Kathryn Budig began her yoga teacher training with YogaWorks. Having taught for eight years in Santa Monica, she currently teachers yoga online at Yoga Glo. Kathryn teaches vinyasa flow influenced by Ashtanga, arm balances, inversions, core work, filled with laughter and playfulness. She is the co-founder of “Poses for Paws”, an organisation dedicated towards raising money for animal shelters through yoga. Kathryn is the contributing yoga expert for various international magazines, journals and websites. She currently travels internationally leading workshops. Asana spoke to her about her career, philanthropy and philosophy.
Asana: How did you start your yoga practice?
Kathryn: I was immersed in musical theatre at the University of Virginia when a dance girlfriend of mine took me to a class. I didn’t enjoy the first class at all (the teacher didn’t resonate with me and if anything irritated me), but she was so persistent that I agreed to try another teacher. She taught Ashtanga and I immediately fell in love with it. It became my weekly highlight in the middle of college chaos.
Asana: Yoga seems completely opposite to your favorite sport, skydiving. Do you consider that your yoga practice complements skydiving and vice versa?
Kathryn: They’re actual similar in so many ways! They both demand your full attention and ability to be present. There isn’t time to think about things that have been upsetting you throughout the day or you’ll lose your balance on the mat or do something stupid in the sky. Landing after a skydive or coming out of savasana both give me a huge dose of gratitude for exactly where I am in life.
Asana: How do you describe your practice and yoga style? Is vinyasa your favourite / preferred style?
Kathryn: I teach and practice vinyasa flow, but also have a soft spot for ashtanga, as I practised it for years. I’ve been digging deeper into my meditation and yin practice lately, and am always open to new teachers and styles. It’s what helps keep my teaching fresh and inspired.
Asana: How has your yoga practice evolved over the years?
Kathryn: So much! I started out so young and was drawn to the physical aspect of the practice. I’ve always been driven and athletic, so used to find myself constantly challenging myself with advanced poses. I still enjoy a good challenge, but rather enjoy the balance aspect of the practice. My life is so busy that yoga brings me a much needed respite.
Asana: Do you feel you can apply your academic training in drama in your teaching?
Kathryn: Completely! I’m so grateful for my theatric training as it makes me comfortable in front of large groups of people. I’m never ‘acting’ in front of my students, but I do get fired up over the teachings and can be rather animated. I suppose that’s what drew me towards the stage in the first place!
Asana: How effective do you consider teaching yoga online? Would you prefer teaching “real” classes?
Kathryn: I always prefer live classes and personal interactions, but I think the online yoga trend is genius. It makes yoga accessible to so many people who would never of had the option. It’s great for those with low funds, big families, heavy responsibilities, or maybe they live in an area without studios or few options. I’m so deeply grateful to share my practice with those around the world in such an amazing venue.
Asana: Having taught at different locations and countries, do you notice that culture differences affect yoga practices? How do you adapt your teaching to suit different audience?
Kathryn: There are differences for sure, but ultimately the students are all the same. There will be different levels of competency. Larger cities tend to attract a more advanced student base, but aside from that, the passion for yoga is universal. I always adjust my teaching to who walks into the class, but have found that everyone loves a challenge if it’s presented in a loving and accessible way, which is what I always aim to do.
Asana: Do you consider that “The Body as Temple” ad campaign impacts your teaching?
Kathryn: I think the ToeSox images helped get my name out into the yoga world. It feels like a lifetime ago at this point. I’m not much for drama, but believe that everything happens for a reason. I wouldn’t want to relive the judgements, but am grateful for the experience and lessons that it taught me. I offer all the nuggets of wisdom I’ve gained in experiences like that to my students regularly.
Asana: What is your typical day?
Kathryn: Typical isn’t typical in my world. If I’m at home (which I’m trying to make happen more), I normally start my day with meditation and tea. I’ll work on my book edits, blogs and emails for a few hours and then normally go for a walk with my dogs and husband. I’ve recently fallen in love with martial arts, so I’ll go take a class and/or do a yoga practice at home. I cook every single day, so by the end of the day I’m normally recipe testing something new and delicious for my husband and food blog.
Asana: How do you relax yourself? Apart from skydiving, do you have other hobbies or favourite pastimes?
Kathryn: I love the discipline and slow beauty behind martial arts and have found it to be therapeutic. My meditation practice does wonders. I love a warm bath with salts, or watching a TV show with my husband as he rubs my feet and I lay on my Biomat.
Asana: Does your family support your yoga career? Do you encourage your family and friends to practise yoga?
Kathryn: My family has supported every single one of my whims my entire life. They’re a magnificent family and support system, and I owe so much to their belief in me. I encourage yoga but never push it. I believe in people making their own choices and being drawn towards a discipline because it calls to them, and not because I think they “should”.
Asana: Could you explain your philosophy of “Aim True”? How do you apply this to your practice, teaching and generally in life?
Kathryn: If I had to put it in a nutshell: aiming true is my ability to connect my passions with natural abilities and to pursue them regardless of the obstacles thrown at me. If I can sustain that will to live a life that excites me and fires me up without having the expectations of others swaying me then I always hit my mark. I apply this philosophy to everything – work, relationships, my teachings and even how I eat my food.
Asana: How did you come up the idea of “Poses for Paws”? What does it involve?
Kathryn: I’m a huge animal lover, and my dogs are my heartbeat. Poses for Paws started out as a simple idea to use our yoga teaching as a way to give back to the community. It was a way to help build awareness, get people involved and hopefully save some lives.
Asana: Do you notice an expansion of yoga community because of this charity?
Kathryn: So many yogis’ vibrate with this cause. I have people regularly reaching out to see how they can help, and that’s all I can ask for. I want to help inspire people to see how easy it is to give back when it’s something that matters to you.
Asana: What has been the most pleasant surprise for you reaching out to the community through your fundraising effort?
Kathryn: That people have such generous hearts and are ready to give back. We can make such a huge impact as long as we commit to showing up.
Asana: Do you plan to expand the charity worldwide?
Kathryn: I would LOVE to do that. Baby steps for now and my ultimate goal is to continue to get other people throwing events until it takes on a life of its own.
The way forward
Asana: Are you planning to release another DVD?
Kathryn: I’ve been toying with the idea, but am putting most of my video efforts into my online teaching at Yogaglo. I will be releasing my 2nd book in early 2016 called Aim True. It’s where I’ve been pouring all of my passion into lately.
Asana: How do you keep up with your contributions to various yoga magazines and journals?
Kathryn: I just handle everything one day at a time. If I get too ahead of myself I get overwhelmed. Fortunately my English degree (along with Drama) pays off, and writing comes naturally to me. The goal is to stay inspired, so I try to keep my hand on the pulse of what’s happening in the world.
Asana: Where would you like to take your practice and teaching?
Kathryn: I’m interested in expanding my teaching beyond the edges of the yoga mat. Yoga is so much bigger than teaching asana, and my new book will be an example of that. I’m not exactly sure what is waiting for me, but I’m ready to create a path that’s never been walked before.
Asana: Is there one project / task you wish to pursue?
Kathryn: I can happily say I’m pursing everything I desire. I plan on doing that for the rest of my life.
To read the full article please download our Asana Journal App or purchase Issue 155 Apr 2015.