Do you ever feel like a hamster in a wheel? Constantly rushing, super busy, frustrated that you’re not getting anywhere despite your persistence? Unsure how to navigate your way out of these habits? Talking to Kat and hearing about her yoga story made me realise how so many of us were leading our lives before this pandemic. Like little hamsters stuck on a wheel. What a huge difference there is between busy-ness and productivity.
‘I’m one of those people who packs their schedules, runs from one thing to another, and always loses their keys. When I was consulting, it exacerbated that ‘busy-ness in me. It was then that my body gave me some pretty strong physiological signs; relentless tummy issues. The diagnosis – stress. This journey brought me to yoga.’ It is crazy that it can take illness to prompt us to reevaluate how we spend our time, yet for so many it takes something that forces us to stop that prompts us to adapt.
Kat still works hard but she has learnt how to spot the signs of exhaustion before her body forces her to. She balances productivity, with the long term in mind, and with the help of some intelligent tools to build awareness of what she needs to feel her best. I met Kat when she was setting up her own business, Tula. Their focus is wellbeing in the workplace, given Kat’s former life in the world of HR. Knowing that building awareness is within an act of self-service, they support both employers and individuals to take a shared responsibility to be more considered in their approach to wellbeing.
‘I launched Tula in 2018. Recognising that there isn’t a single approach to wellbeing for all, we created tools to support across a range of disciplines.’ Tula tools are co-created with specialists within our Collective; psychiatrists, nutritional therapists, athletes, movement experts, yoga teachers, breathwork specialists, coaches, artists and more.
‘Tula was born from a recognition that our approach to stress in the West is often reactive, and symptomatic, rather than proactive and holistic. I spent a decade of my career working with people to motivate them, and in that time I came across people who were pushing themselves relentlessly, or being pushed, without consideration for their wellbeing – bad for business and humanity. Interestingly, the current pandemic is showing us some pretty stark parallels on a collective level, with this forced time to reset.’
I was so inspired by Kat’s drive and courage to start a business that aims to support everyone involved and not just the ‘consumer’. Kat being a yoga teacher herself is what I believe to be Tula’s magic ingredient, as very often it’s the practitioners who suffer in the long run. From poor pay to often no contractual security leaving many workers exploited if not paid on time or cancelled upon with no notice. The business is considerate from end to end and this deserves recognition.
Kat’s journey into yoga wasn’t prompted because she hated her job and wanted a new one. Yoga simply fed her curiosity to know more about herself. Although she found it initially to help with stress, it was never used as a means to escape. As she delved deeper into yoga, the role as teacher emerged. ‘I loved the layers of it; the process of design; the consideration of how to prepare the body anatomically and emotionally for a sequence and build up energy to a peak, weaving philosophy into theming, and then having a wiggle to see how it translates in your own body.’ Kat’s earnestness shines bright here. How she shares her passion with her students and listens to those around her which I believe to be a skill acquired from her training in coaching. She holds a space with no pretence. No hierarchy or emphasis to ‘improve’ or ‘fix’ anything. Just listen and explore. Ultimately when we’re stressed, we’re fighting something. Physically, mentally or emotionally. Eventually that fight has to end, either by defeat or we yield.
It feels as though Yoga found Kat to spread its magic to students or distant employees through her company Tula. To spread the message that time must not be wasted by filling it up with distraction, pressure or busy-ness. ‘My yoga practise today looks like daily meditation and breathwork, coupled with regular wiggles on the mat or outside on the grass, which are more reminiscent of interpretive dance. – I still can’t do a handstand, but can really trust the signals my body gives me, and have yoga to thank for that.’
Whatever it is that makes you ‘tick’ as Kat would put it, is worthy. Invest your energy and time in that. Get curious, find the tools that resonate with you, and watch the magic unfold.
Here’s her virtual teaching schedule, if you’d like to practise with Kat:
- Monday mornings 8.30 – 9am – Instagram Live – Morning Meds
- Thursday eve 5.30 – 6.30pm – Zoom – Slow Fire Flow
- Saturday mornings 9 – 10am – Zoom – Wake Up Flow