Kristen Kelbe had a fine job in the states as a mechanical engineer. Great on paper… but it left her wanting more. Keeping a vacation home on St. Croix for several years gave her a taste of island life, so she decided to try it full-time in 2014. Now she has brought something new to island: AcroYoga.
According to AcroYoga International, AcroYoga elevates the connection between people through connection, movement and play. Acro in Greek, means elevated or high. Yoga in Sanskrit, commonly translates to notions of joining or union. The experience of taking flight with AcroYoga dissolves fears and invites practitioners to tap into infinite new possibilities of communication, union and trust.
Because of the aerial element, it is important to use spotters in AcroYoga. This creates a comfortable and safe atmosphere that is accessible to anyone. Kelbe says one of her goals in bringing “acro” to St. Croix is to train lots of spotters, so that friends can practice together at any time and place. To spark interest with more potential participants, she and her students have been getting together for acro “jams” in public areas (like the lawn of Fort Christiansvaern). Kelbe currently teaches yoga classes at The Courtyard in Christiansted. In July, she’ll also begin teaching at Chenay Bay.
“One of the reasons I landed on teaching yoga was because it made me feel fulfilled at the end of the day (unlike engineering),” said Kristen Kelbe. “I can help people through my knowledge of yoga. In my engineering jobs, I was only making cars go faster and the southeast power grid comply with government regulations.”
Kelbe has invested a significant amount of time into becoming the seasoned yogi she is. She began training in 2015 in Costa Rica, spending 200 hours over the course of five weeks to become a vinyasa yoga teacher. Kelbe takes classes wherever she travels (Miami, San Francisco, etc.) to gain new ideas and perspectives from fellow instructors. Earlier this year she spent five weeks in Thailand. Kelbe trained in AcroYoga for three of those weeks and traveled the country for an additional two, studying the art of thai massage (an element of acro).
For the past year, she has battled back from a shattered wrist, devoting an average of four hours per day to physical therapy. Kelbe credits the St. Croix yoga community for whole-heartedly supporting her recovery.
While yoga is her passion, Kelbe maintains several other jobs. She is a performer with the Elements in Mocean troupe, which combines fire dancing with silks and other mediums. Kelbe still dabbles in mechanical engineering on a project basis. She is also in-charge of scheduling for Inconceivable Marine Services and is learning to sail the large catamaran solo.
Kelbe recently came across a quote that epitomizes her Caribbean life: “Islands offer fresh opportunities for the creatures who find their way there.”
Ready to be a student in a Kelbe Yoga class? St. Croix has something for everyone and is particularly appealing for those who like to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. When you’re ready to make the island your home part- or full-time, contact Chris and Kerri Hanley for expert insight on Virgin Islands real estate. Start by downloading their free St. Croix Event Guide to find an ideal time for an extended stay: