What’s cool is that Kathryn was one of the first yoga teachers I ever “connected” with in real life. Many years ago before I had any yoga presence online, I only taught live classes and I practiced with every teacher I could, just for the variety. I saw a lot of different people, but usually felt completely alone in my style of teaching which was quirky and fun and often times (accidentally) very, very awkward. On impulse, I signed up for a workshop in Tampa with Kathryn a few years ago and am ashamed to admit that I totally expected a standard, stuffy yoga-lebrity who’d float into the room on an untouchable ethereal cloud of fairy dust. I was wrong. Instead, she came in and talked about pasta. She helped me do a scorpion. People danced. She fell out of a handstand and laughed about it. It was like coming home to a fellow goofball sibling… literally, is there ANY higher compliment you can give?!
When we decided to do an interview series here with Bad Yogi, I knew I had to talk to her. So here we are! Now, if you don’t know her, allow me the honor… Kathryn Budig is a world renowned yoga teacher, philanthropist, Under Armour Athlete, serial author, part-time martial artist, speaker, writer, and body-positive powerhouse. Somewhere between her near constant travel and getting ready to launch her new book, Aim True (it’s half yoga, half cookbook, you guys… and like, a real food cookbook, not a “here’s half a grape, hope you’re full” kind of cookbook), she found time to sit down with us and chat a little.
1. Describe who you are and “what you do” in 3 sentences or less.
I’m an eternal optimist rooted in storytelling, belief, and a deep passion to help people come alive. I teach yoga, share recipes, write books, offer articles, love dogs and do what I can to help them.
2. What’s the best and worst thing about your work?
The best part is seeing the light turn on in people’s eyes. It is absolute magic to see my students in that transformative moment realizing that they are made of pure potential and ability.
The worst part (and often best, actually) is the amount of travel. I’m so blessed to see the world, but my schedule can be quite grueling and I absolutely love my home time. It’s all about perspective at the end of the day.
3. It’s almost impossible to completely eliminate social media from our lives nowadays, especially if you have a loyal following. How do you embrace social media without being totally sucked in?
It’s a dangerous world. I’m grateful for it’s ability to connect and inspire. It’s unreal to have such a strong platform that lives beyond the press of a fingertip. I hold onto that power, but also realize that it isn’t real. As much as people try to keep it real on social, it’s always going to be a slightly altered and filtered version of reality. That can be a slippery slope, especially when addressing people who are already struggling.
My point is, I try to use it to inspire and for my own personal inspiration, but realize at the end of the day that actual human interaction and relationships is the only real thing that I want to base my choices and reality on.
4. On that note, do you ever have moments where you feel like you should “fake it” or keep up appearances for your community?
I catch flack on a daily basis. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that people will judge you for any and everything, so you might as well say and do what YOU want to. I know I serve as a role model to those who follow my work, and I don’t take that role lightly. In that sense, I’m very conscious of my posts and words, but not in the sense of “faking it” or editing—it’s about be thoughtful and understanding the power my words can wield. I never want to take that for granted or abuse it.
5. Are you ever insecure?
Do you mean, am I human? YES! I don’t find insecurity to necessarily be a bad thing—it’s a reminder to step up, keep working hard, keep learning and to keep challenging myself. I was also reminded once that it’s a sign that you’re maintaining your humility. I’d never want to reach a point where I have absolutely no doubts. They keep me honest and present.
6. How do you snap yourself out of it? Do you have a ritual that brings you back to the reality of your badassery? 😉
Such a good word! My dog, Ashi, is the key to bringing me back to reality. She has this uncanny ability to sense my stress levels (even if I don’t utter a single word or expletive.) She beelines to me, tries to climb me with her round head, eyes wide, tail wiggling as if to say, “MAMA! The stress is not worth it! Let it go, let it go, let it goooooo.” And you know what? It works! She’s my beautiful little stress-reliever ball.
7. What’s your personal measure of success?
My personal measure of success is knowing I’m staying honest to what I’m passionate about, and if I lose my passion, I change it up. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself, and I want to experience everything life has to offer. That’s a successful life.
8. In your career and life, what’s been your greatest asset? And, if you care to share, your greatest hindrance? How did you overcome it?
My greatest asset is my greatest hindrance. I’m an eternal optimist and I see the best in people. I love seeing and helping good people succeed. I’m a huge believer in tribe and connection. That being said, it has come back to bite me in the arse many times. I focus on the good in people often get taken advantage of. Not the best feeling in the world, so I’m trying to open my eyes to the reality of the situation without losing my sense of positivity.
9. Which is true about you: usually you follow your heart, or usually you follow your logic?
10. If there was absolutely NO way for you to make any living doing what you do now, what else would you do?
I would go to culinary school asap! I’ve already incorporated cooking and recipes into my career for several years now (my new book is half cookbook), but I would go after a food career with much gusto! I’ve always wanted to be the slightly healthier female version of Anthony Bourdain.
11. You’ve been really open about your occasional struggle with body image and the trolls that have tried to tear you down. What’s the biggest lesson you learned about how to manage those people and situations?
I’ve learned the only way you lose power is by giving it away. Trolls will always exist and offer up poisonous words aimed at your heart. The key is to deflect and immediately move on. I care about genuine comments from my close friends and family—not vile comments flippantly posted by someone who is so deeply unhappy that they feel the need to tear apart a complete stranger.
12. Alright, just for fun: All food is “health food” and there’s no such thing as allergies and intolerances. What do you eat every day of your life?
PASTA FOR THE WIN!
13. Any final words?!
Please check out my new book, Aim True! It releases March 29th, but is available for pre-order now!
Over to you! Any takeaways? My biggest takeaway here is that we all need a puggle. Kidding, of course 😉 But only sort of! Really though, I’m 1,000% on board with keeping social media at a distance and real life in close proximity to your soul. True, it’s not always easy, but well worth the little reminder that, hey, this is a snapshot, not the whole story.
BONUS! KB is giving away TWO copies of her new book to a couple lucky people. Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win! We’ll pick 2 winners at random within 72 hours of this post and they’ll be notified of when it’ll ship 🙂