As a teenager growing up in a small town, Chelsey Korus would rebel by sneaking into evening yoga classes. “Being so young and inexperienced with worldly things, it felt like a magical world—the way we moved and the mantras we chanted were absolutely captivating. I fell head over heels in love with the practice,” she says.
Chelsey began teaching yoga at age 15 and is proficient in numerous other movement practices as well including martial arts, free form dance, and ballet, and she holds bachelors’ degrees in dance, theater, and vocal performance.
A decade of learning and teaching around the world led her to design AWAKE with Chelsey Korus—a “total package lifestyle” she created to help people awaken to their moment and have the “tools to step into their wholeness.” She draws on these themes in her worldwide retreats.
Throughout her teaching career, being out in the world of nature has been an ongoing source of inspiration for Chelsey.
“It’s the place where I let things happen,” she says. “I allow myself to be captivated by the moment I’m in. When barefoot in nature I get to be curious, ask questions, and feel a sense of child-like wonder.”
Chelsey has been featured in PopSugar, Prevention Magazine, Yoga Journal, Women’s Fitness, Mantra Magazine, Fitness Magazine, and Shape. She is also an Adidas athlete, Wanderlust headliner, and teaches classes here on Yoga International.
Read our interview with her below, where we ask the four questions we ask all of our featured teachers, so that you can get to know Chelsey and learn more about what to expect from her classes on YI!
What yoga style, tradition, and/or lineage are you a part of (if any)?
In October 2019, I celebrated my twentieth year teaching yoga. Ashtanga was my first love. The shapes I saw people make with their bodies taught me about discipline. Hot yoga taught me how to "stay" even when things are uncomfortable. Iyengar Yoga taught me to slow down and to know why I am doing what I’m doing. Acroyoga taught me to take what I’ve learned on my mat out into the world and practice it with another human being.
A powerful and soulful vinyasa class feels the most “me." I love to press into the music, flow with my breath, and incorporate imagery, thoughtful sequencing, and all that I've learned so far on this movement journey.
What can one expect from your classes on YI?
I want my students to know that I am committed to tending to that which has atrophied, gone numb, and fallen completely asleep within us. I want my students to leave feeling clear, spacious, wild, trembling, hopeful, and awake.
What’s on your mind these days yoga-wise?
I care deeply about the climate awake conversation that is rising in the yoga world. I believe Sebastian Junger says it best in his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging: “Humans don’t mind hardship, it fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people feel unnecessary. It’s time for that to end.”
A big part of my calling is to be a bridge between our modern society and nature, to create more opportunities for people to have real love encounters with wild places, because we won’t protect something that we don’t love. I want us to remember who we are and that we are all connected.
What do you like to do outside of yoga?
When I’m not wandering in nature, I like to do handstands and partner acrobatics, climb rocks and trees, and lift weights. I also like running with my dog and taking my horse for a walk.
Learn more about Chelsey and try one of her inspirational vinyasa classes on YI!
Photography: Andrea Killam