A conversation with KP
Katie Pearson is a 30-year-old yoga teacher who lives and works in Camberwell. She left school at 16, starting an 8-year career working in TV production. Talking of her TV career, she recalls, ‘It was a wild and wonderful time in so many ways, and I met some incredible people who gave me opportunities I never dreamed of, with no A-Levels or degree. However, I used to get a little overwhelmed and anxious working across lots of projects at once, and I experienced the occasional panic attack, which was terrifying (if you know, you know!). It was then that I realised perhaps I needed a change.’
Seeking change, six years ago Katie took a leap of faith and decided to re-train to become a yoga teacher. Having travelled through India to practice yoga a few times before, and feeling ‘desperately lost’, Katie decided to return to India to do her first yoga teacher training. ‘It was the best decision I ever made from a foggy head!’.
Katie’s love for Camberwell began when she started teaching her first yoga class at Zen Yoga on Camberwell Grove. ‘I used to cycle up from Peckham, and with it being one of my first ever weekly classes, I’ve always had a soft spot for it. I also met my (now) fiancé in that same class, and we live here now - down the road by one of the best pubs, The Sun of Camberwell.
‘I love the strong sense of community here. You feel it in classes as soon as people walk through the door, in a way I don’t experience as much in other areas. I love that it’s such a creative hub and you can roll out the flat in scruffy clothes and odd socks, and not feel judged.’
Having said that, Katie would like to see a safer bike riding system on the roads. ‘I always get scared at the big crossroads.’
Teaching yoga has changed how Katie views the world. ‘My students teach me, as much as I teach them. And I’ve learnt that we all have similar battles. I've discovered that actually you connect to others far more deeply when you are honest, open and vulnerable. When I first started out as a yoga teacher I felt like I had to be, and feel, amazing all the time… when that’s just not possible. Life is life, and you go through pain and struggles just like everyone else.’
‘I’ve also learnt that yoga is a practice and we can only do our best with where we are, and with what we have. Handstands and arm balances don’t make you happy, it’s about the journey - picking yourself up when you fall, time and time again. It’s taught me that everything changes, and it’s important we allow that to happen, as when we cling too tightly to moments and feelings, we set ourselves up for suffering (as the Buddhists say).’
‘Above all else, teaching yoga has taught me the power of love and community. And how actually that is what gets us all through: the feeling of togetherness.’
YOGA FOR ALL
Katie is passionate about yoga being for everyone. ‘It always upsets me to hear anyone think otherwise. Yoga is for everybody and every BODY. It does not matter what you can or cannot do. My fiancé has been coming to my classes for 4 years and he still can't touch his toes. We are all unique and different and it is a space where we have an opportunity to connect, to establish a better relationship with ourselves, and to live more mindfully.’
Finally, does Katie have any tips for making positive changes in your life? ‘I’m no guru and still figuring this life out myself. But, I think small baby steps in the right direction make for the best changes. You are in control of your life. Every single moment is new and we have the opportunity to start again, any time! Hobbies have always been what have saved me through challenging times, and it doesn’t have to be yoga if you don’t enjoy it. There is something for everyone out there, just find where you feel good and who makes you feel YOU, and you can’t go wrong.’
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