Seattle Yoga News is on a mission to find and highlight all of the hidden, and maybe not so hidden, gems in the Seattle yoga community and beyond. We want you to learn about their experiences and perspectives, but also a bit more about their personalities, so we have a few fun questions for them. This week’s spotlight is turned towards Molly Lannon Kenny.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

Molly Lannon Kenny 50 pxMolly Lannon Kenny: In the late 1990’s I started practicing ashtanga yoga and later became a student of Seattle’s now defunct Ashtanga Yoga School. In those days, and especially with ashtanga yoga, you really only needed to know how to do the sequence well to be asked to teach it, usually first subbing classes and then ending up on a schedule. That is exactly how I started.

During that time, I completed graduate school and started The Samarya Center, specifically to develop and practice my own therapy model, Integrated Movement Therapy (IMT), a clinical therapy that incorporated the practice and teachings of yoga. I decided I would teach ashtanga at the same time to keep the doors open while my therapy practice grew.

Over time, doing therapy on the one hand and teaching ashtanga on the other, I began to see that I wanted to develop a way of teaching yoga that mirrored the values and practices of IMT, namely that every single person is perfect and whole exactly as they are, and that the best we could do as teachers, and as humans, was to truly lift each other up. With this awareness and this ethos, I began the Samarya Yoga Teacher Training, and have now trained more than 300 teachers in 27 teacher trainings over the past 15 years.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: What kind of trainings have you pursued?

Molly Lannon Kenny 50 pxMolly Lannon Kenny: I was an accidental yoga teacher. In the beginning, it was all ashtanga, all the time, and I would travel anywhere I could to study with Pattabhi Jois. As I matured and my practice – as well as my needs and desires – changed, I looked for trainings with more depth and breadth. I have studied extensively with Joseph LePage and Rod Stryker, but my greatest teachers have never been yogis. I have spent a lot of time with Ram Dass, and a lot of time at the Vedanta Society of Seattle, both of which have taught be different profound truths about spirituality and life. I will soon be entering the Living School, a two year program studying mystics of all contemplative traditions, drawing heavily on Christian mysticism and self-inquiry.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: What is one piece of advice you always give your students?

Molly Lannon Kenny 50 pxMolly Lannon Kenny: Yoga is much more more than the poses. No teacher knows more about you than you do. Use your voice. Listen with discernment. Trust your intuition. And stay with the practice, even as it changes – sometimes radically – over time.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: What is your favorite asana and why?

Molly Lannon Kenny 50 pxMolly Lannon Kenny: I love side angle pose because it is so simple in many ways. It doesn’t look fancy or challenging, and yet for me, it opens up the whole body and gives me an experience of both strength and space.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: What is your favorite yoga related book?

Molly Lannon Kenny 50 pxMolly Lannon Kenny: Oh wow. So many. I often call “Tattoos on the Heart” by Father Gregory Boyle one of my favorite yoga books, even though it’s not at all about yoga. But it is about boundless compassion and opening your heart and mind. I loved Autobiography of a Yogi. Swami Rama’s “Living with the Himalayan Masters,” and “At the Eleventh Hour” were both fascinating and really made me curious and inspired about what all of this practice might actually do for us. David Swensen’s “Ashtanga Yoga” is a classic. Anything by Swami Vivekananda. And my absolute favorite my copy of the Upanishads, given to me by Ram Dass.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: What is one thing most people don’t know about you?

Molly Lannon Kenny 50 pxMolly Lannon Kenny: People who know anything about me mostly know everything about me. I have made a career of exposing my life, my challenges and my perspectives through the lens of yoga. I suppose people may not know that I am an open water swimmer. and that I’m one of those people who hate cilantro.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: Outside of the world of yoga, what are you really passionate about?

Molly Lannon Kenny 50 pxMolly Lannon Kenny: Life. Caring deeply about other people. Kids. Mexico. Cooking. Honesty. Love. India. Truth. Shared humanity.

seattle yoga news 25Seattle Yoga News: Where can one take a yoga class with you?

Molly Lannon Kenny 50 pxMolly Lannon Kenny: I do not teach regular classes at studios, but I teach extensively on the conference circuit, online, on retreats and at my home in Mexico.

We invite you to check out Molly’s page on the Seattle Yoga News event calendar for upcoming events and classes she is hosting.

Molly Lannon Kenny Bio:

Molly Lannon Kenny is the founder and director of The Samarya Center for Humankind (ness), a 501 c 3 non-profit service and training organization dedicated to individual transformation and radical social change.

Having received her master’s Degree in Speech Pathology and working for over six years at a large HMO, she left her position to create, publish and trademark a unique therapy method, Integrated Movement Therapy®, built on the principles of radical inclusion and healing of self as a means for healing others and our communities.

She has written and taught extensively on the topics of Yoga as Therapy and Yoga as a means to individual and social change, and has taught many hundreds of students in her specialized yoga teacher trainings both locally and internationally. She has been featured in Yoga Journal, MSNBC, Yoga Chicago, Yoga Northwest, Wisdom Magazine, and The New York Times, among many others.

She is past Vice President of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and was the board liaison to the international committee on educational standards for the field of yoga therapy. She is currently on the board of the Yoga Service Council.

In her other life, Molly has been the bass player and front person for several local bands over twenty years, and is a part of a large, raucous, multi-ethnic and culturally and socially diverse family of origin. She spends about a quarter of each year at her home in a small fishing village in Mexico, thinking about things like cultural relativism, paternalism, social change, and delicious food.

Molly is widely known as a vibrant, funny, accessible and super knowledgeable teacher, with a heart of gold and a spirit of fire.