Name: Katherine Smith
Occupation: Yoga teacher, retreat leader and writer
What do you love most about yoga?
For me yoga is a gateway into freedom. It has allowed me to comfortably be who I want to be, to fully accept all the different sides of me, to love and develop the various dimensions of my personality, to swim the depths of my darkness and sore in the brightness of my light.
It has called me to embrace my wildness as a path to wholeness. Yoga lets me breathe. It gives me permission to be both vulnerable and strong.
I love that is gives me hope and it gives me faith - it dares me to dream bigger and do better, to be alive in and available to the moment.
How Has Yoga Changed Your Life, Personality And Physique?
Before yoga, I felt incomplete somehow. I thought something was missing. I thought I was inadequate. So I pushed myself really hard, because I thought I had to be something else, different to how I already was. I would set the benchmark high and measure my life by ticking boxes and achieving goals.
Of course, I always felt like I was failing, I always felt like I wasn’t good enough. When I became serious about yoga, I was exposed to a different way of thinking that flipped my perspective so I was able to let go of a lot.
For starters, I quit my advertising job and stressful city life. I found more confidence and realised I was capable of so much more than I thought possible if I stopped thinking about everything so much, stopped wanting, wishing and clinging to things so tightly.
I became happier as a direct result of feeling more comfortable being me. ~Katherine Smith
That let me pursue my dream of travelling more and teaching yoga without really knowing where it was going, or where I wanted it to end. I still don’t!
Physically, I am far healthier. I am conscious about what I put into my body without being controlling, so I have a more constructive relationship with food. I’ll never be a super skinny yogi, after all I have boobs and a butt, but yoga has helped to tone and lengthen my limbs so I wear the assets I’ve been blessed with well.
What Everyday Things Did You Get Better At Because Of Yoga?
I got better at people. I became more open and communicative, more compassionate and patient. My focus started to be more about what I can give, rather than what I can get. So my relationships improved and the new connections I welcomed in were deeper and more meaningful.
‘After yoga’, I knew who I was, I didn’t feel like I had anything to hide so I was able to show people the real me and meet people from a place of openness and authenticity.
How Do You Keep Your Yoga Practice Interesting And Challenging?
I just keep doing it. It doesn’t always have to be interesting or challenging for me. In fact, I like going back to basics and finding joy in the simple things. If I feel like I’m lacking inspiration I look at books or take a workshop with someone I respect. Sometimes, for fun, a friend and I will challenge each other to try a new pose and then work on it together.
What Book, Website Or Person Inspires You?
I really love ‘The Heart of Yoga: Developing Personal Practice: Developing a Personal Practice by T.K.V. Desikachar, I find that every time I dip into it, it speaks to me in new ways. I also loved ‘Quantum Healing’ by Deepak Chopra and ‘The Divine Matrix’ by Gregg Braden. Both of these really opened my eyes to the interconnectivity of all things and the relationship between mind, body and thought.
What Do You Listen To While You Do Yoga?
Mostly, my breath...unless I’m feeling playful. And then sometimes I’ll put on some classic rock n’roll or Hip Hop. You could say my taste is eclectic.
What’s The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?
Be ok with nothing. Embrace not knowing. It’s the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you, because you never know what is going to happen next. Embrace it, swim into it – discover what lies beyond and beneath the void.
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