Q&A with Kelsey Mathes, zivaTEACHER

Kelsey Mathes teaches meditation at Ziva and was trained personally by Emily Fletcher. She is passionate about meditation, nutrition, and using her experiences and training to help other people perform at the top of their game.

Q: What made you want to become a meditation teacher?

A: Initially, I think it was because I could see so much difference in my own experience of the world after I started meditating.

I knew I wanted to be a teacher right away, but— as I like to joke with my students— I thought I had to be older and more “guru-y” first. So in the meantime, I went back to the Academy of Healing Nutrition (specializing in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda), and started my own business as a health coach.

Once I started health coaching, I realized that stress is really the underlying imbalance contributing to so many other issues. So we have to fix the stress in order to build on top of a strong foundation. Meditation doesn’t immediately fix everything, but it makes all the other healthy things we do for ourselves (like diet and exercise) easier, faster, and more effective.

Q: What did you do for work before becoming a meditation teacher?

A: I have been a bit of a Jill-of-all-Trades. For a while I was an events producer, and I created and ran events for people like the Whitney Museum, Adult Swim, NYPD & Marshalls, Law & Order, and many more.

I also co-founded a theater company in NYC called TRG Productions that focuses on promoting women in the arts. We are in our 5th year!! We have a yearly festival of female playwrights called the Radioactive Festival, and this summer we are going to Thailand to teach theater, music, and meditation to refugee children at the Thoo Mweh Khee Migrant Learning Centre.

Q: What brought you to meditation?

A: I started meditating during a summer when I was managing events, bartending, and actively auditioning (overall, working more than 100 hours a week). A combination of my personal life and working so much caused me to start having panic attacks. To cope I started self-medicating my anxiety with alcohol.

Thankfully, I came across Emily Fletcher while listening to a course designed to help actors perform at the top of their game by reducing anxiety. The next week I snuck out of work, grabbed a cab, listened to her speak in person, and was totally in. I signed up and was amazed at how quickly things transformed. My boyfriend at the time was shocked at the change in me even after just a few days.

Q: What do you find most enjoyable/fulfilling about being a teacher?

A: When I’m teaching, there is no where else I could imagine being. I’m pretty sure this is bliss-in-action.

To this day, I attribute the success and happiness in my life to starting my meditation practice. To be a vessel for this knowledge, to be a promoter of Unity and up-leveling someone’s experience of the world and, in return, the world’s experience of them, is indescribably heart-filling.  

Q: What are your hobbies/where can you be found on your days off?

A: When I’m not teaching or running one of my various businesses, I am playing the Ukulele, writing (I write poetry and I’m working on my first novel), socializing with friends at my favorite spot in Central Park, or traveling.

Q: What are your favorite places to travel?

A: I’ve been to: Romania, Germany, France, Spain, London, Hungary, Czech Republic, India. I’ve got Thailand, India and Poland on the docket for this upcoming year. My favorite place in the world that I’ve been to thus far was Barcelona.


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