Location Location Location: Cornwall
My first weekend of teacher training with Bridget Woods Kramer in 2016 was relentless. I could barely get into a mild backbend of a cobra, so how did I think I could be this yoga teacher that I was dreaming about. How could my body and mind cope with this intensity of practice? But I was soon to find out that it’s all part of the yoga journey. How can you cope under pressure? How will you react? What’s going to be show up when you’re the most tired, the most raw? And what happens when you’re pushed physically and mentally to the limit?
For me, it was the realisation that I did want to teach yoga and I wanted to start a small yoga studio in my home. Maybe the idea was ambitious but it felt right. It was almost an instant love of teaching yoga, and you may think it’s a strange thing to say as I was doing my yoga teacher training, but not all students go on to teach. For some it’s about cultivating their own yoga practice, but for others, it’s their dharma, their purpose is to teach.
So Katie Bray Yoga started. I softly converted the smaller part of the lounge into a small space to teach yoga, teaching 3 students once a week, then teaching a couple of classes a week. Students kept coming back and the feedback was always so positive. So then I took a further leap, and converted the entire lounge, replaced the carpet with wood flooring and set up a fully equipped yoga studio for 10 students. So with the yoga studio set up, the rest of Katie Bray Yoga started to evolve and grow.
Over the past year it has been a natural progression to open up the entire house and start to hold yoga retreats, allowing students to transform through yoga. But the second transformation comes from the location. Cornwall is unique. There is something so special in Cornwall that it takes your breath away, and as soon as you arrive in Cornwall something happens to the nervous system, it seems to automatically slow down. Past retreat guests have been surprised by tranquility and beauty of Lelant in Cornwall, of the natural pace of life and there seems to be a contentment that they find within Cornwall and themselves.
As Katie Bray Yoga evolves, so do I. Some changes have been big, some small, some expected, some unexpected, but all leading to transformation of myself and the business. And the more I train in yoga, the more I realise that yes, a calm yoga studio is so important to students, that nutrition and vitality is critical to overall health, but it’s the yoga that creates so much change.
As a teacher, it’s about creating a space and a yoga practice that’s safe and balanced, so that students find space in themselves to gain greater insights, to change and to grow. And at the same time as a teacher, I’m cultivating my own teaching style, but keeping my strong foundations in Anusara, Vinyasa and Yin Yoga.
So now when students say, Katie, I just felt so different last night after class! I felt so calm but energised! Then I know that I wasn’t being ambitious 4 years ago, I was on the right path, but just needed to believe in myself and believe in yoga.
Finally, a big thank you to all my family and my friends, who without their support, this would never have been possible, and to all my past and present teachers who continue to support and inspire me.