Vas Kypreos- A Vibrant Story
When I first meet Vas Kypreos, my first reaction was that she is one vibrant human being! Radiating from the inside out, she exudes health, warmth, energy and beauty. It made sense when I found out that she is a yoga teacher, movement lover and health coach … that perky bootie and strong lean limbs has got to come from somewhere. As I grew to know her better and her brother married my sister, I found out that not only is she an overall powerhouse and that she also has been living with Multiple Sclerosis since her early 20's. From looking at her you would never know that her nervous system has been compromised from this disease. MS can effect your brain, spinal cord and optic nerves in your eyes, causing problems with muscle control, vision and balance. Ironically, to proactively combat what could be a degenerating obstacle in her future, she implements fitness, health and well being into her everyday and is in better shape now then ever before. I needed to pick her brain with a Vibrant Beet interview to get all the details about her inspiring story.
How did you first get into yoga? What attracted you to the practice?
I got into yoga after receiving my diagnosis for MS. I was attracted to the practice as I was still very weak from my first “attack” and I had heard that yoga might be a good option. I honestly didn’t know much else about it to start. All I knew was that I needed something that would allow me to, very gently, restore strength and balance back into my body so, I decided to give yoga a shot. Plus, I was willing to try anything at the time that could help relieve my symptoms. I was lucky enough to stumble across a small studio in Monrovia, Kate Yoga. Here is where my practice began. Kate is amazing. Her style is yoga therapy which was exactly what I needed. It was very gentle, included breath work, the philosophies of the practice, detailed alignment, and so much more. I was immediately hooked. I stayed with Kate until I moved 2 years later, but still go visit from time to time and will always consider her my teacher.
What made you want to start teaching?
I always had an interest in teaching some sort of fitness. In fact, my first job was when I was 15 as a gymnastics coach for toddlers. So, when the opportunity came up to take a teacher training course, I took it. 6 months later I started teaching. It wasn’t until I taught my very first class that I actually knew it was my passion.
How does MS effect you in your everyday life?
Luckily, I have my symptoms very well managed so from that standpoint, it doesn’t really effect my life. Especially since starting my new medication. Prior to my new meds, I was on a different medication that gave me awful side effects. It was rough, but I managed. Having said that, to get to a place where I can manage my symptoms took, and still takes, a tremendous amount of dedication and commitment, an open mind, and a positive attitude. So on that note, it effects my daily life in that I do not have the luxury to be “lazy” with my health. My consequence isn’t weight gain, it’s disability. It can be very heavy and stressful at times.
When were you diagnosed and what did you do at that point to stay healthy?
I was diagnosed at 24. I started immediately. I found a great neurologist, consulted with a nutritionist, found a physiologist, signed up for yoga, and began my medication with in the first 6 months. It’s been an ongoing journey ever since.
How has yoga helped you with your MS?
It’s helped me learn patience, compassion towards myself and others, respect and love for my body, how to be comfortable in stillness and during the times in between, it’s made me understand balance and moderation. I taught me how to cultivate a healthy ego and find confidence and strength. All these things are super important lessons that can be applied to life with MS. Living with the unknown, trusting your body, trusting that all will be fine. That you will be fine. That your body and mind are powerful and capable of deep healing if given the time and space.
How do you approach yoga and movement differently because you have MS?
I’m not sure that it's different, but I really focus on the connection of the mind and body. I think that having MS can be very confusing and scary. It can be very challenging to understand, feel, and differentiate between “
You are such an inspiration for people out there who struggle with physical ailments… do you have any advice or words of wisdom?
Thank you. I appreciate that. If I could give any advice it would be this… Be open to anything and anyone that might be able to help you heal. Be patient. There is no rush. Taking the time to learn new habits is always worth it in the end. Stay positive. Anything is possible - believe that. Make it your motto. Ask for help and don’t be afraid to admit your scared, tired, sad, mad, or whatever! But once you feel it, try to let it go and move on. Know that you are a work in progress and that is a good thing! The more we learn, the more we grow. The more we grow, the more capable we are of reaching our dreams. It might be hard work, but it’s totally worth it! So when you feel tired, overwhelmed and like you want to say screw it - take a deep breath and do it for you. Because you’ll feel better. I promise. So just do it.
Vas, You Rock!!! Thank you!!
Of course! It's been my pleasure!