Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter 2013 Yoga Session

As my oldest child turns 12, I am reminded that I have been practicing Yoga for a long time having started in Pregnancy Yoga back in 2000.  Throughout these years, yoga classes and my personal practice have been a steady anchor for me as a "get away" from family life - just a break for 2 hours to come back refreshed and a better version of me.  Lately, people have been asking me if yoga is a good "workout".  Hmmmmm.  Well, I suppose it can be.  It definitely is if you do it in a 95 degree room with 65% humidity, but we don't have rooms like that in Viroqua in January. 

I always feel like I have worked in yoga class -- yoga isn't easy, especially if you have been taught how to engage your body for a stretch in any given pose.  It can be even more demanding to work on a more subtle level with the breath trying to keep it smooth and steady over the course of a class -- huffing and puffing is really not the goal of yoga -- a long smooth breath triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and allows you to put your mind out of business so you can relax and recalibrate. 

I think we lose something if the goal of yoga is a "workout".  I feel like yoga class is an investment in mastering an ancient science.  If my goal as a teacher is "to kick your butt" and make you sweat, I miss the opportunity to teach you the deeper elements of the poses, the tradition,  and the practices.  That said, I love a very challenging yoga class and I aim to challenge you.  Part of what helps me challenge students is if they have a strong foundation in the poses and have been trained to engage their bodies and move energy in a pose.  You get this in classes where there's plenty of "lab time" to explore and master the bio-mechanics of the postures.

I am currently taking an online class called, "Asana Junkies Webinar" where we practice a set advanced sequence for up to two hours a day holding each pose for 1 minute.  It is a major trip around the body to practice like that for two hours, but there's no huffing or puffing involved.  I am leading anyone who wants to join me in this in my Intermediate Led Practice class on Thursday afternoons from 12:45-2:45 and on Sundays from 7-9:30 am.  If you want a yoga challenge that will kick your butt, that's my best recommendation.   Also, my Flow class on Thursday mornings from 8:30-9:45 is a Power Yoga class without the heat. 

My Tuesday and Saturday Morning classes at 8:30 and 8 am are very challenging and are moving toward Level 2 classes with an emphasis on Handstand and Wheel Poses -- I am teaching these as All Level classes with "bus stops" to get off at so you can practice wisely.  My Gentle class, Tuesdays at 10:30 is my favorite class of the week with many seniors and people recovering from injuries -- absolutely sweet and restorative. 

I am offering a Yoga Nidra relaxation class for $5 donation on Thursdays from 11:30-12:30 that anyone who can lie down and close their eyes can enjoy -- an antidote for modern life.  Finally, beginners should come to my Thursday night at 6:15 class or Saturday mornings from 10:15-11:45 am (Sat Beginners through February only).

Maybe Yoga will feel like a workout, but its purpose is much deeper and more meaningful.  I feel like it is my duty as a teacher to do justice to the tradition and offer more than a fitness teacher would in a health club.  As your local yoga teacher, it is my job to teach you yoga -- to offer more than you can get on a yoga video.  I welcome you -- come let me share this ancient science and magnificent tradition with you.  It is a practice for life that can lead you  deeper into the meaning of your life and to a greater sense of your true nature.  And, you'll feel better in your body and be nicer to your kids :-).


  1. Kathy's husband Matt--that's me--finally came to class! That is big news. For so long our home schedule has had me with kids during Kathy's teaching hours, but the kids are more self-reliant now and it's time for me to get my body ready for the 2nd 50 years of this trip. Saturday morning beginners class was great, plenty of guys there, so it didn't feel like "me and the ladies yoga." Strong endorsement from this beginner.

  2. Kathy, what a wonderful article. We were just talking about this last night with a pair of new friends. I'd love to take a class with you. You are so real, caring, honest, intelligent and true to the deeper science of Yoga. I'd start with the Yoga Nidra class. My favorite! Blessings for a wonderful winter, and beautiful new year.

  3. Dear Matt and Laura,
    Matt, it is so super to have you in class my dear! It is wonderful we will have yoga together in this second half of life. And Laura, you are on a short list of women I want to study with and maybe teach with one day. You and your husband are such inspirations to me, so thanks for such a sweet comment! I think we are on very similar bhakti wavelengths. Blessings to you!