Jonathan: Hey everyone, Jonathan Bailor back. Today’s show is certainly going to be a fun joyous one because we have joining us today a wonderful yoga instructor who has a wonderful zest for life. A contributor to Woman’s Health magazine, a contributor to Gaiam Yoga journal, The Huffington Post. In fact even the co-founder for Poses for Paws which is an organization to raising money for animal shelters through yoga. Who would have thought?
Ladies and gentlemen we have an innovator, we have a yoga instructor, we have a health enthusiast, we have Kathryn Budig with us. Kathryn, welcome to the show.
Kathryn: Hello Jonathan.
Jonathan: How are you doing today?
Kathryn: I’m awesome, thank you so much. Thanks for having me on.
Jonathan: It’s my pleasure, it’s my pleasure. Kathryn let’s just cut to the chase here, I want to know how you went from little Kathryn, which actually folks if you want to see little Kathryn you can see her. She’s at kathryn b-u-d-i-g.com, on the Me page I see little Kathryn and then I see adult Kathryn. Tell me about the journey and how you got to where you are today?
Kathryn: Well I am still pretty little I am only 5’2” and I made it very far. It was a really interesting adventure that was unplanned. I grew up being a tom boy who wanted to be about 30 different things, ended up falling into theater and really loving it. I stuck with acting all the way through my collegiate career and I found yoga when I was in college and really loved it. So I decided I would move to Los Angeles where I could peruse my acting career but also train how to become a yoga teacher, it’s something that will take care of me in between auditions.
Quickly got to Hollywood and recognized that wasn’t the kind of community I wanted to be in but really loved the yoga community and the health world. It was a very accidental career falling into my yoga path that I am grateful for every single day.
Jonathan: One of the things I love about your story Kathryn is that you just describe here that the yoga path and the yoga lifestyle and one of the things I myself had practiced yoga very informally. Not nearly to the – I cannot do the amazing things you demonstrate on your website, acrobatic feats but simply more as simply a way to – so often exercise is portrayed especially on infomercials as this chainsaw.
Like it’s like a jackhammer, – if you were to describe modern culture it seems very chainsaw and jackhammer like. If you look at when humans thrive, it’s not chainsaw and jackhammer like. Yoga seems to be a way to heal the body and help center the mind onto that less chainsaw/sledgehammer approach to life in general. What do you think?
Kathryn: Without a doubt and even though the comment about kind of the acrobatic feats – there’s so many different styles of yoga. If you were someone who’s really athletic, and driven, and type A and those are the type of poses you want to do that’s definitely there for you. You know if you have that kind of monkey mind that’s always going and the jackhammer as you like to put it, there’s also a style of yoga where you can go and really get out of that craziness and back into a place where you feel like yourself and you feel centered.
I think that’s why yoga has survived for so long in that it’s so broadly accessible to people is that there is a type and style for everyone. Having that style for everybody and you can get the workout you want, you can sweat, you can get stronger, you can lose weight, whatever it is that you are after. Also mentally have what it takes to stick with it, it really starts to sculpt your mind and calm you down.
Jonathan: That sculpting the mind for me is such a critical component because it seems with yoga, at least in my experience, but curious to see what you think, with other exercises, you see this all the time you see this individual on the treadmill and they are not there. They are watching a movie, they’re doing, they are somewhere else, and they are not engaged in what they are doing, or they got their twelve pound dumbbells and they are doing curls while they talk to their friend and have one eye on the television.
If you try to do that while you’re doing yoga it isn’t going to end well. Yoga focuses you to be there and focus on what you’re doing and that’s pretty important in life in general I would say.
Kathryn: Without a doubt. I mean obviously yoga is my main source of everything. I was going to say workout but it goes so far beyond that. I also do pilates, I like the bar method, but the thing that I notice whenever I am doing anything else for a workout purpose is all be doing it and my driving force is like ‘wow, my ass is going to look so good from doing this.’ That’s what keeps me doing it and that’s about it.
That’s not enough for me you know. The beauty of yoga is my body is going to feel really good but it’s everything is going to feel better mentally and I am challenged by the practice and I like where it brings me. It brings me into some frustrating places, it brings me into relaxing places, it really become a lifestyle. I feel like that’s what’s so accessible at yoga versus I am going to do 20 reps of this and like you said zone out. That doesn’t call my name, it doesn’t keep me wanting to come back. Yoga is something that I can do every day because of the accessibility of it.
Jonathan: What I feel like in some ways it’s also, building off of that, it’s a celebration of the body. Everything we are saying here – yoga is not easy. Like anyone who would say “Yoga? That’s not a workout.” Has never actually done yoga, right? It absolutely will kick your butt if you do it correctly. The point is there is many ways to kick your butt and there is many ways to get sore. People often tell me they are doing this crazy jackhammer approach to exercise and it must be working because it makes me sore.
I am like if you can take a baseball bat and you smack your leg with it you will be sore that doesn’t mean it’s actually helping you. I think that there’s sometime a ratio with exercise of like potential for harm and potential for healing. With yoga it seems like – of course there is risks associated with anything, but yoga is focused on a control and focus method that a lot of forms of exercise, it’s almost characterized as being out of control. What do you think?
Kathryn: Well you know yoga is way more of a slow twitch exercise in general so you’re not going to get into the faster, jumping around, kicking dynamic fast twitch workout. Which if you are proper alignment is obviously going to lead towards injury quickly. The beauty about the yoga practice assuming you have a good instructor and someone to take care of you is that you are going to move thoughtfully through the postures.
Everything is also connected to your breath. You are hyper aware of what state you are in, your breathing, what your body is like and that makes a really big difference as well. Instead of that I’ve got my earphones in, I’m not really listening, I am just moving, I’m not paying attention to my body. I mean that applies to no matter what workout you are doing. Take the time to stop and acknowledge instead of zoning out because lots of people are getting hurt. They are going to get hurt in yoga too but they are normally the people who are zoning out and not really paying attention to their breath anymore.
Jonathan: Absolutely. It seems like yoga as a macro exercise or just a lifestyle methodology is one that is sustainable. One of the things I look back in my life and I was really in to football, I loved football. I was good at football. I was going to play college football then I got seriously injured. It breaks my heart because also, forget about the fact that I got injured, I loved football and I put in a lot of time to get good at football. You can’t just go outside and play football. I mean you can throw a football, you can play flag football but anyone who has actually played football with pads, that is a different sport than just throwing a football around.
I am envious of people, for example, like basketball or like yoga, it’s something, it’s a hobby, it’s an outlet you can do forever. I think that’s – if you’re going to spend your time doing something spend your time doing something that if you become an expert at it you can keep doing. What do you think?
Kathryn: It’s an investment for the rest of your life without a doubt. I feel the same way, I get jealous of runners where all they need is a pair of shoes and a door that opens. That’s so cool and I tried to get into it but I always struggle with it. With yoga technically you don’t even really need a yoga mat to be able to do yoga. You see prenatal mommies doing yoga and then you see people in their 90’s, in their 100’s doing chair yoga. It really is an investment in your future, an investment in your present and an investment – those to come to inspire the people before you as well.
It’s just amazing and I tell my students that all the time because I will definitely get a lot of the type A people who want to do the fancy stuff and they want to do it now. You have the rest of your life to practice yoga and the rest of your life to do these poses and assuming you’re not going to blow your knee out doing something you’re not ready for then maybe you will get it sooner.
It’s also this beautiful lesson in patience which I think all of us could use a pretty hefty serving of in our lives. Can you be patient with your practice, can you be patient with your body and recognize that you do indeed have the rest of your life to do this.
Jonathan: That focus on patience and focus on the long term I really think could be the single most, the thing I like most about yoga because if you look at the devolution of the pursuit of health in our culture, like we have tried harder and harder over the past forty years to become healthy. It seems the harder we try the less healthy we’ve gotten and it seems it’s because we have this focus on the short term.
What can we do to become healthy right now? Anything that says do this right now and you will be healthy tomorrow is a bit like saying plant this seed in the ground right now and the fully grown plant will be grown tomorrow. That is not how living organisms work, they don’t change on a dime like that. Yoga embraces that I have never seen the quick fix yoga program ever. Is there one that tries to claim that? I don’t know.
Kathryn: I mean I am sure it’s out there. There’s lose five pounds in five days and blah, blah, blah. Our society is looking for quick fixes in general and it’s almost like a panic. ‘Oh crap I was out all weekend and I drank a ton of alcohol and I ate really rich food so I am going to juice cleanse all week long so I can get back to where I was.’ Meanwhile you’re totally shocking your body by doing all these really dramatic things to it.
I think we are also a society where we feel like we need to work out for at least an hour and we need to burn this amount of calories and we need to sweat this much to make it count, to make it feel like we did something that we are not going to feel guilty anymore. I think a lot of the choices we make are surrounded by guilt. If you can recognize that even if you can take 20 minutes out of your day and breathe and move or do your workout or whatever it is, that is going to serve your body and you are going to get so much further with where you want to be if you can move into it slowly and thoughtfully and consistently. Instead of these crash diets and these get this now and – I think it creates stress and then your cortisol levels go up and guess what you get fat.
Jonathan: Kathryn, that is exactly it there are these “health pursuits” which are so amazingly stressful that they are going to – the conical example I give is you take a busy working mother whose already stressed out and sleep deprived and she’s like I am going to get healthy. She looks in the mainstream media and what she concludes is, because this is what she’s told, is that she should wake up at 4 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. and she should go run on pavement.
She’s 50 pounds overweight so forget about whether or not running or not is good for you at the first place. Banging against the pavement when you’re already 50 pounds overweight is probably really not a good idea, especially if you don’t know how to run. Then you try to go do it for an hour then you come home and your craving all kinds of sugars and sweets because aerobic exercise tends to cause those cravings in a lot of people. She’s getting two hours less of sleep, she’s hungry as hell, she’s more prone to binging and it’s all in the pursuit of health. Wait what?
Kathryn: I know. It’s so screwed up, it’s so screwed up. I think that people forget – like think about what health means, health is goodness, its wellness and that assumes that you feel good when you’re doing it. For some reason we have it in our head that we have to work ourselves so hard that we feel bad in order to feel healthy. Which is just comical you know. We do the yoga practice because it makes us feel better. Chose to do physical outlets and put food into your body that make you feel better not like you’re making a sacrifice.
Jonathan: You don’t want to have this adversarial – absolutely it’s not about an adversarial relationship with your body, it’s not about punishing your body, it’s about healing and the empowering of the body, correct?
Kathryn: Totally 100 percent but we are gluttons for punishment you know. I wish more people could wrap their brain around that working out and what you eat, it should taste good, it should feel good, it’s not a punishment. It’s not a quick fix and it’s called patience. Just be good to yourself, be patient and you will get results. Just don’t mark your calendar.
Jonathan: Don’t mark your calendar. Maybe don’t even look on it – like this where am I today versus yesterday versus tomorrow. Think about it in terms of if I keep this up, where will I be a year from now? Where will I be two years from now? That is such a more realistic and just even if we just on a general scale we try to do these things in life even professionally I think we tend to overestimate what we could do in a day or in a week. We tend to underestimate what we can accomplish in a year if we can be consistent.
Kathryn: Yes. Even if its four days a week, three days a week, just some kind of consistency and not beating yourself up. Especially like the mother, that’s the prime example. Someone who’s got little kids at home, or full grown kids, that’s a full time job just taking care of your family. Then we’re telling them go out and hit the pavement, it’s like can you get 20 minutes in when your kid is in the room with you doing something, just something.
That’s hopefully going to give them some piece of mind because we need to get the stress down to really get into shape. If the stress doesn’t go away the health is still going to be far, far away.
Jonathan: Absolutely Kathryn. What are some tips? Let’s say, certainly there is the ‘I’m going to find a yoga instructor and I am going to go do yoga and I am going to get my mat and I am going to get my awesome yoga pants and I am going to be a yogy.’ If I am not quite there yet what are some steps I can take to maybe dapple in some benefits yoga can give me without becoming a full on yogy?
Kathryn: Sure. Obviously I am proponent of getting into a studio when you can actually have a teachers eyes on you just so that you make sure your form is correct that way there is no room for injury when you are doing your postures. I know that’s not available to everyone so if you don’t have the blessing of being close to a good studio there are a lot of really cool online options. Or if you are embarrassed a lot of people will tell me I don’t want to go to yoga because I don’t know how to do it and I don’t want to be the person in the classroom who is a train wreck and everyone’s looking at me.
There are a lot of great DVDs out there. I have a DVD that’s geared towards a beginners section and a more intermediate so you can get stronger at home working just with that DVD. There’s also a really great website called yogaglo.com and they have tons of classes. There’s five minute classes, 20 minute classes, 60, 90 minute classes so it can fit into your schedule and that way there’s no pressure to ‘Oh I am not going to make it to the class on time and I don’t have 90 minutes in my day today so I guess I am not going to do yoga.’
Then you can put on your little ten minute class and still ‘okay I did some yoga today, I am getting closer to understanding it and maybe tomorrow if I have time I will do 20, and the day after that I will do 30.’ Then you can build up that way without that – I mean it’s so easy to not go to yoga or not workout. All we need is that one little excuse and ‘oh I guess I am not able to do it today, oh well.’
The more things that we can do to go wow you know I guess I really do have ten minutes to do something and it’s on my computer which most of us are already sitting in front of anyway. Can you set it down, put on something that you can move in, it doesn’t have to be yoga clothing just something that allows you to move and go for it. Just make a commitment everyday something, just something. Don’t tell yourself how much or where, just something.
Jonathan: I love it. Kathryn what are your thoughts on, I think there are so many let’s call it discrete elements of yoga. There’s becoming focused with your breath, there’s enhancing balance, there’s strengthening your muscles, there’s just calming your mind, and there’s even increased flexibility. What do you think about for an individual, let’s say his name is J. Bailor, wait that’s too obvious. Let’s say Jonathan B. and let’s say he did more traditional yoga for a while, liked it but really found that it was the flexibility aspects that for example completely eliminated all lower back pain that he had for years.
Now this fictional character just on his own really focuses on maintaining flexibility but also really enjoys strength training and finds it to be a coy ying and yang relationship where he can deadlift 400 pounds but also from a cold, without being warmed up bend over at the waist bend over and touch his palms to the ground without bending his knees. What do you think about an approach like that? Just hypothetically.
Kathryn: I think it’s fantastic. I mean who is this man? Who is this mystery man? That case, that mystery mans case is really common. Especially for people who come from athletic background, they love yoga because you spent your life strengthening and contracting then you finally get to go in the opposite direction. You put up the ying and yang and getting both sides of the coin because the key to being truly healthy is finding that balance between flexibility and strength.
We don’t just want to be flexible, we don’t just want to be strong, we want to find the happy medium. Some people may go to yoga who are little wet spaghetti noodles and they are really flexible and they have no muscle strength so they’re going to get more out of the strength part of the practice. Vice versa you’ll get someone who’s been an athlete their entire life who goes in and can’t get past their knee caps when they start to lean forward.
You know you can alter the practice to fit you like a lovely piece of couture, so it is exactly how you want it to fit your body. You just find the perfect class and teacher who can help guide you in that direction.
Jonathan: I love that analogy Kathryn. The perfect piece of couture, that’s pretty cute. It also reminds me of one of the other benefits that really help me to stick with flexibility because at the surface, especially for guys, being flexible, not in terms of your personality but in terms of your physicality doesn’t necessarily seem like sexy. Like because I am more flexible I am going to be more attractive which is a motivator for many of us and even though we don’t want to admit it.
If you actually look at the, I am going to geek out here for a second, the science of attraction. For example how fluid a person moves, if you look at a very old person, hundred year old person, when they walk they are very stiff and it’s a very belabored movement. If you look at a child, in some ways they are characterized by a fluid movement. What these researchers have seen through various clinical/psychological experiments is actually the style of with which we move and the fluidity and if we were to drop something the alacrity we have at picking it up and popping back up, that gives a perception of vitality and youth that on a subconscious level drives attraction quite compellingly.
Just because you’re not necessarily shedding pounds, which again that’s its own whatever let’s talk about that later, there are other not obvious benefits which I can tell you, you can really transform not only your mind but also your body and also how you are perceived by increasing flexibility and strength. What do you think?
Kathryn: I also think like you also pointed out that it’s not as sexy for men to garner flexibility but the imagery that came up in my head when you were talking about that is like a panther or a cat and how strong they are. You would not want to screw with a panther. Think about the prowess and the flexibility and the agility they have and cats are always associated with sexiness. Think of cat woman for example, just that they have the strength and flexibility. I do think that is an incredibly alluring thing for everyone.
Even if someone is really strong, man or woman, it’s not sexy if you are so strong and so bulky that you kind of half to walk like a robot because you are so built up. I see that happen to people all the time and I mean I am just going to go there for a second to like in the bedroom it is definitely going to pay off for a woman and men to have more flexibility in their bodies just for romantic relationships and allowing you to have more fluidity in that part of your life.
The strength that you get is really not going to benefit you if you drop something and you can’t lean over and pick it up. If your bicep is going to get in the way of your knee cap on the way down. The word in yoga is called sama, and it’s a Sanskrit word for balance. That’s truly the goal of yoga is to create balance in our lives, in our body, and our minds, and to be able to see both sides of the coin. I hope that for men and for women and I know that in this day and age it’s still definitely a female predominant activity.
More and more men are coming into it. I have a lot of male students but I hope men also realize that ladies really like to go to yoga with their boyfriends… a lot. If you don’t have a girlfriend there’s a lot of pretty girls in spandex in those rooms. I really encourage any men who are listening to this to get into the practice. You are not going to be considered a pansy because you are doing yoga. It’s really truly impressive and it’s going to make you feel really good and it’s going to appeal to the feminine side. The ladies are going to like to see that in a guy as well, a good balance.
Jonathan: Kathryn, the irony is that really the consistent trend we have seen over the past 20 years in the research of exercise physiology is that the stereotypically female dominated forms of exercise let’s say like a yoga and a pilates and the stereotypical male dominated forms of exercise; strength training. The single best thing men who strength train could do is start doing some of the female stuff and that females need come over and do some strength training.
Again let’s not do middle school dance approach where the girls are over here and the guys are over here. Let’s come together, let’s dance.
Kathryn: Totally though, so true. Maybe we can help each other do a little cross fit with yoga involved.
Jonathan: I love it Kathryn. Well what’s next for you? What’s next on the horizon?
Kathryn: I just had a book that came out in October, it’s called the Woman’s Health Big Book of Yoga and I am looking to write a follow up book on that. That’s kind of in the works as we speak. I will probably be filming a few more DVDs this summer too, so hopefully there will be some more DVDs available, probably next year is when they will come out. Aside from that I travel, I have a huge travel schedule all around the world teaching workshops and conferences.
You can check out my website to see if I will be in your neck of the woods. Am I missing anything? I am getting married next year, that’s kind of exciting.
Jonathan: Congratulations, very certainly very exciting.
Kathryn: Yes, that’s what’s going on for now.
Jonathan: Well folks if you want to learn more about Kathryn, her website is kathrynbudig.com. That’s K-a-t-h-r-y-n-B-u-d-i-g.com. You can also find her all over social media and Kathryn it’s been an absolute pleasure so thank you for sharing your time and insight with us today.
Kathryn: Thank you so much Jonathan.
Jonathan: Well thanks again and listeners thank you for joining us and I hope you enjoyed today’s show as much as I did. Remember this week and every week after, exercise smarter and live better. Talk with you soon.