When did you start practicing yoga?
I dabbled with yoga between sports seasons in high school, but I didn’t really start practicing regularly until my freshman year of college, so about 5 years ago.
Were you hooked immediately, or did it take some time for yoga to become part of your lifestyle?
After my first hot class I was totally hooked. I was an athlete in high school, so the yoga classes at the rec center in college were a great stress reliever, but I never felt like I was getting a workout, which was important to me. So once my friend Lindsey took me to my first hot class off campus, I found the best of both worlds and tried to go as often as possible. I didn’t have a car my freshman year, so I was begging her to take me all the time.
How has yoga helped you overcome personal challenges or obstacles in your life?
My freshman year of college was a really tough transition. In my senior year of high school, I was displaced by Hurricane Sandy, and shortly after moving back home, my mother passed away. Then I moved eight hours away to an extremely difficult university, and I really struggled emotionally and academically. Yoga helped me deal with anxiety and grief in a healthy way, and I am so grateful that I found it when I did.
Do you have any mentors or teachers who have inspired you throughout your yoga journey?
Yes so many! Firstly, the person who took me to my first hot class and really got me on this yoga journey, my friend and teacher, Lindsey Zimmer. Of course, my teachers Jenn McConnell and Crystal Froberg, and all of the wonderful ladies I did my training with. At Hot or Not, it has been a pleasure to learn from all of the amazing teachers (and students!), like Rose Dease, Emily Bowker, Michelle Pierson, Adam Binder, Colleen Yerves, and of course, Joell Lanfrank, who we all miss dearly.
What are your goals as a yoga teacher?
When I teach, my goal is that every student walks out of class with whatever they needed. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, whatever it is, I hope to provide a space for people to grow and learn, and most of all, enjoy themselves.
What is your teaching style?
Fun, flowy vinyasas.
What have been some of the biggest benefits you’ve found - mentally, physically and spiritually - since you’ve started doing yoga?
I think the most significant benefits I have seen from practicing yoga are mental benefits. I was a mess when I started practicing yoga. I definitely don’t have it all figured out now, I haven’t reached nirvana or enlightenment or whatever, but my mental health is significantly better than what it was. I have learned different techniques to handle my anxiety, and I’ve found a sense of support in our yoga community. I always know I can come to my mat when I need a mental check-in.
Physically, I’ve found a practice that has allowed me to feel stronger than ever. I am amazed at the things my body can do. Of course, it’s still a practice, some days are better than others, but I’ve learned to accept my body for what it is and love it for all that it does for me.
Learning about the spirituality intertwined in yoga has been really interesting. I was raised religious and have those beliefs, but at the same time, I understand the spiritual connection when practicing yoga or meditation. There’s a connection to the students in class and the ancient philosophies of yoga, which is a really powerful feeling.
What has incorporating yoga into your lifestyle taught you about yourself?
Incorporating yoga into my lifestyle has taught me the importance of self-reflection. I’ve been trying to incorporate journaling and meditation into my routine because I know when I take the short time to do that, I’m more in touch with myself and I have an overall better day. Yoga and self-reflection have also taught me how important it is to open up and let go of things that no longer serve me.
What is your favorite pose and why?
I have flexible hamstrings, so I love any type of forward fold. I love poses where you feel strong and powerful, like dancer’s pose or high lunge. I also love poses where I feel like I could melt into my mat, like waterfall or savasana. It’s all about balance!
Do you have a mantra or quote you live by?
I love quotes and poetry, so this is difficult. There was a reading from my mother’s funeral that I’ve held in my heart since then - Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed in strength and dignity, and laughs without fear of the future.” It inspires me to be strong, hopeful, and happy.
If you could design a yoga mat of your own, what would it look like? (because sometimes dreams really do come true)
Something related to the sun, like a bright yellow burst! Yellow is my favorite color it makes me so happy, that would be a cool mat.
Air, Earth, Fire or Water - Which element speaks to you the most in your practice?
Fire. I’m a Sagittarius, so I’m a fire sign. I love the feeling of energy and strength when I flow. I have a go go go mentality in life and on my mat… balance is a work in progress.
What advice would you give to someone who feels too intimidated to try yoga for the first time?
Just go! I think people think that the other students in the class will judge you, but everyone starts at the beginning. And if someone does judge you, they probably need more yoga in their life.
Our mantra is “Live Limitless,” and we aim to inspire people to pursue their passions free of self-doubt or the pressures of societal norms. How has yoga helped you live limitless?
Finding yoga was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me during such a crazy time in my life. It has allowed me to overcome so much, and shown me that there’s no limit to what I can do or accomplish. It has allowed me to feel comfortable as my authentic self.
Do you have a yoga playlist? If so, what kind of music is on it?
I love practicing to music, it really gets me in the zone. My playlists are so varied depending on how I’m practicing. I like listening to higher intensity music when I’m flowing because it makes me feel so strong, and slower pretty music when I’m doing deeper holds. I’m on Spotify – Katie Lofty if you’re interested!
Follow Katie on Instagram: @katiex12