As a part of my series about “Mental Health Champions” helping to normalize the focus on mental wellness, I had the pleasure to interview Kali Blissis a yoga diva, and has a career in digital marketing and communications. She has a passion for helping people live happy and healthy lives with yoga, meditation, and self care. Kali has studied Ayurveda and a variety forms of yoga philosophy and science. She led the Wellness Program at CorePower Yoga, and coached yogis for many years. She loves guiding people in how to tap into their bliss, and does business consulting and coaching. Kali resides in San Diego and enjoys photography, freelance writing, playing in the ocean, and traveling every chance she gets. She is a revolutionary, spreading her sparkle and joy to others in hopes of creating a more magical and peaceful world. Connect with Kali on her website: kali-bliss.comor Instagram: KaliBlissYogaDiva
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started doing hot yoga in college while I was playing club lacrosse. The practice gave me instant relief and helped my scoliosis and other body ailments. I was hooked from the beginning! After college I got laid off from my digital marketing job and through synchronicity got involved and hired at the CorePower Yoga. Teaching yoga lit me up, gave me so much joy, and helped me define myself and brought out leadership strengths I possessed. I got to work with the National Program Manager at CPY and assisted with marketing, program development, social media, and more. As I took years to study yoga and do a variety of trainings, I became fascinated with the body and self healing. I took courses in Ayurveda, and also got to lead CorePower’s Wellness Cleanse program. I’ve been a sick kid all my life and have had a variety of illnesses including asthma, digestive issues, and more. Learning about yoga and natural self care remedies and practices led me on my own journey of healing. I also got inspired to write, study psychology, and unbeknownst to be at the time, also confronted my childhood trauma. I’m very passionate about yoga, and I believe the practice and education can truly change the world. I am an advocate for new generations, and am committed now to share what I’ve learned, teach, and inspire others to become the best authentic version of themselves, and truly live their life to the fullest! To do that, we all need more self love, self care, and joy, to feel good and sexy within ourselves, and who we are.
According to Mental Health America’s report,over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Yet there’s still a stigma about mental illness. Can you share a few reasons you think this is so?
I believe the rise of mental health is due to a lack of education. Because we are not taught much about nutrition, how to take care of our bodies, and how to live mindfully in the world, and amongst each other, I think it’s created a lot of ignorance in our society. If we can’t connect and communicate well with each other or ourselves, and take care of ourselves, there’s bound to be many more issues that are created. With some education and knowledge, we can revamp our system and develop a way to teach people how to live their best life, and utilize natural healing remedies to help them. I believe that all forms of illness — mental, emotional, and more, can be resolved with communicating, and with love from others to help people get through whatever they are doing through. Trauma is passed down through the blood line and within generations. The more we can begin to be practice mindfulness and create good health, and resolve issues the moment they occur, the better opportunity we all have of live happy and feeling good within ourselves! We need more awareness, compassion, and empathy for ourselves, and for other people. We are all struggling the same battle. The problem is most people can’t recognize how connected we are, so they cause separation, rather than unify and living harmoniously.
Can you tell our readers about how you are helping to de-stigmatize the focus on mental wellness?
We need to shift the perception of mental health, and understand more about what mental health and wellness really is. To be honest, we all are messed up in our minds, and we all operate unconsciously with our patterns, habits, family belief systems, and more. More than often, our own inner demons, addiction, and unresolved emotions, cause us to struggle in life. Wellness as a whole encompasses the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of healing. If we can all begin to understand that we all have issues, and we are born to resolve these issues, I think more people can become motivated to improve their health and state of being. We can help people work through problems, rather than suppressing pain, loading up on meds, and ignoring issues. Since mental illness is seen with so much shame and negativity, it’s easy to hide, resist healing, and get stuck on medications for many years.
As a society, we can overcome mental wellness challenges by educating society about what health is, and how to develop it within. Blending Eastern and Western Medicine can improve our health system. If we have natural remedies, teachers, counselors, coaches, and more, who can assist people in their mental and emotional issues, it can radically transform our society. We all get triggered by things and have our own idea and perception on what reality is, and how to live in it. If we want to overcome anything, we all must resolve to treat each other better, work together to improve people’s lives, and understand that we transform through each other, and by healing our body and mind of whatever issues we have. Mental wellness is achieved by correcting the mind, resolving traumas, speaking up about pains, and feeling emotions and learning how to develop emotional intelligence and maturity to truly live in a loving and conscious way.
Was there a story behind why you decided to launch this initiative?
I never expected to become a yoga teacher. However, I’ve always been interested in health and wellness. My life has taken many radical turns that have been unexpected. Through the past few years I’ve learned a lot, been blessed with many travel adventures and educational opportunities, and have witnessed the power of intention. I am inspired to help the world and share yoga so people can understand how powerful it is. I do believe, we are all entitled to our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It would be wonderful to have a system where we all can live free, be happy, and get along together, with good health and prosperity!
I had a bad childhood, angry divorce parents, and was very limited as a kid. I had health problems, wasn’t happy, and no one would help me cope with the madness happening in my home. I was also verbally and physically abused too and regularly cursed at. I wasn’t safe in my own home, and I fought to survive and stay alive. It crippled me, as a kid, realizing adults, medical professionals, and my own parents, refused to help me.
In your experience, what should a) individuals b) society, and c) the government do to better support people suffering from mental illness?
I think I’ve addressed this already 😉 Here is some more:
We need to change our system, especially our educational system. Instead of tying healthcare to jobs and companies, we need to separate it. We can no longer think health can be resolved with medications and prescriptions. We need to create a health system that promotes balance and total wellbeing. Personally, I believe health needs to be developed and created in our younger years. Children must have resources to help them live well, especially when parents can’t provide a good environment or help. We can initiate a new health culture by reforming the thinking that drugs care permanent fixes to our ailments. Instead, we need to work together to create more community, connection, and openness. To fix anything, we must stop self medicating, and start healing. All issues can be helped and resolved first by fixing the mind…
What are your 6 strategies you use to promote your own wellbeing and mental wellness? Can you please give a story or example for each?
I believe in taking care of your body, and having some way to take care of your mind. Yoga and meditation are my main strategies. There are so many options, I recommend finding what works for you! I currently love yoga nidra and float tanks for mental wellness. I am a big believe in detoxing the body, taking time to cut out sugar, alcohol, wine, and more, to help create more balance. It’s pretty amazing what happens when you change your lifestyle and witness how much better you can feel with simple modifications! Alcohol and food definitely affect the gut, and influence our mind and health.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a mental health champion?
I tell people to get offline, shut of the screens, and develop more self care. Personally, I recommend yoga modalities and movement as the best way to help mental health and create more wellness! Deepak Chopra is a great resource for yoga, self healing, and mental health help! (Sorry, don’t have pocasts or online resources to recommend!)
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!