Flow with Katarina Rayburn on Wanderlust TV every Sunday at 7.00 PM GMT as she takes over the virtual Live studio with a signature Mandala Salutations class for intermediate and advanced yogis.
As a physics graduate and trained actress, making the transition to full-time yoga teacher wasn’t the obvious choice. However, after discovering a strong yang style of yoga in London, and then traveling to India to explore the lighter practice of Sivananda yoga, Katarina realized what an integral part of her physical and mental wellbeing it had become. She has completed 500hrs of advanced Teacher Training with her teachers Jamie and Dulce, The Yoga People, in Ashtanga, Rocket, Yin, Mandala Vinyasa & Shamanism. She is now part of The Yoga People teaching team for the 200hr TT. Her classes are laced with chakra and elemental theories giving the practitioner the opportunity to take their practice beyond just the physical. Katarina hosts sell-out retreats internationally and co-owns a yoga studio in Deptford (south east London), with her husband, Julian.
How did Yoga enter your life? Was it love at first sight?
It was love, at first sight, the second time around. I had dabbled with a few yoga classes at my local gym in my late teens but it wasn’t until my early twenties when I was working as an actress and doing part-time office work/waitressing that I went to a class in yoga and dance studio and fell in love! I was all over the place with my work life and the yoga came at the perfect time, it gave me the much-needed release, grounding, and consistency I was missing.
Your style of teaching is energetic, fiery, and sometimes pushes students to draw outside their comfort lines. How do you make sure they still feel confident in what they’re doing?
My classes invite and give people the option to challenge themselves in a playful way. I always give options and modifications starting from the easiest and working up so that my classes are open to those who want to take it softer and those who want to explore deeper, more challenging variations. I am confident that I can safely guide my students giving them the confidence they need to know what feels right for them. Yoga as a whole should be accessible for everybody, my classes are not for complete beginners but to start yoga you don’t have to be a certain way.
You’re a new mum! We noticed that you returned to teaching very quickly after giving birth. How has motherhood changed the way you teach?
I was very lucky to be able to teach and practice yoga till the day I gave birth which helped me a lot, mentally and physically, during and after my pregnancy. Going back to teaching and gentle practice soon after having my daughter felt very natural and right for me. Having known what it was like to have to completely modify my practice during my pregnancy and work on rebuilding my strength after, I now have a whole new embodied understanding of the body’s capabilities and restrictions which I can use in my teaching.
How soon will we see little Elia stepping on the mat with her mama?
Haha, she loves watching me teach and practice so I’m sure it won’t be long at all!
As you’re a teacher and a teacher trainer, you’re also a student. How does your personal learning journey continue as you step on the mat learning as opposed to teaching?
One of my favorite things to do is further yoga training, you can never stop learning! Every time I get on the mat as a student I am inspired and reminded of why I love doing what I do. I continue to learn things about myself and have great clarity of thought, practicing yoga is a therapy for me.
What would be the one piece of advice you could give to the Wanderlust TV streamers to deepen the connection with a teacher and themselves during the online practice?
Online practice requires more self-discipline as you have to hold yourself accountable so I would always say set up your environment so you are not distracted, whether that means making some space by moving furniture, turning your phone off, or creating some ambiance by lighting a candle. Perhaps visualise yourself in the studio with your teacher and fellow yogis, you have carved out precious time for yourself so make the most of it as best you can. And if a student of mine wanted to contact me with any questions I would be very happy to answer.
Is there one feeling you always seek your students to leave with?
I always want people to feel a sense of achievement after doing my class, whether it’s physical or mental. Making time to get on your mat, move and breathe is an achievement regardless of what happens!