Yogi, Kathryn Budig's name is synonymous with handstands -- lots of them. While pursuing a BA in English and drama at the University of Virginia, she accidentally discovered a new passion: yoga. Budig's acting and new-found love of yoga led her to Los Angeles, where as a yogi she gradually evolved into teaching creative sequences that make arm balances and inversions accessible to everyone in the room. (Doesn't she make it look easy?)
Budig teaches vinyasa flow yoga at Yogaworks Santa Monica, as well as to a vast pool of private clientele. She has been featured in Yoga Journal and Yogi Times, on E!, and in a documentary called Y Yoga. She is also a Southern California ambassador for Nike's 2008-09 yoga line. In addition, Budig is a co-founder of Poses for Paws, an organization dedicated to raising money for animal shelters through yoga.
We talk to Kathryn about everything from her favorite books to her favorite yoga poses.
MindBodyGreen: You fell in love with yoga at UVA -- can you explain how it happened? Was it a slow process, or did you have an "A-ha!" moment? What drew you to yoga?
Kathryn Budig: I actually had an "ick" moment and a persistent best friend. A fellow musical-theater friend had fallen in love with yoga and sought out the local ashtanga studio downtown in Charlottesville, where I went to college. I did not connect to the teacher at all and had no idea about physical adjustments in a yoga class, so I was convinced he was trying to get fresh with me. My friend persuaded me to try another teacher, and I immediately fell in love with her grace, beauty, and strength. It was ashtanga yoga, too (though I had no idea at the time), and I was hooked.
MBG: What do you recommend to someone who wants to get started with yoga?
KB: Regardless of how strong or athletic you are, always start in a beginner class. It isn't about lacking the ability -- it's like going to a foreign country and not knowing how to speak the language. Try as many styles of yoga and teachers as you can, and stick with the one that makes you smile, laugh, and want to get back on the mat.
MBG: What do you love about yoga?
KB: I love the trans-formative power of yoga. It is the most amazing tool to get us back in line with who we are and who we want to be. Poses that initially seem exciting for physical reasons end up teaching us so much about how we treat ourselves and others, and about what kind of decisions we make. It is incredibly humbling and simultaneously thrilling and motivating. It shows us that our possibilities are limitless if we are open to tapping into our potential and shedding anything that has been holding us back. Plus, it's super-fun.