Meet Kate, YBD Teacher of the Month!

When you meet Kate and her permanent smile, you are filled with lightness and positive energy. She always has an amazing attitude and outlook on life that inspires her classes and the teachers and students of the YBD community. Kate is very generous with her time and dedicates all of her attention wholeheartedly to whatever she is doing, whether it is running marathons, making wholesome homemade foods, working with her pups or sharing her love of yoga with others. Check out Kate’s current schedule:

2pm YBD Hot, Sundays in Wheaton

6am YBD1, Mondays in Elmhurst

4:30pm Yoga Sculpt, Mondays in Wheaton

6pm YBD2, Tuesdays in Wheaton

7:15pm Yoga Sculpt, Tuesdays in Wheaton

6am YBD2, Wednesdays in Downers Grove

10am Sculpt Fusion, Wednesdays in Wheaton

9:30am YBD1, Thursdays in Downers Grove

4:30pm Sculpt Fusion, Thursdays in Downers Grove

Get to know Kate a little more:

When and how did you come to yoga?

I started practicing yoga regularly in 2011 as a way to increase my range of motion. At the time I was training for my first half marathon, and my tight hamstrings needed some extra love. In 2014 I found Yoga By Degrees and it’s been a yoga home ever since!

Why did you start teaching yoga?

I’ve always had a passion for connecting with people, and yoga is a beautiful way to do so. I worked in international education immediately following college and thought that my communication with students would be personally fulfilling, but after a few years I hardly recognized myself. There wasn’t enough yoga and running in the world to counteract the stress of my job. My eating and sleeping habits weren’t healthy, and I quickly found myself feeling on the verge of tears on a regular basis. I’d been thinking for some time about becoming a yoga teacher, but I’d always kept it in my heart as this “one day” desire. But a few weeks later my husband turned to me out of no where said, “You know what? I think you should be a yoga instructor!” Talk about an ‘ah-ha!’ moment. Less than a week later I put in my notice at work and signed up for the Yoga By Degrees 200h YTT program. And as they say, the rest is history!

What is your favorite pose?

That’s like asking me what kind of dessert is my favorite…all of them! But if I had to choose, Camel Pose would be the winner. Funnily enough, Camel Pose used to be my nemesis. Teachers would cue it in class and I’d think, “No! Anything but that!,” because Camel would cause all sorts of emotions to surface which I didn’t want to address. But after purposefully integrating it into my personal practice, I’ve come to welcome the sensations and I particularly love the opening of the heart. There’s something liberating about making yourself open and vulnerable. Now instead of leaving Camel with emotions flailing, I’ve found a way to feel lighter and ready to embrace the feelings it inspires.

Who inspires your teaching?

I don’t want to sound cliche, but I’m truly inspired by everyone who shows up on their mat. As a runner, I’ve always said that the hardest part of any run is just getting out of the door. And I feel the same is true with yoga. The most difficult part of practicing can simply be making the time and commitment to make it to your mat in the first place. It’s so easy when we’re pulled in a million different directions to put the needs of others first, but I’ve learned through personal experience that in order to love and support those around us that we first have to make our personal well being and health a priority. When I come to my mat, I leave a lighter and happier self. It’s my hope that I can guide students to a similar feeling of self love, acceptance and willingness to then spread that joy to others.

Tips for beginners…

Embrace the newness of it all. It can be scary to try something out of your comfort zone, but instead give yourself permission to have an open mind and heart. I’m a big encourager of laughter, both in and out of class – find joy through laughter and let the rest go!

What’s your favorite quote?

“Whether you think that you can, or think that you cannot, you are right.” – Henry Ford
Who doesn’t love a little self empowerment? This quote reminds me that many boundaries are self imposed, and that once I break them there’s no limit to where I can go.

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