Though the fact wasn't at the forefront of her mind for many years, music has always moved Kate Potter. "I started doing yoga when I was nine or 10 years old," Kate recalls. "My mom would get up at 5AM to practice piano and I would soon appear on the floor beside her doing these exercises... and yet if one of my many sisters called them exercises I would totally freak and say 'THESE ARE NOT EXERCISES!' I had no name for what I was doing."
Despite the piano-accompanied vinyasas of her youth, the young yoga teacher we find at the beginning of Kate's career scorned the use of music in class. She was fiercely protective of the practice, and told her students "the music is your breath." Still today, Kate enjoys the way the breathing of a class aligns. "You know that the [students] that have trouble breathing are taking strength from the ones that are good at breathing. And you know that the ones that are good at breathing are starting to feel more than just their own breath. They're starting to feel the earth and the sky and the energy... I never get tired of that as a teacher."
It was Kate's severe bout with spinal meningitis that sparked a change in her thinking. Realizing she had much work to do to recover, Kate decided to try playing guitar to help restore her mind and body. "I jumped into music and found out I had a real proclivity for it," Kate recalls. Fortunately for Kate, long-time friends and yoga students Billy and Dodee Crockett, owners of Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio in Central Texas, have provided much inspiration and instruction to assist Kate in her new ventures. Naturally, yoga found its way into Kate's music. Her new passion for guitar showed her how musicians could really benefit from yoga. Kate's new "Yoga for Musicians" series on Namaste TV is sure to help with tightness and asymmetry that comes not just from playing musical instruments, but also from being hunched over while doing any other task.
Whenever possible, Kate's yoga classes are accompanied by another friend: cellist Dirje Childs. Kate is exuberant over her collaboration with Dirje, a mental health worker with an instinct for singing yoga through her cello. "She completes my circuit," Kate explains. "This is a true collaboration. Through Dirje, I'm experiencing music at a very high level." The duo launched a Kickstarter campaign, in hopes of creating a mediation CD. The project began in April, and work continues to bring it to completion. Says Kate; "I can't believe I made a record at my favorite place in the world!" To be part of Kate and Dirje's journey, and preview their collaboration, be sure to visit:
The intent is to have the CD available by June 17. This would make it available to those participating in Wanderlust Yoga Festivals in Toronto and Calgary, where Kate will also be teaching. As she has long said, "the heart has boundless energy for things that match."
"We were in the sound studio, crying," Kate recalls of her work at Blue Rock with Dirje. "I can't believe what we just did! We were tired, working hard, and still working. With any creative process, I believe one must sometimes rattle the cage of the heart."
BE sure to check back with Namaste Journal for Part 2 of our interview with Kate Potter.