Leah Kim

Leah Kim Follow

mom wife yogi | NYC
Nike Global Yoga Ambassador • 🧘🏻‍♀️ teacher
@medium Top Writer in Mental Health 👇🏼


7,443 Followers  100 Follow

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I don’t usually take photos of food and I swear this wasn’t staged. I was making breakfast for my family and just thought it looked so pretty! 
Steel Cut Oats (gluten free)
-cook with half water half almond milk
-seed mixture: chia, flax, sesame
-raw honey

Lmk your fav toppings?
This is me, 2013. I was on a rooftop in Rome, shot by @carlos_serrao for a Just Do It campaign. I had yet to experience pregnancy, surgery, motherhood, depression, or anxiety, all of which were waiting for me just around the corner of my life trajectory. 
I used to be able to drop into deep poses like this backbend with zero warmup. When I first unrolled my mat after giving birth, my knees fell to the floor in Plank Pose and my back muscles felt like they were tearing when I did a simple Spinal Twist. 
My heart broke as I realized how broken my body was.

I am now finding my way back to my yoga practice. It looks pretty different to what it looked like before. I write about practicing to embrace these changes (link above). And if you feel so inspired, I would love it and be so grateful if you ‘followed’ me on Medium. xxo

This photo hangs large and framed in our home. It perplexes me every time I look at it. How is it possible that it looks so different to the reality of that moment? How is it possible that you can’t see any evidence of how awful and scared I felt? It certainly speaks to the talent of the photographer. But beyond that, it speaks to the fact that sometimes what things look like on the outside, be it here in social media world or even in real life, couldn’t be further from the truth. 
More and more, I am talking to people who are tired of surface level conversations. Tired of the pressure of displaying a certain persona. Tired of not feeling free to express their true selves. It takes an enormous amount of effort and energy to uphold a facade. 
I talk about why I feel it’s important to share the uninstagrammable moments in my piece linked above. Let me know your thoughts. And I’d love if you would “Clap’ for it on Medium. xxo 📷: @carojonesphoto 
Ki-yah! Just earned his red stripe belt. Last one before big kids’ class. Go kid! Proud of you. And not bad on form and flexibility. #minimartialartist #yogi #taekwondo
This post is dedicated to my mom.

There’s no shortcut to true recovery. Be wary of neatly packaged advice that promises instant solutions. 
When it comes to #mentalhealth, whether it is about being in active recovery from illness or maintaining an ongoing state of inner balance, it is your unique journey. You must take ownership in figuring out what feels right for you. You must be courageous to try and be open to failing and then trying anew. You must commit to the stamina that true #wellness asks of you. And you must speak up and ask for help when you need it.

I don’t believe there is a quick fix solution that can be bought. There are lots of things that can help, sure - exercise medication therapy - to name a few. But these are just pieces to a more complex puzzle. And one size does not fit all.

This is what I did not realize in my younger years. Through my #yoga studies, I learned about the mind-body connection. Physical tension, nutritional deficiencies, and negative thinking can be correlated to mental imbalance. CAN BE. But they do not tell the whole story. I genuinely thought if I could keep my hips and hamstrings really open, it meant that my energy would be flowing optimally and I would always have full mental control. So I would put my mom in pigeon pose and make her eat lots of cashews and remind her of all the things she had to be grateful for in life. 
I meant well, but I was so off-base.

I see this happening around me. It’s wonderful that mental health is being talked about, and that so many of us are playing an important part in stripping away the #stigma. But I am also seeing the #commodificationofwellness. I think this can sometimes be dangerous. 
Well-meaning advice can sometimes do more harm than good. I know for my mom, when various treatments failed in “fixing” her, it sunk her further down into hopelessness and fear.

I think an important way we can start supporting each other is by paying more attention to what we say. What we say matters. How we listen matters. I provide some starting point suggestions in my article. link👆
On #WorldMentalHealthDay, I honor all of you who have responded to my recent posts by sharing your own challenges. I thank you for extending a virtual hand to let me know that I am not alone. 
It has been terrifying to open up about my mental health issues. It is scary to be so open and vulnerable. I feel like I am learning a new language. When I’m in live conversation with someone about it all, I find that it takes me time to even find the words to express it. 
But you know what? It feels so much better than pretending. It feels so much better than trying to only show the highlight reel of my life. 
It has taken my entire life and experiencing my own depression to actually start understanding this illness. I’ve written a post (link in bio) about a defining aha moment I had.

I hope you keep sharing your stories and thoughts. What a deeply important dialogue to be a part of. xxo
Although I have come out and through the potently dark period of postpartum depression that started with my son’s birth and only loosened its suffocating grip on me around his 3rd birthday, I still suffer from lingering effects, including anxiety disorder. 
Every now and again when I go to take a yoga class, depending on the size or temperature of the studio, or just perhaps a general feeling of unease that given day, I’ll feel the need to talk to the teacher before class. I’ll say, “Hi, I just wanted to let you know that sometimes I get claustrophobic. If I need to step out, that’s what’s going on.” Often, just the act of saying those words out loud is liberating and makes me feel calm and grounded. 
I wrote about a recent incident (link in bio), and how my yoga practice that day had nothing to do with yoga poses. Would love to hear your thoughts and stories. xxo
Today starts Mental Health Awareness week. 
After the birth of my son, I was hit hard with postpartum depression. But I lacked the language and information to understand it for what it was. So I, and my family along with me, suffered without support for a long time.

Having been a yoga practitioner since my teenage years and having taught yoga for most of my adult life, I didn’t think this could happen to me. I had dedicated my life to being healthy in mind and body, and to helping others do the same. When I found myself struggling as a new mother, I was convinced I could willpower my way out of it. Do more yoga! Think more positively! Be more grateful!

It didn’t work. 
I have since gotten help and learned a lot. It has not been an easy, linear process. But it has been immensely eye-opening and I am healing. 
I’ve started writing about my experiences on Medium (link in bio). I want to be open about my struggles. I want to share with you how I am coming back to myself. I hope I can support anyone else that might be going through something similar. I feel this is such an important dialogue for all of us to have more freely. Please feel free to comment or message me. 
You are not alone. xxo

Ever wonder what really excellent parenting looks like? Obviously it is a cookie in one hand and a Rice Krispie treat in the other. [ #minigoldendoodle optional ]
So I went to an awesome event last night. We were asked to write our names and this is what happened. 🤦🏻‍♀️ #mombrain
Happy first birthday, sweet girl. I love the way you make random grownup strangers break into smiles and coos as you pass them on the street, with your tongue out and tail up. I am so impressed by how clever and patient you are. I am blown away by your fierce loyalty to our Rykie (but maybe don’t nip at my legs and butt when I have to discipline his naughty behavior?). You make me feel safe when I wake with #anxiety in the middle of the night. You lick away some of Daddy’s stresses from work. You are the most perfect fluffy stuffed animal come to life. Thank you for the silliness, cuddles, and truly unconditional #love you give us. ♥️🐾 #minigoldendoodle #dogsarefamily
My beloved brand may not do all things right. But they got this right. #Kaep lives in my building. He exudes kindness, humility, and just a genuine good-ness. He says hi to my kid in the elevator and I cannot wait to explain to my son once he is older just who that is and the impact he is making. #justdoit #colinkaepernick