After attending a weekend yoga retreat at the Himalayan Institute in 1995, Luke Ketterhagen realized its environment fulfilled what he had been searching for: a physical challenge for an avid athlete, intellectual stimulation for a philosophically minded person, a sustainable practice geared toward a health-conscious person, and a connection with like-minded people. He returned there in 1999 at the age of 23 to do the 200-hour yoga teacher training and went back for his 500-hour training in 2013.
Today, Luke specializes in hatha yoga, meditation, and nutrition, offering a range of practices for people who are seeking to find more balance in their lives. In addition to teaching retreats and certification programs at the Himalayan Institute, he also conducts weekend workshops nationally and internationally, teaches classes here on Yoga International, and has opened yoga studios and launched programs at centers in California, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Luke draws ongoing purpose from his teaching, the Himalayan Institute, and from his family. He says, “My wife of 19 years shows me each and every day how to be a better man, and my 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter inspire clearer communication. They give me hope for a future of wholeness, greater clarity, and love in all aspects of my life.”
A daily inspiration for Luke is making chai. He loves the warm, comforting, tasty, and nourishing qualities of the drink. “I really enjoy chai as a way to start the morning. It’s a ritual for me,” he explains. “I chant traditionalsuktas and mantras as I peel and grate the ginger, boil the water, and add the tea leaves and other ingredients. A day begins and a new adventure is underway.
I really put a lot of love into food in general. How we cook for ourselves and our family is one of the most important ways we can express love. Too often we as a society have undervalued the importance and practice of home-cooked, love-infused food.”
Want to learn more about Luke and what you can expect from his classes on YI? Read on below where we ask him the four questions we ask all of our featured teachers!
What yoga style, tradition, and/or lineage are you a part of (if any)?
I'm a yoga teacher in the Himalayan Tradition which dates back several thousands of years and whose current spiritual head is my teacher, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. I lived in residence for seven years at the Himalayan Institute, studying and learning the all-encompassing elements of yoga—how to practice, live, and share its timeless wisdom.
What can I expect from your classes on YI?
You can expect practices that will guide you through a full experience of grounding, centering, breathing, movement, held postures, and relaxation. The underlying theme of every class is balance and how to create more of it in body, breath, energy, mind, and ultimately, life.
What’s on your mind these days yoga-wise?
Helping people bring more balance into their lives. We are very busy, very directed, very focused on the world, on trends, on success, and how to do more in less time, but often we fail to see the importance of taking time out for our own well-being. I don’t mean “do a class,” that’s the check-another-box philosophy, but rather to take the time to be present in our current daily reality so we can make real choices about where we go and what we do. Otherwise we will simply be a product of our emotional and, in many cases, stressful past.
What do you like to do outside of yoga?
As I mentioned earlier, I love to cook. I’m having fun learning about a new Instapot we just got and playing with soup recipes for the winter months.
Photography: Andrea Killam