We discuss in this interview:
- Katy’s journey from her RA diagnosis at age 1 to becoming drug-free with the Paddison Program
- 26&2 series and Bikram Yoga
- Overcoming fear of public speaking
- How Esak Garcia helped her and gave support
- Yoga as a way of building human connections
- Developing a personal teaching style
Clint – Sometimes there are people in our lives who are tremendously inspirational and they do things that uplift us, and motivate us, and make us think we can do that too. It’s fabulous to listen to their stories and it’s fabulous to picture what we, too, could do in our life if we applied the same level of determination to overcome our internal challenges and external challenges to achieve our goals.
Clint – In today’s episode, I bring back for the 4th time one of our communities, favorite child or ladies, however you want to call it. She’s just turned 30 and her name is Katy. She’s been on the podcast on 3 occasions talking about 3 different things. On her first episode, she came on and she was talking about how she was able to come off her nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and Vicodin. Both of which she’d been on for many years for her rheumatoid arthritis that she was diagnosed with when she was only 1 year old. She’s lived with inflammatory arthritis her whole life, and so she’s been through a tremendous amount of challenges, as you can imagine. In the second episode, she came on to talk about how she was successfully able to come off Enbrel, a biologic drug, and how the journey between her first appearance on the show and second appearance on the show had evolved. Both episodes are available to watch back in our archive, you can find those and learn all about Katy’s journey to that point. And then in the third episode, Katy came on for a specific targeted episode where we addressed risks and risks inflammation. Katy was able to show us in that episode the exercises both the stretching and strengthening exercises that she recommends based on the improvements that she’s made with her wrists. And that is a very practical and implementable episode where you can learn how to improve your risk. That’s also available, go back and check out those episodes with Katy. Today, we’re going to talk all about the journey that she has made to become a yoga teacher. This was a goal of hers, it was not easy to do this. I cannot wait to hear the details of how Katy overcame some very significant odds to be able to realize a major goal for her in her life that she set up just a few years ago. So, Katy, thank you so much for coming back and gracing us with your presence today.
Katy – Thank you so much for having me.
Clint – I’ve given the audience a little bit of background there on your journey and your appearances to our audience. What’s it feel like to be able to sit here and be able to tell a story now, a really positive story about realizing the dream to become a yoga teacher?
Katy – It feels kind of overwhelming, it hasn’t fully set in. I believe that I’m a teacher now, but yeah, at the same time, it feels incredible. It feels like, I’ve fought really hard to get to where I am today, and of course, I wouldn’t be here today without your support and without all of my yoga instructors and students and fellow R.A. warriors. Just super excited, and excited for my future.
Clint – Yeah, absolutely. What’s really cool is that today, whilst covid has been so tremendously awful for the world in so many ways, one thing that has come out of it is the need to do online yoga classes to reach people who are at home. Who were previously attending a local studio, that the studio is now closed. You are now doing classes that are accessible to people all over the world, and one of the beauties of that is that our community can find out what time you are teaching your classes and they can attend your classes. Knowing that the sequence of postures in your yoga classes of rheumatoid arthritis friendly. Before we go any further, for those people who want to immediately bookmark a website or to check out your Web page or something, how do people find out when your classes are on and do them with you?
Katy – Yes, so if you go to www.EsakGarcia.com on the very top of the screen, it’ll show e84 virtual studio. You would click on that and then you scroll all the way down to the bottom and then it will show a schedule. It will list all the classes and categories they have, an advanced class, intermediate class, and then the 26&2, which is the class that I teach on each day. I teach every Thursday and every Saturday morning, and so you can check out the schedule and you can register to click. You click on my class and it’s really easy, really simple to register and sign up. They have all the times listed for the country, so if if you live in a different area, it’s really laid out pretty clearly.
Clint – OK, beautiful. So just to recap, that’s www.esakgarcia.com. Can you spell it for us?
Katy – www.esakgarcia.com
Clint – From there they can navigate from a drop-down at the top and find Katy, who does the 26&2 classes. OK, beautiful, cannot wait. Now, tell us, what yoga style did you learn and why? Given that I’ve already given a clue that it’s very rheumatoid arthritis friendly.
The Yoga Style
Katy – Yes, so I started your program about four years ago now, it’s crazy it’s been 4 years. Then I started Bikram yoga off of your recommendation actually a couple of weeks after starting your program, which is the 26&2 series. I completely just fell in love with it, I took my very first class, and of course and it was traumatizing and scary. It was like, oh my gosh, what am I doing? But, the very next day I felt so much better, and it was the only exercise that I’ve done that I felt better after class, I’ve always felt worse. It quickly became my medicine, it became my passion. The more I practiced, the more I fell in love with it, and it’s completely transformed my life. I knew in my head that eventually, I would like to become a Bikram teacher and be able to share this practice with other people who are struggling and other people with RA.
Clint – I remember you would just sort of toying with the idea quite early on, and we just gave you so much love. We just gave so much loving fire on that for you. We just said, Katy, you’d be the best, you just you are so inspiring come on, you can do it. All of us inside our support group, we all just loving on that idea so hard. It felt like eventually, you had to just go for it.
Katy – Yes. I’m so grateful for all of your support, I wouldn’t have done without you.
Clint – But you had such tremendous obstacles to overcome both internally. I’m sure, you raised some things with us. I’m sure that internally meaning like concerns, worries, fears, insecurities, we’re going to be at play thinking about becoming a teacher. And also external, we weren’t able to do to take the classes, the educational classes and training nearby in your area you would have had to travel. Then those financial issues. But I don’t want to, I just know so much of this journey myself I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but tell us those. First of all, the internal challenges, what were you thinking, frightening you about becoming a teacher?
Katy – It was a lot of like not feeling worthy and not feeling like, I deserve to stand up on a podium and teach 20 to 30 people where I can’t even do half the poses myself. It was a lot of feeling of I don’t deserve to be a teacher. And also just scary of just standing out front and having people look at me. I mean, even though, there’s some mirrors, some people are supposed to be concentrating on themselves and stuff. But, just speaking for 90 minutes in front of a group of yogis was traumatizing to me. But at the same time, it was really exciting, and like I knew that I would grow, you don’t grow unless you’re out of your comfort zone. So I just kept it in the back of my head, one day I’ll become a teacher, like way far out in the distance, like maybe 10, 15 years in the future. Then, covid started and I was recently needed to move out of my house, move out of where I was staying at. I put out a message on one of the Bikram yoga Facebook groups and reached out and said, hey, I need somewhere to stay. One of my yoga friends who I have competed with in the past graciously offered a room in his house in Sacramento. So I took that scary kind of leap of faith, I’ve never moved out of Oregon where I was going. And I was like, all right, I’m going to Sacramento, this is when covid started. So, like, the airports were completely empty, and there is all this fear of the unknown. But it turned out to be exactly where I needed to be, It couldn’t have turned out more perfectly, and super grateful to Victor who opened his house to me and. That’s kind of where it all started and then I started doing some work for Esak Garcia.
Clint – Now he’s a sort of a well-known, highly regarded yogi, correct?
Katy – Yes. He’s the international yoga champion and he founded Jedi Fight Club, which is a very intensive seven-day yoga training that’s outside of Bikram yoga. Right. I started doing that virtually with him so I started working with him with the social media stuff. And so I started getting to know him and his team more throughout the summer. Then I just had casually mentioned to him, I’d like to become a teacher one day. Before I knew it, he called me up, one of the days I think he was that either June or July of last year and we kind of had a heart to heart conversation then we both kind of came to the same conclusion that now is the time, like, what am I waiting for?
Clint – Did Esak help to soften a lot of the fears that you had, those concerns? Like what did he say to you, if you may recall, that helped you think, OK, look, I’m going to go for it?
Katy – Well, I mentioned to him the fact that I can’t do most of the poses, that I feel insufficient, and he kind of took that down. I can’t remember his exact words, but he was basically like, Katy, you don’t have to be perfect to be a real good teacher. You don’t have to have the perfect postures like what matters is what’s in your heart. He asked me have you ever done speeches, have you ever been out front on a stage before?? And I was like, yes, I’ve done a few speeches for you and for Clint Paddison and stuff. He said, well, you can do this, he was just extremely supportive and I said, I’ll do this.
Clint – Can I ask just at this point? Because this isn’t even clear to me quite the evolution of change for studios that previously taught Bikram yoga and are now shifting to a title of 26&2. Can you give us the short version of that evolution and why?
Katy – Well, it’s for me, it’s basically I think it’s because of the whole thing surrounding Bikram yoga, Bikram Choudhury himself and the things that have happened in his personal life. That people started drifting away from the Bikram yoga because they felt like he was a part of that. So studio owners just slowly started to change the name so that people could realize that yes, he brought yoga to us and we’re super grateful for that. But we’re not paying him or he’s not paying us or he’s not affiliated with the studio themselves.
Clint – Ok, yeah, that makes sense. But for people just to have complete clarity, it is the same sequence so that if they were previously undertaking Bikram and now they hear 26&2, they can know that they’re still going to get the same sequence. Which I’ve spent many hour over many years explaining how good it is for people. So we won’t cover old territory there. OK, so thank you for that. And so with the discussion with the Esak, you’re like, okay, look, I’m going to take this enormous leap of faith being cheered on by the RA community who love me and also by this mentor of mine, Esak, who seems incredibly soft and gentle and inspiring and caring and wise. You said, okay, I’m going to do it. What were the next challenges that laid in your path?
How Katy Funded Her Training
Katy – Well, the biggest challenge was the financial issues, I don’t have an income. And so I was like, how am I going to afford the training because it is out in Boulder, Colorado, and which I’ve never visited, I’ve never gone to before. I started to go fund my account and just kind of put the word out there, and super generous people from my yoga studio and from our community. If you’re watching this and you’ve donated to my account, super, super grateful to you. Thank you so much. Yeah, I got more than enough to pay for my plane ticket and most of my expenses there, and then the work that I’ve been doing for Esak is also paying off my tuition and so I was another huge part. It just kind of all fell into place perfectly. As part of our requirement prior to going to training, we had to practice Bikram yoga 11 times a week for a whole month, and this is when all the studios were shut down. Thankfully, I was during the summer and I was able to go out in the sun, the 100+ degree weather every day and be able to do my 11 classes a week out in the out in the grass. I had a personal mentor to help me do the dialogue and learn the dialogue. I’ve never been very good at memorizing stuff, and we had about 3 to 4 days to memorize each posture. That was a challenge, and then especially as it adds up, you have 26 postures that you have to memorize. So I had Nika Garcia, which is Esak’s older sister, as she was my coach for the dialogue training, and she’s super, super cool, super grateful to her, great coach.
Clint – That’s wonderful. Was there any time where, you know, you felt like giving up during this? Because it’s intense, isn’t it? And that’s challenging with at times where you thought, what am I doing?
Katy – Definitely, but I just kept thinking of the future and thinking if I give up, you what’s the point in that? I put all this effort all this time, all this hard work into it. I couldn’t give up even if I want to give up.
Clint – There’s no way to go, you’re in Boulder, Colorado, in their home. You’ve finished the training and then tell us about the first experience teaching.
First Yoga Class
Katy – Yes, so I got to Boulder, Colorado, we learn the dialogue before we get to Boulder, Colorado, and then once we get to Boulder, Colorado, we start teaching right away. That was another scary thing, I was like teaching right away, like, My first class teaching was very, very interesting. I thought from the back row, I taught in the back.
Clint – Is that so that you got your lefts and your rights correct because when you’re facing people it’s mirrored.
Katy – They told me that I could either teach from the front or from the back, and so I thought it would be easier if I was teaching from the back (inaudible).
Clint – So for me, teaching from the back would make sense, because I would say if you bring your left leg out, then I would, as a beginner teacher, I could then think, OK, I know because I’ve done the class so many times, I would lift the left leg and say, everyone, bring the left leg. But yeah, I hadn’t thought of it from this sort of public speaking point of view. It’s probably one of the something that I’ve got a little more experience about. So yeah, I get it.
Katy – But it didn’t really help much because my emotions were all over the place. I mean I was crying at some points, I was laughing at some points as I felt like bolting out of the room like I mean just, and it was just overwhelming, talking and having people respond to you and do what you say, especially for someone like me with rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve always been a follower, I’m not a leader, and so that was huge to lead people and to see all these bodies. When you’re practicing yourself, you’re focused on yourself, you’re not really looking around the room. Yeah, it was just a really overwhelming experience. I had Jayjay Garcia, which is Esak’s brother as well, he was taking notes during my class because we teach four times during the training and each time we get feedback on your class, that kind of helps you.
Clint – When you’re watching him and he’s like writing like crazy. Oh, no, no.
Katy – Yeah. So I also had the fear of oh, he’s writing a huge list of what I’m saying and doing wrong. But he was practicing at the same time, he would practice a little bit. But I also had Roda Garcia in my class, she’s Esak’s mother and she went to the very, very first Bikram training before there was a dialogue, and so she’s super inspiring. To have her in the class was very nervous for me, and then I had Michael Fine who’s also super inspiring, he was in the class as well.
Katy – But I made it through the class, I finished and I just felt when I was ending the class, I just felt the same feelings of just feeling unworthy and feeling like, why am I here? Like I was just feeling a failure. Failure is the word that came to me like I failed. I was thinking, Roda, is never going to want me to teach again. I was just feeling, just horrible. As it ended, Roda came up to me and she gave me a huge hug, and the first words that came out of her mouth was, I want you to teach her full time. To have her say those exact words out of just seconds off of what I was feeling, of the feeling of failure and stuff, it was just perfect. I started crying and then Jayjay came up and he gave me a big hug. Then he asked he asked the class he’s like, this is Katie’s first class, so we could all get together and we’ll take a group photo. It was just so sweet, and it was just the perfect ending to a class that I thought that I did horrible, that I was never going to be able to teach again and but to have that love and that support was just.
Clint – Yeah, phenomenal, absolutely. There’s something about the yoga community, they are just are such a nice community around the world. My wife’s best friends always come from yoga classes. I know that that that’s it’s not an exclusive source of social interaction, but you just tend to find that if you have sort of a compassionate soul and if you are sort of someone who’s interested in the mind-body connection. Like-mindedness sort of helps builds friendships, and it seems very easy to talk to people at yoga studios. There’s no barrier to sort of getting to know the sort of the real person or at least more of the real person. I just think that the yoga breaks down that sort of that facade that we put onto the world, and we’re like, hey, I’m here, I’m just trying to get this body move in the right way and try to get these worries and thoughts out of my head so that I can live a more of a peaceful, calm, happier life. You share that kind of objective with the other yogis and you just think, hey, I’m no better than you. Especially I think that’s evident in your story for her to come over to you and say that I mean, you’ll never ever forget that.
Katy – No, I won’t forget that. Every class after that just kept getting a little better and a little better, I had three other Codan, 3 other people give me feedback on each class. And my fellow trainees were so supportive to like, we’re all supporting each other and we’re just like a little yoga family. It was an experience of a lifetime, really. I mean, I’m so grateful that I chose the training and then I thought that I was going to be going back to Sacramento once the training ended, and then Roda just really wanted me to come and stay in and teach and I just kind of went with it and I was like, let’s why not just stay a little longer? So she graciously let me stay up just right above the studio. And so I was able to just walk up and down the stairs to the studio and up to my room and teaching almost every single day and sometimes twice a day and practicing in the hot room. Getting a whole bunch of feedback, it was beautiful.
Clint – Well done. So you got a real intensive in terms of exposure to the teaching experience. That’s one challenge that a lot of yoga teachers face. My wife’s also a yoga teacher and she fell pregnant not long after she did a teacher training. So the challenge for Melissa was that she became a yoga teacher, she started teaching some classes, then she got pregnant. And then life changed because then we needed to get out of our one-bedroom apartment before the baby became and property prices went through the roof. We spent all our spare time trying to find an apartment and of course, everything else in life as well. It’s very competitive, yoga teacher here in Sydney, yoga is just just off the charts, right? There are yoga studios everywhere and the studios have very, very great yoga teachers. She didn’t do the 26&2, she did like a Vinyasa style. The style that Melissa is trained for is a style that a lot of other very experienced yoga teachers have perfected or become extremely good at teaching. It was hard for her to get a lot of classes, and just as it was starting to get more momentum, we had to focus on her being six months pregnant and getting ready to have a baby. It’s great that you got all that opportunity to teach is what I’m saying. To have basically the stage time, you have a lot of stage time.
Katy – Yeah. Especially after training.
Clint – Right after, which is brilliant. So since then, what now are you working on with your teaching? What are the things that you feel that you’ve really locked in or become more confident that? And what are the things that you still are working on?
Skills To Improve
Katy – The biggest most thing that I’ve really been working on is not is making the dialogue my own, like not just reciting word for word, but putting my own life into it.
Clint – Yeah. Love it.
Katy – I’m still working on it, but I have improved a ton in that area.
Clint – Do you say no light or (inaudible) like a Japanese ham sandwich?
Katy – No.
Clint – There are some weird things in the original dialogue. Do you say go back, way back, more back, push back, way back, full back?
Katy – No, Esak has something where he goes, please reach arms back. We weren’t taught many of the regular. I guess you call them Bikronism’s. I get a lot of my stuff from Esak and from Joseph as well.
Clint – Yeah. Great. Joseph (inaudible), for those people wondering who was also on the show several years ago. By the way, if you’re looking for these past episodes, the show resources and platform shifted about a year ago from www.PaddisonProgram.com/blog where you can find all of the episodes going back to when this podcast began. It shifted now to www.RheumatoidSolutions.com, where you can find episodes going back to the transition point, which is about early, 2020. Just in case you’re wondering what happened to all the episodes on rheumatoid solutions prior to early 2020?
Katy – Well, Katy, this has been tremendous. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. You’ve got those two classes a week which people can attend. They can look at the time zones and find out whether or not they can attend them live with you. Let’s say people cannot attend either of your sessions live are there other sessions on the esakgarcia.com Website that they can attend with other teachers.
Katy – Yeah, definitely. They have a whole wide variety of classes and different times of the day. There’s a couple of my other fellow teacher trainees who are also on the platform that teaches twice a week as well. That’s all I know of the teachers and they’re all very compassionate, very kind, great teachers to take from. I’ve taken from most of them.
Clint – Awesome. So what is the next simmering goal that’s niggling away in the back of your mind? You’ve just conquered becoming a yoga teacher, which compared to, let’s say, 4 years ago or 5 years ago. I mean, could I use the word impossible?
Katy – Yeah, I it was the furthest thing from my mind when I first I first started.
Clint – Yeah. To be fair, without any kind of exaggeration, you were not doing well before you and I connected. It was not an easy life that you had at that time. And whilst life, I don’t think is ever easy for anyone at any time, I sincerely feel so happy with how far you’ve come. Life certainly is better now than what it was for you 4 to 5 years ago. I think that this yoga teacher experience has been a fabulous evolution for you as a person, and I’m so thrilled to have witnessed it.
Katy – Thank you so much.
Clint – Thank you. Katy, we look forward to having you on another episode down the track when you. I didn’t let you finish, sorry I didn’t let you finish. Have you got any simmering goals that you’re working on for us to look forward to hearing about?
Katy – I think just furthering my teaching education and eventually maybe going further into the e84 intermediate teacher training that Esak also does. I don’t know. We’ll see where it goes.
Clint – See where life takes you and what calling you get next. Well, congratulations on what you’ve achieved. I wanted to have you share your story because I think that it is so inspirational, a continual inspirational story. As a community, we’re all cheering you on, we think you are amazing, we love you. Well done. Congratulations. Remember each day just to breathe in and think of how far you’ve come. And whilst life might not still be the way that you know some of your friends are at 30 years old, you might still think, look, this still sucks that I have this condition. I never got the childhood that I really would have if I hadn’t and so on. We can’t change that, and so all we can do is take massive action and seek dreams and achieve them just as you have. So I love what you do, and thank you so much for sharing your update today.
Katy – Thank you so much for having me.