’s Facebook page, The Loft or visit its website, YogaLoftKY.com.
Christie Netherton, [email protected], 270-691-7360