Interview with Kathryn Budig

Posted by Hom Yoga on

By Vicky Arundel

Vicky: Hi Kathryn, on behalf of Hom Yoga, thank you for taking the time do this interview. We are thrilled to have you in Sydney in July 2016 for your upcoming workshops! On that note, your travelling and teaching schedule over the past few years has been awe-inspiring. How do you maintain a consistent yoga practice with such a schedule? Can you give us a feel for what your current practice looks like?

Kathryn: I’ve made peace with the fact that a good yoga practice doesn’t have to look any specific way. I used to be attached to my 90 minute practice, and now I realized sun salutations laced with standing poses, or even a good seat or meditation is a lovely practice. I adjust to my time frame and surroundings.

Vicky: As a fellow yoga teacher, and frequent practitioner on Yogaglo, I have learnt so much from doing your online classes. You have a gift for making seemingly difficulty poses fun and accessible. Having come from the rather more hard-line lineage of Ashtanga, was this a conscious decision on your part to make yoga a little more light-hearted, approachable and inclusive, or just a teaching style that evolved over time?

Kathryn: I tend to live in a more light-hearted state in general, so it only seemed appropriate to teach that way. My experience has shown that people progress much faster when they’re enjoying themselves so it’s my hope that this style of teaching will help students achieve their true potential while cracking a smile or two.

Vicky: Teaching yoga is such a privilege and can be a dream job for many, but it also comes with responsibilities, financial pressures and travel stress. What do you feel are the biggest pros and cons of teaching yoga for a living?

Kathryn: Pros: Living out what I’m most passionate about every day and getting to see the positive results face-to-face with my students. Watching people light up when they connect with something inside them that helps them change their paths. Trying new, delicious cuisines that inspire my cooking. And most importantly, meeting amazing people all over the world.

Cons: Lack of sleep. Waking up in a bed and not knowing where I am. Lack of routine. Those cruel, judgmental comments I get (and force myself to ignore) on social media. Not having my dogs with me 100% of the time (that’s the worst part).

Vicky: One of the greatest challenges I have found with teaching yoga long-term is staying inspired and having something new and fresh to bring to class each time. I have found that this is critical, not only for my students, but also for keeping myself engaged and present. How do you stay inspired in both your teaching and your practice? Do you have any words of advice for teachers about avoiding burnout?

Kathryn: I try to learn from new teachers and styles whenever I can! Even if it isn’t your style, you’ll walk away with some new nugget of wisdom that you can translate into your own language. If going to try out new teachers isn’t possible, then I recommend sampling from a ton of them on yogaglo.com Pop some popcorn and take notes! :)

Vicky: You have been a very welcome and vocal advocate for promoting yoga for all body shapes and sizes, and calling out those involved in body shaming on social media. Your talk on Mindbody was particularly moving (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/revitalize/video/i-am-a-real-woman-so-is-every-other-woman). It seems to me that depending on our intention, yoga can either significantly improve the relationship we have with our bodies, or it can potentially exacerbate problems, particularly if we compare ourselves to the airbrushed models on yoga magazines. Do you have any suggestions or tips on how yogis can use the practice to improve their own body image?

Kathryn: I agree that it has the potential to eliminate or exacerbate problems! It’s a slippery slope if we’re not careful and let ourselves fall prey to judgment or, end up judging others. I constantly remind my students to focus on how a particular pose makes them FEEL verses how they think it makes them LOOK. This simple adjustment works on the mat but I try to apply it in life, too. Just focus on what feels good and I think you’ll soon be able to ignore that person you allow yourself to see on a bad day/week/year. People want to hear your beautiful words—they don’t care about the shade of your lipstick (it looks fabulous!) or the brand of your shirt. And, if they are concerned about either—move on! That’s a rabbit hole of toxic opinions.

Vicky: On a related note, you have a very active social media presence. How do you manage and balance the demands of this with everything else that you do? Do you think in this day and age, being visible online is just part-and-parcel of a yoga teacher’s livelihood? Can you ever see a time where you might no longer use it or want to be on it?

Kathryn: I have such a love/hate relationship with social media. I adore its ability to connect me with students, but would be THRILLED to see it lose some of its power because it also has the ability to rip people to sheds, inflate peoples’ egos, and offer a dangerous platform for people to be cruel. However, it is a vehicle for sharing positive things (classes, workshops, great stories), but sometimes I wish we could go back to the days of the yellow pages for advertising (eh?!)!

Vicky: As a teacher who has been involved already in so many wonderful projects already and travelled half the globe, do you still have teaching goals that you want to accomplish? Are there any new yoga or non-yoga projects in the pipeline that you’re able to share with us?

Kathryn: I’m so incredibly excited to launch my second book, Aim True. Most of my focus is going into getting the book out into the world, and before you know it, I’ll be writing my 3rd. I would love to be able to write more in the future and develop more video content.

Vicky: We are so looking forward to having you at Hom Yoga, Sydney in July. For students who may be new to you and your style of teaching, can you tell us a bit more about what they can expect to learn or gain from attending one of your workshops?

Kathryn: Expect to be challenged, but to feel safe at all times—there’s always a variation for you. I want you to walk away smiling and with an empowered sense of self. The goal is to drop your pre-conceived notions of what you can and can’t do and imagine your abilities as limitless! That’s where we’ll have the most fun!

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