THE YOGA TEACHER ON THE WILD THINGS SHE'S DONE FOR WELLNESS + WHAT IT'S LIKE TO RECORD A PODCAST WITH YOUR WIFE
Kathryn Budig’s story is filled with as many twists and turns as one of her Yogaglo classes. Raised in Kansas and New Jersey, she attended The University of Virginia where she earned a double degree in English Literature and Drama. After graduating, while pursuing an acting career in Los Angeles, she started teaching at Yogaworks to help pay the rent. While she didn’t warm to Tinseltown, she fell in love with the practice and teaching it to others. “Yoga has a way of doing that,” says Budig. “It’s a lifestyle; not just a job title.”
She moved to Florida and then to Charleston with her now ex-husband. It was then as Budig puts it, “life and chaos ensued.” Budig divorced, moved to Brooklyn to let the dust settle, then returned to Charleston with her now wife, Kate Fagan. After relaying the topsy-turvy journey, Budig sums it up wisely, “Life is unexpected but certainly never boring.”
Today, Budig is a celebrated yoga teacher, author of Aim True, and co-host of the podcast, Free Cookies, an outlet for Budig and Fagan’s conversations filled with humor and insight. To celebrate her new capsule collection for KiraGrace, Budig sat down with us to talk about the power of movement, eating for joy, and what she says is the ultimate measure of success.
What do you want to say about the power of movement in your book, Aim True?
The book is my life philosophy inspired by the Greek goddess Artemis. It focuses on all the different genres of our life where we can aim true—how we think (meditation), move (yoga), eat (recipes), and through daily interactions (anecdotes). It’s a philosophy that’s worked wonders for me and my students, and I want to compile it into one neat place where people could consume it and translate it for their own lives.
Can you share how you reshaped the way you view food?
I love to eat. Seriously. My entire day is built around where my next meal is coming from, and how I can create something nurturing and delicious. I’ve also worked in the wellness world for over 15 years. I’ve seen how easy it is to get caught up in the external expectation of what a ‘fit’ body looks like and all the things one needs to do to achieve that. I want to be the voice of reason—to help people stay healthy while embracing one of the greatest joys of human existence—eating!
How do you describe your relationship with your body 10 years ago vs today?
It’s been and continues to be a complicated ride. I have days where I love my body and days where I despise it. It’s a constant mental tango. I do the daily work to dig myself out of the self-deprecating ticker tape that’s so easy to fall into. I’m constantly reminding myself that I’m a meat suit...my comedic interpretation of the physical anatomy and am animated by spirit. I am here to nurture that spirit daily. I remind myself daily to check in on how I feel. Do I feel strong? Healthy? Able? These are the aspects that matter. If I’m feeling good, then whatever my meat suit looks like that day must be damn good. Even if I’ve told myself it isn’t enough. Focus on how it feels instead of how it looks.
We're always evolving; what is yoga helping you work through right now?
A land without answers. The past few years of my life have been rife with transitions and I’m not fully through it yet. Yoga is more mental than physical these days. It gives me the power to be patient, notice the things that light me up, and the courage to walk towards them—even if that means walking away from safety.
What are some of the wild things you've done in the name of wellness?
Brushing my teeth with charcoal—I look like a little monster and it’s a mess! Also, traveling with crystals, burning sage in hotel rooms, and rolling my eyes with Jade. In Charleston, the wellness world is growing. I’m excited about Sarah Frick’s new studio, The Works and I frequent Method, Pure Barre, and local martial arts studios. I’ve tried almost all the different ways of eating—paleo, vegan, grain-free, veggie, etc...Nothing too wild, but I have been open to it all!
She’s simply the smartest human I know, so it seemed only natural to do something with her. We’re constantly discussing a range of topics, and often making each other laugh, so we thought a podcast would be the perfect medium to blend our desire for knowledge and levity. It’s been an amazing ride (and bumpy—working with the love of your life is amazing and draining), and we’re stepping into a new chapter with the podcast, so stay tuned!
Can you share with us what the idea of legacy means to you?
Legacy used to be so wildly important to me because I always linked happiness to success. If I achieved more and became greater, then I would be happier. I’ve since realized that they’re not always connected and that happiness—in its pure form, whatever that means to me—should always be my goal. If I can help people remember how to be true to themselves and what actually brings them peace and happiness, then I’ll feel good about my impact in this world.