I am delighted to share this interview with you today, because honestly within moments of discovering Kate, learning about her journey, her openness, her ethos and her mission moving forward I just knew she would make for an incredible interviewee. And let’s just say, I wasn’t wrong. Her interview is amazing and she has incredible thoughts on all things body image, anxiety, meditation, women supporting women and so. much. more. that I know you’re going to be blown away after reading.
Kate is a yoga instructor and founder of theGOODfest; events created to ignite your passion for wellness and inspire you to live your good life. Kate has an incredible story, filled with challenges and trauma which many would shy away from, use as an excuse and settle for being a victim. But, not Kate. Her mission in life is turning pain, into purpose, and she sure has accomplished that in more ways than one, she is authentic in everything she does and she’s determined to make the most out of this one crazy ride we call life. Kate’s interview fills me with all the butterflies…and then some, because she was so beautifully honest, raw and open about her journey so far, lessons she has learnt and clarity on what her path is, and how she is using her struggles to help others. Because, we’re all dealing with things, and the more open, vulnerable and honest we are – with ourselves and each other – the more we find, and build connection.
One of the biggest takeaways I got from sitting down with Kate was something I have been thinking about a lot for quite a while now, that is – finding the gifts in the lessons. I love that Kate has that exact philosophy, she has turned her pain into purpose and looked for the power in her struggles and I think that’s something we can all take away. We get given things in life that challenge, frustrate, hurt and can often feel like they are breaking us, but they always make us stronger and there is almost always a lesson in there somewhere, it’s just about choosing to find it, and then learning from it.
Kate shares the most beautiful advice on loving your body, which really hits home – especially as she is someone that has learnt this through struggle and pain, I think it is beautiful, amazing and incredibly inspiring that this is the wisdom that has come from all of that. And I particularly love Kate’s musings on breath work, meditation and anxiety and the connection they share. As someone who has struggled with anxiety my entire life, it has only been the last few years that I too, have discovered the beauty of the breath and the power it can have over anxiety. All of this, can be attested to yoga and the power of the practice.
And then there’s the connection between women, the strength in togetherness, the parallels we can all draw, the mirrors we are for each other and the importance of being kind, Kate highlights that it being kind to is something that we can actively control and something that is oh-so-very necessary.
Kate truly lives in the moment, she is conscious of her breath, her body, her gifts, her impact, the world around her and I feel like we can all take a leaf out of Kate’s book of consciousness. Time is something that never stops (as much as we often wish it would), it keeps moving and we cannot go back, we also don’t know what lies ahead of us going forward, which, when you stop and think about it like that, it’s a very slap-you-in-the-face kinda reminder that all we have is the present moment, and all we can be is now. That’s it. And being aware of this means being more present and truly truly making the most of every second, being grateful for it ….. And in the same breath, when we are struggling with something, reminding ourselves that time will keep moving and we will get through to the other side. One of my all time favorite quotes is ‘this too shall pass’ and it applies to everything in life, good and bad, and sometimes it’s important to stop and remember this.
I’m really *really* excited for you to get stuck into reading Kate’s interview, because I feel like every answer is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, filled with so much goodness, sound advice and nuggets of wisdom that will hit home. So, without further ado, it’s over to the lovely Kate.
KATE VAN HORN // YOGA INSTRUCTOR AND CO-FOUNDER OF theGOODfest
One word you would use to describe yourself?
I am most proud of my resilience and ability to find power and purpose in the struggles I’ve experienced. I take pride in my story and it’s helpful knowing there will no doubt be more obstacles to come, yet I feel rooted in my ability to take on just about anything.
‘There’s enough in this world that will knock you down, being kind to one another is one of the few things we have control over.‘
Advice you would give your younger self?
Your body is simply a vehicle for your soul. It does not define you, it’s here to protect you, and most importantly to travel with you as you share your gifts far beyond the physical.
What has been your most powerful healing remedy to overcome anxiety?
Meditation for sure! Simply learning how to find your breath and bring conscious awareness to each inhale and exhale can work wonders for anxiety, especially in the moment. Once the breath and emotions are regulated through this mindfulness, I’ve also found that deeper reflection in meditation can bring much healing. So meditation has certainly been my medicine in dealing with anxiety!
Something you don’t tell yourself enough?
That I am lovable, and equally capable of loving. I used to be difficult, harsh and critical of others. I led from a place of anger and resentment rather than radical acceptance or unconditional love (for myself, others in my life, etc). That felt too vulnerable, so everyday I try to remind myself that I am not those things, I am loving and compassionate.
What is in your self care toolbox and what is your all-time-hands-down-favorite self love ritual?
Love this question! A group of women who support me wholeheartedly. I love the tools, self care routines, and practices I’ve developed throughout the years but community is truly the basis of well being for me. When I removed toxic relationships and cultivated honest and truly supportive ones, the self love followed because they serve as mirrors.
‘The storms shaped me, and I learned and grew with each.‘
How impactful have yoga and mediation been on your life? And what is your best piece of advice for someone just starting out with both of these things?
Yoga and meditation allowed me to rediscover my body! I struggled with body dysmorphia for years, and finally felt within my body (and the present moment) with these practices. My greatest advice is to release judgement of the practice, and look beyond instagram for “inspo”. Your practice will look nothing like the women beside you in class, or on your newsfeed. Dive deeper into the practice, find how you can live yoga in each moment, and just enjoy the journey.
How do you pull the cord on a pity-party and pick yourself up when you’re having a bad day?
I write everything down! As a gemini moon I can be verbose. I may want to wallow and feel sorry for myself for the sake of a pity party. Rather than calling a friend to (very unproductively) complain, I will write every single thing I am frustrated with and then tear it up, throw it away, burn it, whatever needs to happen to make it clear that I’m consciously choosing to move forward from it.
What characteristics and values do you admire most in the women you choose to surround yourself with?
The women I surround myself with are BADASS. I love that each of them have something they can’t ignore. Meaning they have an area of their life they feel so passionate about they simply can’t look away but instead choose action to rally behind their beliefs. The women I know and admire use their voices, unapologetically speak up for themselves and most importantly encourage others to do the same.
‘Simply learning how to find your breath and bring conscious awareness to each inhale and exhale can work wonders for anxiety, especially in the moment.‘
Can you share any tips for tuning into your intuition?
Free up the space. A lot of women I speak to want to tap into their intuition more, but make excuses to avoid (likely out of fear of what may come through when they do listen). Free up the space in your life either by setting aside the time to get quiet – to write, to read, to meditate, to dance, to move, to create – to find a flow state. And freeing space can look like saying less to things and people and places that do not serve us. Each time we go against what is in alignment and continue to choose situations that don’t bring us closer to our highest self, we block our intuition more.
‘When I removed toxic relationships and cultivated honest and truly supportive ones, the self love followed because they serve as mirrors.‘
If you had the opportunity to speak and be able to reach and inspire every young girl and woman around the world with your message, what would you say?
The sooner we all support and love one another, the sooner we can be free from all the holds us back. There’s enough in this world that will knock you down, being kind to one another is one of the few things we have control over.
Your favorite quote?
I’ve always loved author Louisa May Alcott and Little Women. I grew up watching the movie on repeat and read the book with my mother! My mother shared her quote with me “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship” at a very young age and it stuck. It really rings true today. The storms shaped me, and I learned and grew with each.