Kathryn Templeton’s movement journey began with dance. “I always danced: tap, ballet, modern, and so on. Perhaps it’s hard for those who know me to believe, but I’m an introverted extrovert. As a child, dance allowed me to express myself when words seemed to fall short,” she says.
Later in life, Kathryn discovered yoga and the desire to bring comfort to others through the practice. “It was something that I started as a way to stretch after a run or do as a fun exercise, and then it became my lifeline, a path home to myself," she explains. "I had lost my way, was submerged in grief and terrified about the changes that were knocking on my door. The simplicity of moving my body in a dance with my breath allowed me a path back home and a reminder that I am not in this [life] alone.”
As a psychotherapist, yoga therapist, and teacher of ayurveda, Kathryn has devoted her life to the health of others. She is a master teacher in the field of drama therapy and continues to work both clinically and as an educator specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and complex trauma.
As a certified yoga therapist, NAMA-registered ayurvedic practitioner, and senior ParaYoga teacher, Kathryn has worked to develop specialized treatments integrating the principles of yoga, ayurveda, and clinical psychology. She is a faculty member at the Himalayan Institute and the founder of the Himalayan Institute Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist program, the Torchbearer Mentorship program, Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist Grad School, and The Three Wisdom Traditions program, which integrates yoga, ayurveda, and psychology. She is also an adjunct professor of human development and general psychology, a contributing writer and educator for Yoga International, and a Banyan Botanicals ambassador.
We interviewed Kathryn, asking her the four questions we ask all of our featured teachers, so that you can get to know her and learn more about what to expect from her classes on YI.
What yoga style, tradition, and/or lineage are you a part of (if any)?
I was first exposed to ayurvedic medicine during my psychology post-graduate internship at The National Center for PTSD at the West Haven, Connecticut, VA Hospital in 1991. I stumbled upon an ayurvedic practice called abhyanga (oil massage), and my journey into ayurveda began.
At that time, it was challenging to find formal ayurvedic education in the U.S., especially on the East Coast, so I traveled to New Mexico to take seminars with Dr. Vasant Lad and worked through a home study course with Dr. David Frawley. Fifteen years ago Kripalu started its Ayurvedic Practitioner Program, where I was blessed to study with Dr. Lad and Dr. Frawley again, as well as many other esteemed teachers: Dr. Robert Svoboda, Dr. Claudia Welch, Dr. John Douillard, Dr. Shekhar Annambhotla, Drs. Bharati and Avinash Lele, and Dr. Rosy Mann. After two years of study I became an ayurvedic practitioner.
In 2001, my life took a radical turn after I began practicing yoga with Rod Stryker. He introduced me to the connection between yoga and ayurveda and the Himalayan Institute, where I became a member of the teaching faculty in 2009. So I suppose my yoga lineage is ParaYoga [which was founded by Stryker], yet Rod’s work is seated in the Sri Vidya tradition of the Himalayan Masters, and the home of that tradition is in the United States at the Himalayan Institute.
What can I expect from your classes on YI?
Yoga students and teachers can expect to get pragmatic support from my classes. The topics range from yoga for dosha balancing to specific interventions for menopause support, managing grief, anxiety, and fatigue, and more. I’ve worked as a trauma therapist for three decades, and my intention is to help people both enjoy their practice and maximize the wellness support I can offer them.
What’s on your mind these days yoga-wise?
In my "KT crystal ball," I see the yoga community as a wholehearted resource for individuals to find connection. As we are creatures of social engagement, being disconnected—that sensation—creates a neurological pulse that says we are “in danger.” Social media is a great example of how we like to connect! Yet connecting, truly experiencing connection, is a bodily felt sensation that we can only explore in real time: in yoga classes, retreats, and in like-minded community projects. In the 3 Wisdom Traditions Wellness Coaching programs I created, I teach people how to develop small group practices, like a group therapy session but with a wellness focus.
I feel the future of yoga studios lies in these kinds of small group practices, where people can explore specific topics, build deeper connections to themselves and with others, and learn systematic approaches to wellness.
What do you like to do outside of yoga?
I love being at home with my family, friends, and dogs. For me, there is much truth in the old saying, “Home is where the heart is.” When I am home in Connecticut, I like to hang out at the beach, taking long walks with my pals, and cook with my son Webb. I also like to visit my daughter Roz in NYC, and to get lost exploring her city with her. And I like visiting Boston where my son Jack lives—and where you’ll find us eating the best Italian delights in the North End and doing “mom-stuff.”
Find out more about Kathryn and try one of her classes on YI: Choose from her wide range of offerings (yoga, ayurveda, menopause and grief practices, pranayama, and more)!