by Kara-Leah Grant
It’s such a pleasure to introduce our first Auckland yoga teacher, Katy Carter.
1. What style of yoga do you practice and where do you teach?
I practice both astanga (mysore style) and dynamic hatha. Primarily I teach dynamic hatha (open level). You can find out more about the classes I teach on my website here.
2. How did you come to yoga?
I’ve always been a keen gym-goer, but I had always wanted to try yoga, and one day, a work colleague and I got up the courage to go to a class.
I thought you had to be flexible to do it, which I always believed I wasn’t!. From the first class I was hooked.
It made me feel incredible – mentally, physically, emotionally. Being able to do a headstand in the first week made me let go of so much fear – after that I felt I could try anything!
It has taken me literally years to undo the tight hips and hamstrings that years of gym and cycling work created, but slowly, slowly….
3. When did the yoga bug really get you?
I’ve been practicing now for almost 13 years, but it has really been in the last five or so years that I have been totally devoted to practicing Yoga.
I have practiced Astanga, Iyengar, Hatha, Shadow and Yin Yoga.
When I got to going 5 or 6 times a week to classes, and doing wonderful inspiring workshops with internationally renowned teachers, I realised I wanted to take my yoga further. So I applied for teacher training, both to deepen my own practice and see how I could share this wonderful gift and teach yoga.
4. How has yoga transformed your life?
In so many ways…. yoga has taught me many lessons, and so many ways to deal with what life throws at you. It has been my rock. My way to get back to myself. To just be.
5. What is your home practice like?
I vary my home practice depending on what my body (or my soul) needs. I usually do at least 1.5 hr asana practice, which will be quite dynamic, sometimes I will vary it with a yin practice, and I like to include pranayama and meditation. I’d love to make the time to meditate more often!
6. When people ask you, “What is Yoga?”, what do you say?
I say that yoga is the art and science of living.
7. What can people expect from one of your classes?
My teaching draws on different styles, focusing on the synchronisation of breath and movement, emphasizing correct alignment, to create a strong, dynamic, flowing class.
I offer different options throughout, catering for all levels, but especially for beginners, emphasizing a non-competitive approach, with a sense of humour and fun. I encourages students to honour their own level, fostering an attitude of acceptance and compassion towards themselves, and building an awareness of their own unique body.
8. What do you love most about teaching yoga?
Bringing a sense of peace and space to people’s lives.
We throw ourselves from pillar to post in our daily life, punishing ourselves that we haven’t done enough, worked out enough, are not good enough…
I love at the end of a class to see students’ faces and know that they feel wholly better within and without.
9. What do you wish everybody knew about yoga?
That anyone can do it.
10. What role do you see yoga playing in our world?
It interests me enormously, having lived in London for the past 15 years, to see how the more stressful, time poor, and technologically advanced our lives become, the more people turn to yoga and meditation.
I see it as a grounding and deeply humanising force, which connects us back to the rest of the universe.
We can only hope to teach by example: the more people practicing yoga, the better this world will be for all beings.
11. Anything else you’d like to say?
I’d like to see the yoga community in NZ grow and connect with each other and flourish. We need to put aside our judgments and differences and accept the many and various forms of yoga practices that exist. That can only benefit us all.
12.And finally, how do people find you?
You can check out my website here.