Kelsey Rood Patel, leading Los Angeles wellness expert. Interviewed by Michele Carroll. Photography by Roneil Chavez.
For the readers who might not know, give us a rundown of what you do.
I wear a lot of hats. To many, I’m their spiritual empowerment coach and reiki healer. I teach and lead workshops, classes and retreats throughout the world, and I have a private practice where I work one-on-one with clients and help them open their hearts to live abundant, peaceful and connected lives. To others, I’m the Pure Barre Beverly Hills studio owner and co-owner of the active apparel line, iamVibes. All things I love and deeply enjoy, which is why it’s hard to take off any of my hats!
I understand your story was quite different before discovering alternative healing. Could you tell me a little about your life before becoming a spiritual empowerment coach?
Yes! Before I learned reiki or started my meditation practices, I was working in the U.S. Senate for 4.5 years and then I moved to L.A. and started working for a big FORTUNE 500 company. I worked in the corporate environment for another 4 years and suddenly I realized that where I lived may have changed, but how I felt did not. Even after I left the corporate world and started my first Pure Barre studio, I still had tremendous back pain, felt anxious and was deeply stressed on a regular basis. My back pain became so bad that I was usually in tears by the end of any plane ride and Advil had become way to common in my diet. I knew something needed to shift but did not understand at the time how much my emotional well-being played into my physical well-being. I started to do yoga, which helped, and as time went on, I sought out and worked with various energy healers and started to notice a difference. It wasn’t until I met my reiki master that I started to feel different and feel more. I ended up studying reiki and became certified because I saw the changes in myself. Initially I was learning just for me and never had any intentions of teaching or practicing but as God would have it, here I am.
Would you say it was a quick, eye-opening revelation for you or more of a progressive lifestyle transition?
Definitely a progressive lifestyle transition. When I started, I actually panicked. I thought that in order to find peace and be happy within myself that everything had to change immediately. I worried that I would need to leave my husband because he might not like my “new” ways of being, I thought I’d have to leave my jobs, stop eating meat, quit drinking and all these other notions I put in my head about what it meant to be spiritual. As soon as I saw that it was my ego trying to deter me from this path, I was able to calmly and slowly start the journey. And, I’ll always be on the journey because it’s just that, a journey. Not a race.
I’m sure you’ve grown and changed so much over your journey. Where in your life do you feel the biggest change?
I feel more connected to my value. For so long it was always about everyone else, but me. I cared what people thought. I cared about how they felt around me. I cared what they thought about me. I cared more about their well-being than my own. That’s different now. I truly honor and put me first. There are still times when I forget and learn a new lesson, but it’s absolutely been the biggest change and gift.
Way back in the day, I actually received my yoga teaching certification with the intention of spreading the option of alternative healing. I remember being so scared before my first class, feeling like such a “fraud”, that I cancelled it and never looked back! I’ve realized this is, unfortunately, a pretty common problem for so many trying something new. In the beginning, did you ever suffer from the dreaded “Fraud Syndrome”?
Yes, absolutely. And, sometimes I still do. When I’m teaching a brand new class or course I still get nervous. I love it. We each just have to trust our own, unique journeys and go for it. You have all the love and support you need. Before teaching, I’ll always ask my guides to be with me, I ask for guidance, love and to create an experience that serves the highest good of everyone involved. None of us out there teaching new ideas, concepts and practices have been told that we’re perfect or that people are going to love what we’re doing. It’s a practice. Sometimes you fall. That’s ok. There have been several times where I wanted to rip the headset off and run out the front door because I’m scared. But, I breathe, take a moment just for me, even when I’m in the middle of teaching, and let my light shine in.
On that same note – even though you’re a leader in your field, are there ever days when you don’t feel as spiritually full as other days? What are some specific go-to practices of yours for if/when these moments arise?
Yes, 100%. I’m human and feel all of the ups and downs. My main practice is to do nothing with the intention to feel everything. So often, many of us try to escape the “bad” or “dark” feelings. I think that’s part of the problem. People are running from their feelings, which are there with intention and need to be felt so they can be moved, loved, shifted or released. It’s ok to feel bad, sad, hurt, disappointed, angry or anything you’re feeling. If you can show up to loving yourself and your pain, even in the darkest moments, you give yourself permission to be whole – without judgement or criticism or demand – you meet yourself right where you are with love and compassion for your human experience. Feelings do not define us, they guide us. When I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed, I know that those are a mask for me of something else. In those times, I shut down my technology, do some light stretching on my mat and meditate or journal to gain insight on what I’m really needing and feeling.
In order for me to wear all of my hats and be in all of my roles, I have to really root and connect myself with my value.
Along with healer and coach, another title I would give you is Business Owner. What advice do you have for balancing the strength and discipline that must come with being an entrepreneur with your compassionate role of a healer?
Value. In order for me to wear all of my hats and be in all of my roles, I have to really root and connect myself with my value. I can easily sway one way or the other when I’m not in alignment. Giving too much, expecting too much, working too much, etc. I often check-in with myself to see where my choices are coming from and, as one of my coaches once shared with me, I ask myself who’s sitting at the head of the table when I’m deciding something. Meaning, whenever you are making a big or small decision, try checking in with yourself to see where your choice is coming from. Is it the little girl who was once disappointed or hurt by a friend, is it the you that doesn’t value your worth, is it the scared and defensive you that fears being hurt, etc.
Can you think back to a particular unexpected setback or mental block you had to overcome within your own spiritual or entrepreneurial journey?
There are many! Spiritual – a stubborn ego that didn’t like to meditate, an adult me that did not want to identify or work through old belief systems and now, the part of me that is ok to feel everything within my heart and to trust my value in every moment of every day.
In business, definitely setbacks and mental blocks. In working with partners and not always seeing things the same way, I had to slowly learn to open up to others and let some of my strong, know-it-all ways simmer down. There were lots of financial worries in not only opening, but also sustaining a business. And during construction of one project, we were halfway through and had spent nearly $100,000 and were told that we might not be able to open after all because of city codes. We cried and stressed and prayed for days and by a miracle we were able to resume construction and later open the business.
I always love watching your Instagram pictures and stories! I know that some business owners, or people in general, can have a rough time integrating the aspect of social media into their lives. What is your philosophy of incorporating social media into your daily life/business?
Thank you! For me, my life and lifestyle are a part of my teachings and my business. I try to keep it authentic to what is current and actually happening in my life at the moment. I used to be very intimidated by social media and felt like I was always not doing it right or I’d be so envious of the people who were so great at it. Now, I actually try not to think about it too much! Many times, I snap a few pictures wherever I am and let it be. I’ll usually write the post later if I’m between events or meetings. That’s usually when I take a few minutes to feel whatever it is I’m feeling called to say and share. There are times when I overthink it or stress about it. That’s usually when I turn it off, don’t post anything and walk away from it. If it’s not fun or enjoyable or connected for you, don’t do it. Social media does not determine any human beings value. You are perfect, you matter and you are enough with or without a social media page!
What does a typical day (loose term, I know) look like for you – morning to night?
Geez! Every day is absolutely different in my week. We live between Orange County and DTLA. I have two stepsons and we are with them each week for half the week and every other weekend. Then, I travel a ton and teach workshops and lead retreats all over so every week is totally different. Here’s when I’m in L.A.!
Meditate in bed, sometimes easy yoga practice at home, then morning coffee and walk with my husband, and I love him too much so I forget the time and then have to get ready as fast and crazy as I can! From there, it’s usually teaching one of my signature classes or workshops, going to a press event or luncheon, private client sessions, emails, meetings, Skype calls with my business partner in London, stopping into my fitness studio, working out at some point in the day, then more private clients or dinner with my family or a press event/influencer dinner or dinner with girlfriends. I also LOVE to throw dinner parties, spiritual events and fun gatherings at my home in DTLA, so usually that’s in there somewhere too : ) Next one is a sound bath next Wednesday evening at my home with two of my favorite beings in L.A.!
What is the most common theme you see with new clients seeking your expertise?
Stress, overwhelm, pain, and anxiety are some of the most common reasons people come to see me. Many of my clients, including celebrities, feel overwhelmed by some factor in their lives. They have busy & active minds and don’t feel they know how to relax, shut their minds off or calm down. I take them through a series of exercises and energy work and by the end they usually feel clear, relaxed and peaceful. Most of the blockages come from each client’s life experiences and, many times, childhood. There is usually a core value imbalance, which we identify and help shift by the end. Without knowing what it is that’s wrong or where it comes from in the beginning, that’s why they come for a session in the end.
What is something any of our readers could do within the next five minutes to help steer them towards a more empowered and joy-filled life?
Take out a piece of paper and a pen.
Before you write, close your eyes and breath for two minutes (set your alarm if you like!) and feel into your mind, body and spirit. Notice how you feel. Just observe and let your breath open you up.
When your two minutes are up, write out how you feel in each of those categories and be honest with yourself. It’s not a judgement. You don’t get to judge, demand or be mean to yourself here. It’s simply an opportunity to connect with beautiful, amazing you and check in and ask yourself how you’re feeling. Once you’ve written that down, write out how you WANT to feel in those categories and find one thing you can do to start getting there.
L.A. LADY CULTURE.
Favorite area of L.A.? There are so many! I always love exploring downtown and the arts district because we live in South Park. But also because one of my businesses is in Beverly Hills, I’m always on Beverly Drive roaming around: my favorite day is getting juice or quick lunch at Kreation, a chocolate chip cookie at M Cafe, pop into Eva’s Nails (as for Tina!) for a great mani/pedi, if time permits I stop by for a quick, inexpensive 30-minute reflexology appointment at Bao Foot Spa, then I stop in to see my girls at Lululemon Beverly Drive and grab a quick cappuccino at Nespresso and I’m one happy gal!
Favorite eatery in L.A.? Currently, Bestia.
Menu item we must order there? Either the Farro salad or the Genevieve’s Little Gems salad, a pizza and a pasta – let them tell you which one to order.
Favorite happy hour? My downtown pad! My husband and I went to Italy recently during the summer and fell in love with Negronis; now, whenever we want a cocktail, we make them and sit out on the balcony watching our magnificent city!
Favorite weekend activities in the city? We love to hike! My husband and I will often grab sandwiches at the BEST sandwich and bread shop, Bread Lounge, and then take off for a nice, long hike. I also love roaming around different neighborhoods and grabbing lunch and popping into the local shops. As a business owner and entrepreneur in L.A., I really appreciate fellow small businesses.
Audio of choice when sitting in traffic? Sometimes I prefer silence and do breathwork or I love Krishna Das: Breath of the Heart album OR Best of Bob Marley or That’s so Retrograde podcast – those girls are great!
Place or thing you want to do most in L.A., but haven’t yet? I’d LOVE to hike Mt. Baldy; see a movie at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and try way more of the awesome new food spots in L.A.
Biggest L.A. guilty pleasure? They’re all sweets : ) The butter cake at Mastros’ in Beverly Hills, the blueberry fonut, vanilla cupcake from Hansen’s (which is only $1!) and for sure the birthday cake from SusieCakes! I don’t eat these things often, but when I want to indulge, it’s for sure one of these!
Connecting with Kelsey: First, get on her newsletter! Kelsey sends a monthly intuitive email, which even her biggest celebrity clients wait for and it includes a 10-minute guided meditation, along with moon cycles and guidance on how to work with the energy of that month. She also offers one-on-one coaching and a premier 3-month membership program that shares her most exclusive work with clients. Heads up: Get signed up for your private sessions now! She often has a 8 week wait list for bookings. You can also find her public teaching schedule online and via following her instagram feed @kelseyjpatel
– Kelsey Patel
- NAME: Kelsey Rood Patel aka Kelsey J Patel
- POSITION: One of LA’s Leading Wellness and Reiki Experts, Owner of Pure Barre Beverly Hills, Co-owner/Co-creator of iamVibes Active Apparel Line, Teacher at Den Meditation.
- HOMETOWN: Grand Forks, North Dakota
- WHY DID YOU COME TO LOS ANGELES: I moved to Los Angeles in November 2007 after being in a very fun, yet demanding career in the U.S. Senate. The catalyst to leave a very promising career in DC had nothing to do with work. I was in a very tumultuous relationship at the time, and I knew deep down that in order for me to finally release the relationship I would need to leave Washington, DC. So, one evening as I sat on my ex-boyfriend’s couch crying about a recent fight we had just had, my girlfriend from college called to tell me she was moving to LA. She knew I was unhappy and told me to come with her. Part of me said, “No way. That’s crazy!” The other part of me said, “Yes. You need this.” So, I did it. No job, never even been to California save a one day trip with my family that I don’t remember when I was 7 years old. And, I regret not an ounce of my decision