The following article was submitted by Kate Casey, owner of Cats on Mats Yoga, LLC, through the Manitowoc Public Library.
Hi, friends! It’s your friendly neighborhood yogini, Kate!
With sunnier days ahead, I’m looking forward to soaking up the glorious weather that Wisconsin gifts us each year. And in my humble opinion, there’s no better way to spend a breezy Manitowoc evening than practicing yoga with grass under your hands and dirt between your toes.
When Manitowoc Public Library invited me to teach another Yoga in the Park series for their Summer Reading program, I was thrilled. Teaching yoga digitally on MPL’s Facebook Live has been a fantastic and rewarding challenge over the last year, especially as it made yoga accessible to many new people in their own spaces. However, while doing these classes virtually is great, there’s only so much we can do and only so much we can feel when separated by our tiny blue screens. I know that I, along with the staff at MPL, are ecstatic to be offering some in-person classes again!
If we haven’t already met—either in person or online—as I mentioned before, my name is Kate Casey, the proprietress of Cats on Mats, LLC. I’ve been teaching yoga in the community since 2013. I’m a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500-hour level, which means I’ve spent at least 500 hours in a classroom setting studying how to teach yoga safely and effectively to people in all types of bodies and of all ages, levels, and abilities. I use this education in tandem with my bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences to teach from a scientifically-backed perspective.
Leveraging my knowledge of anatomy and physiology, I tailor classes to best fit students’ needs and meet them where they are in each moment, not the other way around. So, when students practice with me, we not only learn how to practice deep breathing and move our bodies into yoga poses that work for us, but we also pay attention to the function and outcome of each exercise. We add tools to our toolbox, so to speak, so that when we step off our mats we have a better understanding of our bodies, our inner selves, and our interactions with the world around us.
Sounds pretty heavy, right? I promise, it’s not! Yoga is about doing the work, getting into the nitty-gritty, but also about laughing in the face of our own seriousness. It’s about trying your hardest to wiggle into that silly yoga pose and laughing when you lose your balance and end up wiggling your way out. Our yoga practices should reflect our lives: sometimes it calls for quiet and seriousness, while at other times you’re laughing until you cry. And we do it all while moving our bodies and breathing deeply on our mats.
If this sounds like just the thing you need, I invite you to join me for some outdoor evening yoga sessions this summer at Union Park. Our first session convenes at 6 PM on Wednesday, June 23 and registration is required since we’re going to keep the classes manageable with 20 participants each time. Registration open at 9 AM on Monday, June 7. Head to the “Events” page at www.manitowoclibrary.org to secure your spot.
Classes will be structured to suit both newbies and seasoned yogis alike. If you have your own yoga mat or other favorite yoga props, feel free to bring them, otherwise a beach towel or blanket works just fine (or you can be like me and practice right in the grass—no accessories required!). And if you’re hesitant to attend because you don’t have a buddy to go with, remember that as W.B. Yeats wrote: “There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t met yet.”