Katie Fitzgerald

200 RYT Yoga Instructor

Bio: My yoga journey began with a migraine that would keep me from my planned Friday afternoon run. I remember the hum from the blinding light above my desk only exasperated the intensity of the pounding in my head until finally it was time for the gyms Friday yoga class. On a more typical Friday, I would pass the yoga class quietly on my way back to the locker room thinking, ‘how strange... why don’t they call this class nap time instead of yoga?’ I found a dark corner in the back row, rolled out my mat and sat quietly. My instructor that day, Kate, started class with traditional centering and grounding breath work. My inner voice chimed in again, ‘we’ve been breathing arguably well for 29 years... no?  Did she just tell you to shut me, you’re inner voice off? That’s creepy... how did she hear me? ‘HEY KATE, IS IT NAP TIME YET?’ Turning off my inner voice and tuning into my breath was a tool I’ve been told we all have... I just needed to figure out how to use it.  I needed practice. Kate began to guide me into positions using muscles I’m not sure I’d ever used or knew I had while sharing many of yoga benefits when my inner voice interrupted again... and again... and again... ‘What did she say? What language is she speaking?  She’s breathing so slow… Kate?!?!!! Did she fall asleep? It’s 4! 4 comes after 3... 1, 2, 3, 4.’ I thought she said we’d be here for 3 more breaths I think I’ve breathed in and out 8 times and she still hasn’t stopped exhaling her first inhale... is she ok? I though I was in better shape... wait what did she say? ...Pyramid stimulates the thyroid thus boosting the metabolism? ...Inversions aid the lymphatic system? ...I’ll improve my digestion by twisting? Really?!?!!  Ok let me see if I can twist a little deeper and press pause or stay and practice being in an uncomfortable position rather than taking flight. ...Did she just say yoga can help to relieve headaches and the stress that can cause one?!!!’. And there it was. My why. There was great physical and mental benefit promised in her teaching that ignited a desire to come back to learn more about the body and to practice staying and working through the places where I’m stuck on and off the mat. It’s always been easier to run... I started to do it at a young age when things got uncomfortable I’d go for a run usually choosing flight rather than fight. Soon after I found yoga I started to feel my flight response temper on and off the mat... I could mentally press pause if only between an inhale and exhale. Instead of running I would catch a piece of peace and get to and through the next step finding another piece there to get me to the next step... one breath at a time.

Fast forward through several clumsy years of practice and a humbling yet empowering, and intense yet inspiring 200 hour teacher training completed in April of 2011, and you’ll find me most mornings teaching before the sun comes up, most afternoons chasing my two little ones or studying all aspects and disciplines of health and wellness, and then finally most evenings back in a classroom or home with my family thanking God for this journey and the strength, the people and the peace I’ve found along the way.

Motto: Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. -B.K.S. Iyengar

Why I love teaching yoga: My father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016. His diagnosis brought upon a feeling of helplessness and a greater anxiety and fear than I’d ever known. I couldn’t run from it, not even if I’d tried. In teaching through this storm I found refuge, hope and peace to cure the fear and anxiety that ‘need not be endured’. As a teacher I’m compelled to teach a challenging, physical practice that dissolves anxious thought, care and worry while developing a strength and peace of mind that students carry with them and share with those they find in need. Just before my father passed, he told me I needed to accept this... I had to ‘endure what could not be cured’. I had to let go. I had to let God in that surrender, and at the edge of hope my students and fellow teachers met me to remind me of the strength in my weakness and helped me to piece back together a peace that truly surpasses all understanding.

Fun Fact: I challenged myself to conquer my fear of public speaking when I enrolled in teacher training. I’m not sure I’m cured or ever will be but I’ve learned I can let my fear control my response, or I can let my response control my fear. I choose... one breath at a time.