by Monique Parker
I met Krystle Struck six years ago at UNM-Taos, where she was enrolled in my English Composition class. At the time, Krystle was 22 years old and had aspirations of one day opening her own hair and beauty salon. Like most people with a dream, Krystle had obstacles to overcome before turning her dream into reality: obtaining the proper certifications, learning how to start a business, acquiring capital and help from family, and consistently and persistently staying the course—no matter how hard things got. What struck me most about Krystle, then and now, is her attitude, which exudes self-confidence and faith in life working out. It is the kind of grounded self-assurance that puts people at ease and inspires those who would like to follow their own bliss.
Today, Krystle owns and runs Superstar Hair Salon on Estes Road in Taos. She cuts and colors hair, offers spa manicures and pedicures, and gives a deeply relaxing massage. Five years ago, while obtaining her cosmetology lisence at Northern New Mexico College in Espanola, she concurrently completed her massage certification so that she could offer services from head to toe. “I like helping people look and feel good,” she says. Krystle also offers massage at the Taos Spa & Tennis Club.
A key to healthy living that got reinforced at massage school was the necessity to breath. While we all perform this function involuntarily, it’s the unconscious breathing patterns, and specifically, holding one’s breath that creates stress. “Before I went to massage school I would catch myself holding my breath. At Northern New Mexico they reminded us each day: breathe, breathe, remember to breathe!”
“Now whenever I feel overwhelmed or uptight, I consciously remember to stop and breathe. Seriously, to stop what I am doing and take several deep breaths. And then, to let what is causing me to worry…to let it be,” she adds. The breathing exercise has come in handy now that Krsytle is pregnant with her second child.
“The first time I was pregnant with my son Kameron I was anxious and worried a lot of the time,” she says. “But now I work to surrender everything…to go with the flow and know it will be okay.” Krystle started using a mantra she learned while in massage school. She routinely repeats it as an aide to letting go of thoughts that arise incessantly. “If I feel my mind rambling, I will say my mantra over and over again in my mind,” she says. “I’ll even say it to myself when driving my car, as a way to keep my mind focused.”
Krystle also uses her mantra when she has difficulty falling sleep. “I think too much!” she jokes. “But if say my mantra when I lay down to sleep, it helps.”
During her first pregnancy Krystle ate whatever she wanted and didn’t get enough water. As a result, she swelled up. “My feet would hurt so much by the end of the day,” she adds. This time around she is getting plenty of water, eating more organically, taking 5-minute breaks throughout the day for yoga stretches, and enjoying baths with Epson salts and lavender.
Some of the low impact yoga poses that help Krystle stay limber while she is on her feet all day include Supta Baddha Konasana, which is particularly useful for pregnancy since it prepares the hips for labor while releasing spinal tension, and the supported standing squat, which lengthens her trunk and opens the pelvis. “I didn’t know these were yoga poses when I started doing them. They come naturally and help to relieve my back,” she says.
The support of family has been invaluable to Krystle, both in her business and with her pregnancies. “If I didn’t have the support of my family, this would be a totally different world,” she says. “My parents have always said what they meant and meant what they said. I can go to them for anything.”
Her older brother Erick Struck holds a masters degree in social work and has been pivotal in Krystle’s outlook. “He’s the one person who has taught me to think positively. He reminds me not to think about how things could or should be, but to work from where they are,” she says.
As the delivery of her second child draws near (her son is due to arrive the second week of December), Krystle reflects on what she hopes to pass on to her children: “Have respect for everything. Never judge. Respect yourself. That has to come first.”
*Krystle welcomed her second son, Noah, into the world on December 10, 2012.
**First published in The Taos News on Dec 20, 2012