Kathryn McCann – “I still struggle with the pressure to be super thin and perfect.”
The very first time I ever practiced yoga was when I was living in Hawaii on the island of Oahu.
That would’ve been, oh gosh, now I’m dating myself, but about 10 years ago now, so back in 2005. It was actually a Bikram class and I did not have a pleasant experience with it.
The heat was extreme and the room was filled with ego, which is the exact opposite of what yoga teaches. I felt as though it was very competitive and I didn’t like the set sequence and the 26 postures. It became very monotonous and redundant.I was really turned off by the whole experience. It’s so ironic that I now teach yoga full-time for a living.
I quickly turned to other forms of hatha and yin yoga and restorative.
Eventually I tried vinyasa yoga and that was a really enlightening experience. That’s when I more or less fell in love with it.
My background is in ballet. I studied classical ballet pretty much my entire life, from age six, and retired at age 30. I found a connection to not only the movement, but the breath and the artistry behind it.
I would say that my yoga practice has significantly evolved, because I really dove into vinyasa and the power behind that, and now my yoga practice could literally mean just meditating for a half hour to an hour in complete stillness.
I find more satisfaction doing that than what my initial exposure was to it. I do yoga now to find peace of mind, to connect to a higher power, and to explore the unknown.
It’s such a transformation that occurs, not only with mind, but also physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s just something that really grounds me and brings me back to who I am and helps me also to reflect and
I was exposed to ballet at a really young age and studied and performed for most of my life.
At six, you’re still such a child. To be immersed in this culture where it revolved around perfection and femininity and grace and extreme effort, was very intense at that age. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a good thing or not.
In a lot of ways, it was a really good thing, because my work ethic developed and I became very disciplined. I have to admit, it probably warped my perception of the female body and what it was supposed to look like, still to this day.
Now that I’m an adult, I still struggle with the pressure to be super thin and “perfect,” while knowing nothing’s perfect in this lifetime.
I also taught ballet for a really long time and I took a lot away from it. I retired from teaching ballet three years ago.
I’m not in that culture at all anymore, but I look back at it as something that was so precious and so beautiful in my life.
I’m glad that those are my roots. However, I’m also glad that that portion of my life is over, and I’ve become a lot more accepting of who I am and my body and what I have to offer this world.
I find that I don’t put as much pressure on myself and just accept myself as I am, which is really where the yoga comes into play.
You become happier with who you are, where you are, and why you are.
To be continued…
1st of the interview series with Kathryn McCann