About Kate and Ashtanga

About Kate and Ashtanga

After having a personal practice which visited many different yogic systems over the span of 18 years, Kate took her first true Ashtanga class in Aspen in a Bikram Studio. Sharon Capplain, a dedicated fan of Ashtanga and a tremendous teacher, decided to offer her foundation and passion for a few weeks.

Kate gravitated immediately to the systemized method, laid out in a never ending series of “and then”… there was no end, there could be no perfection, there was just an ever evolving non-eaoic delving into self.

Kate couldn’t get enough, and as there is no dedicated Ashtanga shala in Aspen, she soon found herself in Ubud, Bali under the tutelage of Prem and Rhada at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Center, Bali, where she studied daily for three months. Prem was a direct lineage student of Pattabhi Jois, authorized to teach through intermediate series. Dylan Bernstein was another major influence on Kate’s developing Ashtanga practice, another authorized by Pattabi Jois himself, who taught at Prem and Rhada’s shala in the rice paddies outside of Ubud.

It was here that Kate found a depth in dedication, focus and practice which went far deeper the simple athletic nature of each posture. She was near the source, she was moving internally as well as externally, she was understanding in a new way.

Kate moved on to get her Teaching Certificate in an Ashtanga based system at Centered Yoga, Samahita, Thailand, where she was honored to then be offered a rare four month work-study, living at Samahita, and continuing her education under her teacher, Paul Dallagain, a fourth series practitioner, also granted a teaching certificate for intermediate series by Pattabhi Jois.

Kate stayed on assisting three Teacher Trainings and teaching led, Mysore style, and restorative/yin classes five days per week while maintaining her personal practice six days per week. She also had the opportunity to lead Vipassana based meditation classes in the evenings, a practice she has embraced since 1997.

This intensive immersion, under the watchful eye of Paul and his senior teachers, at a well respected facility where all teachers maintain a high degree of discipline in their practice, as well as dedicating their lives to sharing the yogic path with others was an incredible opportunity for Kate to be nurtured as both a teacher and as a practitioner, and to discover what Yoga Chickitsa, or Yoga Therapy, really meant.

As her time wound down at Samahita, Kate and her two young boys moved on, traveling through Laos and Cambodia by paddle board, and eventually ending up at the home of Ashtanga Yoga, a small town called Mysore.

Kate and her two boys scratched together the fee to practice with Saraswathi Jois now aged 74, direct holder of the Ashtanga lineage from her father. Standing in the sweaty, silent room, her children practicing on either side of her, Kate was surprised one day when Saraswathi called across the room to her, “You! Help him!” and she pointed to a man on the mat behind hers, struggling to enter into Supta Kormasana, a posture in the “deep floor” portion of the Primary series.  

“What?” Kate asked, stupidly.

“Help him. Supta Kormasana. Do.” Saraswathi repeated.

So Kate got out of her posture and began to adjust the student into the posture. When she finished, Saraswathi was standing there, hands on her hips, glaring at her. “Good. Okay. I think you are helping me.”

For the next three months, Kate assisted Saraswathi Jois at her shala in Mysore, India, beginning her own practice at 3 am so she could be ready to receive the first students at 4:30 am. Practice ended as the students cycled through around noon.

Under the watchful eye of Saraswathi, Kate learned at the source what it means to develop a “deep” and meaningful practice, she learned about discipline, and most importantly about finding, recognizing, and working with, one’s Place of Benefit.

While Ashtanga Yoga and its heritage are close to Kate’s heart, it is her believe that a grounding in the foundation that Ashtanga creates breeds depth and freedom in all other yoga practices.

It is Kate’s strong desire to get a robust Ashtanga Mysore program running six days a week in Aspen, Colorado over the next two years. Kate is excited to be teaching at King Yoga, where the owner, Aaron King, has his own roots in the Ashtanga system.

Come and delve deep into the history and tradition of your yoga practice as taught by the Master Teacher, Krishnamacharia, and in the direct lineage: Pattabhi Joise, Saraswathi Jois, Prem, Paul Dallaghan, and Kate Howe.

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