Kathryn Budig: On Taking Your Time
On taking your time, weeding out the energy suckers, and having no filter
Interview: Gina Caputo
Gina Caputo: Kathryn, we’re just off a two-hundred-hour teacher training with an international group of stellar new yoga teachers. Based on that month-long experience, what is your top piece of advice to anyone starting out teaching yoga today?
Kathryn Budig: I’m still riding my high from being surrounded by so many bright, intelligent, and amazing new teachers. My advice to them and anyone else just stepping foot onto the teacher path is to take your time. There’s no rush to be good or renowned. The only way to being a better teacher is time and dedication. Don’t look for shortcuts, because they’ll only hurt you in the long run. Take your time, teach what you love, be unabashedly you, and try not to compare yourself to someone who’s been teaching longer than you.
GC: It’s kind of hard to own your style and message when you don’t know it’s tried and true nor that it will be accepted or even financially sustainable. What are your top five recommendations for how to work with the doubt, uncertainty, or fear that comes up?
KB: Everyone needs to start somewhere. A new yogi doesn’t handstand on their first try, and a new teacher doesn’t start out as a headliner. Be patient, and trust it’s all going to add up and unfold in due time. Doubt means you’re human—congratulations! It’s natural to have these feelings, and if anything makes you humble, just don’t be ruled by those emotions. The self doubt can be a fantastic opportunity to self-reflect and see where you can grow and be stronger. Better to constantly check in than ride proud on your high horse.
We live in fear when we’ve forgotten how to act from a place of love. Remember that, and set intention to act from a place of no comparison, jealousy, or fear. Police yourself on this! No cheating, clean up your self-induced fear act, and replace it with what you love.
Know that your style will always change and that nothing is ever set in stone. Your passions will grow as you continue to grow, so remember, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself or pursue the latest things that make you light up. There’s room enough for everyone to thrive. Trust that your message is a unique one that people need to hear. Not everyone will love you, and that’s completely OK. Focus on sharing your story and affecting the people that are hungry for your light.
GC: What’s the greatest challenge you’ve faced as a yoga teacher? And I’m not necessarily talking Kapotasana; what I mean is that there’s a bit of a preconceived notion that by the time you’re teaching yoga, you handle everything with grace. So what’s something that’s been a struggle for you to maintain equanimity around?
KB: My biggest struggle has been balancing where I give my energy. I can be a bit of an overachiever and always dance that line of balance between giving myself to work versus giving time to myself and loved ones. I keep using the practice as a tool to remind myself of what really matters at the end of the day and that my ego may like success and affecting people who need help but that my heart craves the simplicity of home and my family. Two thousand and fifteen will be a year of weeding out the energy suckers and remembering how to take care of myself.
GC: On that note, which yoga teacher do you admire for how they walk the talk?
KB: Well, my dear friend—you! I’m talking about my interviewer and dear friend Gina Caputo. I’ve never met someone more passionate about teaching yoga than Gina. Her drive to pass on the beautiful lineage of yoga in a way that makes people respect their roots and teachers but question everything—in a respectful and intelligent way—is so incredibly dynamic. She inspires me to be a better teacher, a better student, and a sponge for information.
GC: Tell me how you get yourself onto your mat when you’re feeling down or lazy or just otherwise not into it.
KB: I remind myself that the practice can be whatever I need. I don’t have to ignite fire on my mat every day with a vinyasa practice. I often focus on yin, or slow flows, or even decide on a simple, long meditation. I’ve been practicing long enough to know that the asana ebbs and flows. I don’t define myself by my body’s ability to execute gorgeous asana anymore. I’m all about taking care of my temple and understanding that its requirements change with age and time.
GC: So what are some other things you do that are not asana or even classically considered “yoga” that you consider part of your living yoga practice?
KB: My time in the kitchen is an extension of my practice. Cooking brings me so much joy. I love everything, down to the execution of the plate to picking out fresh ingredients at the market. It makes me deeply grateful and aware of where our food comes from and how feeding people is another way of saying, “I love you.”
GC: You’re known for your funny and effective teaching metaphors. Where does this stuff come from?
KB: Seriously, who freakin’ knows? I’ve heard people quote me or seen clips from YogaGlo where I’ve thought, “Where the hell did that come from?” Basically, I have no filter, and when I’m teaching, I get into the zone. I want students to enjoy their practice and love themselves, which means I need to find a way to make the asana accessible instead of intimidating and depressing. I’ll get so amped up trying to find ways to create that freedom that I end up free-styling off of whatever pops into my head. It’s a bit crazy, but it’s me.
GC: Oh, hey, I know how much you love dogs, but what do you think your spirit animal is, and why?
KB: I can’t say a puggle? Affectionate, needy-independent, small, compact, and strong, with a veracious appetite? That would be my first choice, but I’ve always been drawn to the mysticism of the stag. Such a majestic creature. The more I think about it, I’m really more of a puggle. A majestic puggle.
GC: Humor is such an important part of every day for me. What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you recently?
KB: My best friend just paid me a visit for the weekend and stayed at our house. One of my dogs has an affinity for humping arms, but she had never attempted this on my friend. We were sitting on the floor after a night out, and Ashi bulldozed my friend’s arm and was excitedly about to commence her humping routine when her pelvic excitement squeezed out three little toots. It shocked her. She released the arm, ran away, and burrowed into the sofa in shame. I laughed so hard, I cried. Did I mention I have no filter?
GC: All right, K. B., what will you and I be celebrating a year from now? Raising a glass of good bubbles to . . . ?
KB: My book! My newest book, called Aim True, is still being written but will be published early 2016 through William Morrow. It’s my baby—full of my aim-true philosophy and how to apply aiming true to almost everything. I touch upon regular life, yoga, meditation, cooking—fifty-plus recipes—and more. It seems far off now, but I know those bubbles are just around the corner!