Hi. My name is Kate MacKay and I’m a certified Viniyoga teacher, working in Fredericton, NB. Canada. I continue to study under Kathryn Downton of LifeSong Yoga . I graduated from her intitial round of teacher training in May 2008 and struck out on my own for a while. Health issues have kept me from actively teaching in the classroom in a formal sense since 2010.
This blog started out as a convenient place for keeping my students up to date with what’s going on. New workshops, yoga events in and about town will be published here. But after a week, it seemed to take on a life of its own. One of the big challenges for any yoga practitioner is establishing and then maintaining a daily practice. As a teacher, I think it’s even more important that I walk the walk and not just talk the talk. So this blog is about me, putting it out there. This is about my practice — the good, the bad, the days it works, the days it doesn’t, the joys, the bliss, the frustration.
I’ll try to keep the narcissistic navel gazing to a minimum. And since yoga is life, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to ignore that other great part of my work life — emergency services. For over 20 years, I was a 9-1-1 operator for the City of Fredericton. It’s a relatively small centre, so we did it all — call taking and dispatching. I’ve seen a lot in that job and heard a whole lot more. The job content, combined with the basic hardship of shift work, did a lot of damage to me, physically, emotionally and mentally. Yoga turned out to be my route back to sanity and joyful living. I’m still “paying the piper” for the 25 years of toxic living but slowly, and gently, my body is returning to a state of balance and wellness.
In August 2010, I was officially diagnosed with a serious heart condition — dialated cardiomyopathy in med-speak — which has had an impact on my yoga practices in a number of ways. First of all, postural practice was nearly impossible when I was first diagnosed. Frankly, standing upright and walking in a forward motion was a major life challenge in those days. I’m happy to say that I’m moving back into postural practice these days, but with a new perspective. Being “benched” and off the mat did me a world of good because it forced me to explore the nature of yoga OFF the mat. Chant, meditation, mantra, mudra, breath practices: All of these things are areas I’ve had chance to explore in the past few months.I had to spend some time THINKING about the question of “what is yoga?” instead of moving through the postures in a mindless manner. I’ve learned a lot about what is the meaning of “practice”.
Writing this blog is part of that practice. In some respects, it’s svadhyaya — self-reflection. It’s a means for me to continue teaching even though my health condition currently keeps me from the classroom.
Let’s get something straight right up front. I’m NOT an expert. I’m not an expert on yoga. I’m not an expert on life. I’m just one person making her way in this world the best she can. Yoga is one of the tools I use to navigate this life experience. It’s fun. It’s informative and I’d love your company on the journey.