ESTEVAN - Regardless of whether it’s people or animals, Kelsey Rydberg is always eager to help, and she wants to promote the community to do so too.
Kelsey was born in North Dakota, but moved to Alida when she was six years old. Eventually, she moved to Estevan, where she owns the Soul Hideout business, located at the intersection of Fifth Street and 12th Avenue. She is also a yoga instructor.
“I have been in the spirituality and yoga world since 2010, so I have about 12 years in this kind of realm,” she said in an interview with the Mercury.
Initially she studied nutrition in university, and then she moved to Halifax to study holistic nutrition with the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition for two years.
Kelsey and her partner Steven Wilson purchased Soul Hideout Wellness Products in 2017. She describes it as a metaphysical business.
“We offer alternative healing techniques and alternative healing tools to the community,” said Rydberg. “Basically, we’re a supportive lifestyle. Whatever journey you’re on spiritually, we just want to support it.
“And we realize that spirituality is really quite unique to each individual. So we like to allow everybody to have their own unique journey, and for us to be a support for whatever journey they are on.”
After purchasing the business, it has shifted more to a meditation, crystal yoga and boho-themed shop.
“A lot of the changes in the store can be attributed to my sister’s help. Her name is Lacie Nilsen and she’s also a yoga teacher in the community and a physiotherapy assistant,” said Rydberg.
Rydberg loves the people that she gets to see every day, and the people who walk through the doors.
As a yoga instructor, she took a yoga course in the Dominican Republic to become a teacher. She first turned to yoga as a way to exercise in 2010, but as she puts it, slowly the spirituality of yoga “penetrated my soul, and I really just fell in love with this practice that it absolutely just transformed my life in a whole new way.”
It proved to be the calling that she didn’t know she was missing.
Rydberg is an instructor at OM Yoga Studio where she offers a few classes, and also teaches a program called Girlvana, which is yoga just for self-identifying teenage girls.
“Basically, the class allows teenage girls to have a safe space to come,” said Rydberg. “We talk about our feelings and we journal. There are positive conversations as we go over things like body image and using our voice to advocate for ourselves.”
They will also discuss the menstrual cycle and pretty much any other topic the ladies are navigating their way through.
“We open dialogue in many different ways, and then we do a soft little yoga practice,” said Rydberg. “We use meditation techniques and tools, and teach them how to use their breath to calm themselves down. We say that the breath is like a superpower for them. We use that superpower to allow ourselves to find energy and to calm ourselves down when we’re feeling anxious or have anxiety.”
Girlvana was created by Alex Mazerolle, and Rydberg has been teaching it for several years.
“Girlvana began with the idea that every girl deserves a safe space to find her inner voice,” said Rydberg. “This program is for self identifying girls who are curious about their own spirituality and need an outlet.”
A typical class will have anywhere from three to nine girls. Programs will run for eight weeks, and the current one just started on Thursday. Participants need to pre-register.
She has taught Girlvana in schools and other locations.
The participants love the program, and Rydberg loves seeing the transformations that occur throughout.
In addition to her work as a business leader and a yoga instructor, Rydberg is part of the Estevan Humane Society’s board, is the vice-chair of the Shop Estevan board and is a part of the Downtown Business Association.
“I’m a huge animal advocate. Animals are the number 1 priority in my life,” said Rydberg, who has many pets of her own.
Rydberg is eager to be a positive role model in young people’s lives and to teach women to advocate for themselves, their communities and for the furry friends. She thinks that women need to advocate for one another to create an inclusive environment that allows everyone to feel seen, heard and witnessed on their journeys.
She thinks that as women improve their relationships with each other and with animals who cannot speak for themselves, that the world will grow into a much more beautiful place.
She concluded with the quote from Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu that she wishes people to live by:
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words, and action of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
More information can be found at www.soulhideout.com.