Meet sweet Katie, owner of Be Free Yoga. She started practicing yoga at 17 as something to do to keep active. Starting off primarily with hot yoga, she loved the challenge of the practice, but more importantly loved the way she felt after. It didn’t take long for the effects of yoga to trickle into the rest of her life. Her mat was a safe place to land, to process, and find peace.
We are stoked to be collaborating with Katie on her retreat this year in Fernie, BC, Canada July 17-20. She will not only be teaching yoga but also working you through the desire mapping workshops that Danielle Laporte trained her in facilitating.
Learn more about this beautiful soul in this interview:
What to you is the most essential quality in a teacher?
The most essential quality in a teacher is connection. To really see every student that shows up, and let them know they matter, and their journey is important. To connect with your students by making the class accessible for who shows up, no matter, ability, or beliefs, yoga is for everyone whatever path you are on. To connect with students by making eye contact in class, giving adjustments if they are welcomed. Connecting with clear concise language, and cues. Making an effort to talk after practice, to get to know them on a personal level, and to really, really listen to what they have to say. Connection to themselves so they are teaching from a place of authenticity and truth.
What are the biggest challenges yoga has brought you?
The biggest challenges I have faced since practicing yoga is learning to be still. When ever I would face any type of discomfort or turmoil in my life I would either deny it, avoid it, or run from it. Through yoga it has taught me to face it, to sit with it, to become still and allow myself to feel it and then move in which direction is best. I still struggle with this almost everyday, I feel the urge to run when things get hard, and to quit when I feel challenged. Yoga has forced me to be awake and be present in my life, and its honestly one of the hardest things to do but also the most rewarding thing about my practice.
Other than people, what has taught you the most in your path?
Nature, her perseverance, her strength, her beauty. Particularly pine trees. The way in which new seeds are planted is through extreme heat, a forest fire is the only way to crack open the pine cones allowing the seeds to fall to the earth. Its a metaphor for life, in order to plant a new beautiful seed that will bring great beauty and ease into your life, sometimes you need to go through extreme situations, and preserver through what seems like devastating circumstances to be reborn.
And horses, I have spent my whole life around horses and they have been my biggest guide and anchor. They survive in the wild by sensing energy. So when you are around horses you have no choice but to be grounded, calm, present, and confident. If you are not present or feeling anxious they too will become un easy, and won’t fully trust you. Horses were my first meditation teachers, and still are my favourite teachers. They have the ability to heal, and they are givers of unconditional love.
As a teacher what is the core of your message?
To listen to your self. Whether its listening to your body in what it is needing in a particular pose, listening to your heart, and your feelings and notice them, what are they calling for and craving. You have the answers you are searching for, and we need to trust ourselves. We are the ones living our life, so only we know what is truly best and what is going to make us feel great. Sometime we need a little help to get there but all the great teachers I have been blessed to work with have just allowed me to see and sometimes given me the courage to admit what I already knew deep down.
Why do you believe in the magic of yoga?
As a teenager I struggled with anxiety and a bit of depression, never really finding silence (except on my horse). And when I stepped on to my mat for the first time I had connected my breath and movement of my body for the first time and for a moment I let go of everything. On my mat I felt safe, I was able to discover who I was, and found some healthy love for myself. Where previously my inner critic ruled the roost and I was never really sure who I was, constantly trying to be like other people I looked up to. Which can be healthy to admire different qualities in people, but not to try and be them. Its the only place besides with my horse I felt strong, and confident, and proud of who I was. Connecting breath and movement truly is a powerful, magical force, that changes lives. I honestly don’t know a ton about philosophy and history, its not my strong point, I just love the simplicity and power of breath and body right here, right now, in this moment, in this body.