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Yoga bliss with KateGYoga

This month I have been so privileged to practice with Kate G Yoga

Kate is based in Edinburgh, with an online offering at the moment with due to COVID-19 restrictions. Her practice is a lovely blend of vinyasa and yin yoga, as well as a focus on breathing and meditation.

Her membership offer is £22 per month for unlimited sessions (both live and 'on demand'), alternatively, you can pay-as-you-go to attend livestream classes as you wish.

If you're not quite sure if it's for you yet, Kate has a selection of dedicated practices on her YouTube channel to give a flavour of a full class.

I started off with a sample of Kate's recorded practices on YouTube - I went for the Gentle Yin for neck and shoulder relief, followed by the 10-minute strong core video.

I do enjoy yoga, but I am embarrassed to say it usually gets down-graded for my WODs and running - however these short practices can easily be done 'on demand'. I think that's a great feature for those of us who constantly claim to be too busy to practice.. *ahem*.

I'm currently taking part in Claymore CrossFit's 6-week Nutrition Challenge, which is all about accountability. This features a daily goal of at least 15 minutes stretching/ mobility per day .. I feel like I now have a secret weapon with these videos at my fingertips!

Having tried Kate's practices via live stream, 'on demand' and on YouTube, I quickly gained a sense of 'Love & Light' from her that you hope to gain from your Yoga teacher. Kate truly does have one of those fantastic, relaxing presences. Listening to her guidance as you flow is nothing short of lovely.

So, let's get to know Kate a little better!

1) How did your relationship with yoga start out, have you always been attracted to yoga?

I used to practice when I was little with my dad. He's always been interested in the practice and philosophical side of yoga. But it was sporadic for me. I drifted from it in university and when I started my masters (probably when I needed it most!) and found a regular practice for the first time in 2020. The spiritual guidance side of yoga is what attracts me the most, its helps to keep me centred since I'm naturally quite...highly strung?! Haha.

2) What's it been like delivering classes through lockdown, what challenges or surprises have you found with it?

I took my teacher training at the start of the whole pandemic to just further my own practice. Then I taught my family a class and they loved it so I thought well why not spread some yoga love during this hard time. So I kind of came to teaching because of lockdown. So I've found it great! It pushed me to try something new. It was challenging on the technological side because I wasn't up with what is the best camera/ mic/ building a website but the teaching side came pretty naturally. I think because my full time job involves teaching to large groups.

3) What are the main inspirations or motivations that go into your classes?

My main inspirations or motivations when I'm creating a class are my own emotions or the emotions of others around me. I use those feelings to create a class because we never have experiences in isolation, someone will always resonate. So if I've been feeling a bit floaty I'll plan a grounding practice, or if a friend has been struggling with self confidence I plan a self love class. The human experience I guess is my inspiration? Because we can all get understand it.

4) Do you have plans for KateGYoga post-lockdown? Can we expect live classes or workshops in future?

Yes! So many plans! At the moment I run as a social enterprise on a very basic principle of if you can't afford to pay then you can still come anyway. I want to try make yoga more accessible because sometimes classes are super pricey. So I hope to take my classes (when we are allowed due to restrictions) to community centres/ schools and offer sessions. And as for online classes, they will most definitely continue. I want to up the number of classes I offer, record more sessions for people to access anytime, and start offering courses for beginners/ arm balances/ inversions :) And then host workshops and retreats in person! I've met so many lovely people due to yoga and we've hatched plans for yoga and massage retreats, yoga and wild swimming etc. We just need it to be safe enough to do so.

5) Can yoga help people during these unprecedented times? If so, what are the benefits? What would you say to encourage someone to explore yoga during a pandemic?

Yoga can absolutely help people. It's the perfect blueprint for finding more contentment, and peace, inside ourselves. If someone was thinking about trying a class I would say first of there's the physical benefits. More strength, more flexibility, more stamina, a deeper and more full breath.

But the mental benefits are where yoga excels. Asana practice (the physical postures) builds focus in the mind. When we focus our mind becomes one-pointed, or centred if you will, and it becomes quiet, we experience lowered anxiety, less stress. Practicing breath work, savasana, or restorative poses in yoga can help bring our physical body in to using the parasympathetic nervous system. The nervous system in charge of restoring the body and combatting the stress response of our sympathetic nervous system. Which leads to us feeling more calm, relaxed, and more well overall.

Yoga goes way beyond the asana practice in class.

The first 'live' experience with Kate was attending her first ever workshop on Sun 24 January, offering Yoga and Meditation. Kate took us through a 40-minute flow, building gentle energy through the body. Kate was joined by Kanishk, a meditation teacher also based in Edinburgh, who took us through a 40-minute guided meditation.

The flow was a perfect balance of mellow and energising. Having completed a +9km run earlier that day my body was shouting out for some TLC, and my mind was ready to slow down and unwind.

My experience with meditation to date is fairly novice, but Kanishk gave a wonderful experience. In this session he used Om chanting, different breathing paces, and grounding and gratitude techniques.

At one stage I actually became very emotional (!), along with some of my other attendees. The practice was really very nice. Following this, Kanishk said on his Instagram; the more moist your eyes, the softer your heart... let's normalise regular crying.

Thank you for having me .. I hope Kate and Kanishk work together again soon!

At the moment Kate offers livestream classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. If you missed a session, members can even access these in the members' on demand portal!

Tuesday's "Embrace the Week" practice uses a new spiritual theme each week.

Wednesday's "Unwind" encourages self-reflection through Yin yoga, holding poses and feeling their benefits.

Thursday is "Flow to Grow" - a series of Power Flow classes that work towards perfecting a pose, aiming to strengthen focus and concentration.

Friday is time for a "Feel Good" factor. An express class for those "looking to finish the week on a high", awakening and energising the body.

There's something for everyone!

Looks like Kate is off to a flying start with her yoga hustle - and lucky for us it sounds like she has lots of exciting new projects waiting to unfold.

You can find Kate on Instagram and Facebook @kategyoga

I am a yoga enthusiast at heart, and I believe that no matter your age or ability, whether you are very active or not, yoga is more than just a 'good stretch' and everyone can benefit from it.

I am also keen to promote fitness and movement for the masses, and helping to support our own local Scottish businesses during these times. We can access thousands of workouts and classes online for free, so why not tap into local, independent businesses? There's something so nice about having a familiar sounding voice guide you through a session.

Whilst I'm here repping lovely yogi experiences, I'd like to give a shout-out to two other fantastic Scottish lasses.

@yogawithlaurawatt - Laura is a dear friend of mine who completed her yoga teacher training during our first Lockdown in 2020, offering creative yoga flow type classes. She is such a thoughtful and kind soul - each practice is so carefully considered for her participants and she will guide you through practice no matter your abilities. Laura even curates her own playlists for her practices so you can flow along to something lovely for your ears. Laura is based in Aberdeen, and offers classes via Zoom, as well as live classes once studios reopen.

@_jessyoga - I've followed Jess on Instagram for a while now. Jess mainly practices vinyasa yoga and moves so awesomely, showcasing so many beautiful poses .. also ideal for intermediate and advanced yogis. She is a Sweaty Betty ambassador too! Jess is based in Edinburgh, with online classes via Zoom and YouTube.

If you'd like to chat more about yoga - find me on Instagram!

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