What do Indian Hatha yoga, Taoist principles, Chinese medicine, and sacred geometry have in common? They all make up the core of this insanely transformative style of yoga known as Katonah. And our guest in this paradigm- bending episode has been teaching and practicing this esoteric form of yoga in New York for twenty-five years. If you've practiced this style of yoga, you already get it. Just click play and listen to Abbie break it all down. If you've not yet experienced this form (or any form for that matter) of yoga, then keep reading about my recent personal experience that led to the recording of this episode.
I discovered Katonah Yoga and Abbie Galvin on a recent podcast tour of New York City, at the recommendation of a Life Stylist listener that I happened to meet at a sound bath at The Woom Center, a few doors down from Abbie's studio on Bowery.
I signed up for my first Katonah class online that night, then dropped into The Studio the next morning- and I haven't been the same since. Having been a practitioner of various styles of yoga for twenty years, I was expecting some version of a typical yoga flow class that day. What I experienced in Abbie's class was nothing less than incredible. It became quickly evident that this class was more of an intense, small-scale workshop than another teacher-led Hatha flow. This was spiritual science in the flesh. It was physical and emotional transformation, using a seemingly mystical amalgam of various teachings all at once. Using chairs, blocks, blankets, and various other props, Abbie led me and my body through postures and poses that I would have previously thought impossible. This practice had depth, and a seemingly endless potential for expansion. I was sold. So immediately following class I bum rushed Abbie for an interview, to which she graciously agreed.
In this episode, Abbie does what only a great master teacher can do: Take nonlinear, universal principles of truth, and distill them down into practical terms in a relatable, simple vernacular. This interview is an exploration into not only the art and magic of Katonah yoga, but of life itself. Its a celebration of the ancient wisdom that has no attainable destination. That’s why it’s called a practice. No matter how hard you try, you never quite arrive. And that’s the true beauty of the journey.
Enjoy the ride,
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TOPICS DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S EPISODE:
- How and when did Abbie find Katonah yoga, and what is it about?
- Other forms of yoga she’s practiced, and the current state of affairs in the yoga scene at large
- The fact that the purpose of yoga was originally intended to prepare the body for meditation
- Her belief that most yogic movement is not inherently natural to humans
- Why she believes the concept of origami folding is more powerful than simply stretching
- The importance of strengthening the nervous system to deal with the day to day stresses of life
- How the patterns in the body directly mimic patterns in nature
- Why Katonah yoga mixes Taoist Chinese theory and indian hatha yoga, and how that actually happened in the first place
- How the Taoist principles of pattern, and Yin and Yang and nature play into the Katonah practice
- The role of sacred geometry plays in Katonah
- Why are chairs used as the various props used in this practice, and why are they so crucial to its effectiveness?
- What sort of physical transformations Abbie has seen in all of her years as a teacher?
- The science behind joint function, and how they relate to the human skeleton and structure, and how Katonah yoga makes your bones stronger
- How the the body’s organ systems are effected by this practice?
- Why community, and teacher/student support and interaction is so crucial to the practice
- How Katonah yoga uses various props to create scaffolding to retrain the body’s structure throughout the postures
- The purpose of yogic breathwork, and its effect on the body
- How to live your life as a yoga practice, rather than leaving it on the mat, and why she believes yoga is not exercise
- How does Katonah yoga effect people’s sexuality?
- Lifestyle recommendations
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Intro music: Jeordie White
Show production: Tatiana Melo
Sound editing: Dustin Smith