Meet Shelley Van Kempen

30 May 2022 4:39 AM | Natalie Cummings (Administrator)

Welcome to the Yoga for Arthritis monthly blog series that features our YFA members hard work, dedication, & passion. Without the ongoing efforts of these standout members, we would not be where we are today. 

How has yoga impacted your life?

It’s been huge. Not just asana with all its benefits but the spiritual practices of meditation and pranayama. For me, the work of letting go of striving and control and finding the middle way has been life changing. Yoga taught me to let go of perfection, listen to and be kind to my body, and stay in this moment, not the future or the past. It’s a work in progress for sure. I have been blessed with a series of wonderful teachers and often feel the strength and guidance of the long lineage of yogis standing with me as I practice.

How did you find YFA? How has YFA helped you?

Before the pandemic, I would sometimes see that Dr. Moonaz was offering a weeklong training nearby but the dates never worked out for me. When I learned that the teacher training was being offered virtually on weekends, I signed up. Zoom was a challenge at first but Dr. Moonaz was so adept at using this technology that it soon faded into the background. She is an amazing teacher and researcher, and she has this great way of giving clear, useful feedback grounded in science and compassion.

Where did you get trained and with whom?

I completed level one with Dr. Moonaz over Zoom in March 2022

Is there anything else you'd like to say about Yoga for Arthritis?

The Yoga for Arthritis course was full of relevant anatomy/physiology and best asana practice for those with arthritis. The highlight, though, was the integration with yoga philosophy, yamas and niyamas, and breath work. These are what makes yoga Yoga!

Let us know when and where we can find your classes?

I just moved back to Saratoga, New York so I don’t yet have a teaching schedule. My plan is to approach the local senior center and mental health agency in the fall.

Where can people connect with you?


Shelley Van Kempen

My professional career was as a registered nurse then later, a psychiatric nurse practitioner working with severe persistent mental health issues. I began taking yoga at age 59 after a rheumatologist diagnosed me with OA and told me the best treatment was to “just keep moving.” I’m not a gym person so I decided to try Yoga and I have been practicing now for 13 years. In 2015-16 I took yoga teacher training at Kripalu with the goal of bringing yoga to older folks like myself. I taught a class for older adults and a chair class at our local YMCA before multiple family health issues pulled me away from teaching for a few years. I’d had my eye on Dr. Moonaz and Yoga for Arthritis for several years and finally had the opportunity to train with her. My goal is to share what I’ve learned, especially those new to or wary of Yoga.

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