Virginia: Tell us a little about your work as a yoga instructor. When did you first begin practicing? Why did you want to become an instructor?
Kati: I first began practicing yoga about 7 years ago. I found a studio that offered a mixer class...a 30 minute cycling class followed by 45 minutes of yoga. I was badly out of shape...I had 3 kids under the age of 3 (twins and a singleton) and I needed something to relieve the stressors of life! My dad had recently passed away. I was stressed and overwhelmed, and honestly, depressed. I’ll never forget my first class. I felt a sense of calm...looking back it was probably for a split second but it was the most amazing feeling. Plus, the instructor played “Sail On” by the Commodores (I’m Lionel Richie’s biggest fan...for real) and I was sold. I learned so much about myself and learned I was capable of so much more than I ever thought.
I wanted to become an instructor myself because I knew the profound impact yoga had on my life. I wanted to share that with others. My goal is to make each student feel comfortable and ultimately learn that they are their best teacher. I’m there to guide you and support you the best I can in a safe and effective manner.
V: Yoga has been a seamless way for us to invite people into our space and get to know our community. What is it about the practice that facilitates that sense of belonging?
K: Like Hopewell, yoga creates a strong sense of community and collaboration. Yoga means to “yoke”...to connect. The merge of breath and movement helps to turn our gazes “inward”. The breath and physical work we do on the mat helps us to connect with our bodies AND our minds. What we learn on the mat about ourselves often can extend to how we handle situations in life off the mat.
V: Have you found a community in your yoga practice?
K: I have most definitely found a community through yoga. Some of my best friends are people I’ve met at class or are my fellow teachers. Yoga has a way of connecting all different kinds of people. We all practice for different reasons, but in a community setting like a class there is a awesome collaboration of energy. When you find a class or studio you are comfortable with, it begins to feel like family.
V: For someone who has never attended a yoga class, and who might be a little intimidated, what would be your advice?
K: It can be nerve wracking to come to a class as a first timer. We’ve all been there. My biggest advice is to not give a shit if you can touch your toes, what your outfit looks like, or what others think. Really, no one cares. It is a practice that constantly evolves and changes. Many people, including myself, are surprised at what they can actually do with practice and time. There is a saying, from The Bhagavad Gita- “Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” It is a practice. No one is “good” at yoga. Each practice is different. The body feels different everyday, and I like to encourage students to view their time on the mat with a sense of curiosity and exploration.
V: Where else can our members find your yoga classes?
K: I love teaching at Hopewell! It’s a beautiful space and I love that it is a collaborative space that brings all kinds of people together. And the coffee cafe is amazing! Besides Hopewell, you can catch me teaching classes at BlueSpot in Bexley and Goyoga at the Upper Arlington and New Albany locations. I’m also a certified Standup PaddleBoard yoga instructor. This Summer you will find me on the Scioto teaching classes through AquaFlowFit.
V: Anything else you want to add about yoga in Columbus?
K: Yoga in Columbus has grown so much. I love that so many people have discovered how awesome yoga is! There are so many wonderful places to practice in the city. The practice is constantly evolving and changing, which is great because it makes it easy to find a place and style that works for each individual person.
Hopewell's Friday yoga series continues tomorrow at 6 AM with Kati. Sign up here.