Tangram Wellness is incredibly excited to welcome Katheryn Meadows on board, who will be heading up yoga classes, sessions and workshops in the Forrest, Hatha and Vinyasa traditions, with a modern take specifically tailored for women in Singapore. Katheryn's an Advanced Forrest Yoga teacher (only one of two in Singapore!) and a certified Yoga Instructor. It's a particularly special and serendipitous announcement, since Katheryn was also a longtime client of mine and transitioned into yoga while we were working together. I am grateful and proud to call her a teammate now and look forward to watching her journey with Tangram unfold. I threw Katheryn some questions to help you get to know her better.
1. After nearly a decade of living in Asia, few things must surprise you by now. What are you still getting used to about living on this side of the world? What do you love most about it?
My expat journey has been a blessing and I am proud to have called Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and now Singapore my home for nearly 10 years! The hardest thing about expat life is being far from loved ones. The ONLY thing I miss about the United States is the people. Being a 24 hour flight away from family is tough. Especially when that 24 hour flight involves two babies!
Paradoxically, my favourite part of living in Asia is also the people. You meet people from all corners of the world and form a sisterhood with other expat women. Plus my Singaporean yogi friends are some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever met!
2. You're passionate about helping women move beyond their identity as a trailing spouse, leading them back to their true selves through yoga. Tell me a little bit about your personal experience with this.
Becoming a "trailing spouse" was challenging. Leaving behind everything that defines you externally - family, job, friends - and stepping into the unknown is scary and overwhelming. However, you have a choice: you can sit at home, write sad emails to your mom, and wallow in feeling like an outsider OR you can take a brave step into finding your true self. Let’s face it - all of the external things that defined you (for better or worse) are thousands of miles away. Take advantage of this opportunity to be anonymous and get to know your authentic self. Yoga helped me tremendously with this.
Yoga allows you to quiet your busy mind and listen to that little voice inside you that can lead you to your passion. At the very least, you’ll get a great workout, some fresh air and might meet some new friends! The possibilities are endless.
3. Ok, two babies under two is more than a full-time job. How do you find time to work on your yoga practice, stay fit, and find a bit of peace in your life?
Having two under two is hard. Both babies required so much emotional nurturing and physical support that it can feel impossible. But I’m no superwoman! There are days when I struggle terribly - we all do! Even if it looks flawless on the outside, we are all human.
I have three helpful hints:
First, realise that you can’t take care of anyone unless you first take care of yourself. Mothers have endless compassion towards their children, but that same unconditional love applied inwards benefits the entire family. If mom loves herself unconditionally, she can be forgiving of herself and others. If she constantly berates herself, she becomes her own worst enemy. So moms, give yourself a break!
Secondly, once you realise that you are worthy of self care, start taking care of yourself. Get your nails done, hit the gym or come to a yoga class! Give yourself permission to do something just for you without apologies.
Finally, develop and nurture your community. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Find like minded women who you can rely on and then be present for them. Lean on your support system! And be there when they need someone to lean on.
4. Tell me about your overall approach to yoga- your philosophy. Is it about looking cute in yoga pants, a spiritual journey, or what?
I do love yoga pants! But looking at yoga through the lens of activewear is like only driving a Ferrari in first gear. There is SO MUCH more to yoga than just the physical.
Yoga gave me the opportunity to fall back in love with my life. It helped me realise that I don’t need to rely on my circumstances to be happy. I’m happy simply because I am grateful and I’m grateful because I’m happy (it’s a victorious cycle). Yoga won’t change your kids diapers or do your laundry, but if you go into it with an open mind and heart, it can make dirty diapers and piles of laundry feel more manageable.
5. What drew you to Ana Forrest and Forrest Yoga?
I was a bit skeptical when Aimee recommended that I read Ana Forrest’s book Fierce Medicine. Superficially, Ana Forrest and I couldn’t be more different - she is a survivor of drug/alcohol addictions, bulimia and childhood abuse. I’m a “normal” gal with a nice family who grew up in the suburbs of New York. But I was immediately mesmerised by her strength and intelligence. She designed Forrest Yoga to reach our core and touch our spirit. Training with her was an experience that I’ll treasure forever.
Everyone has problems - we might not all be alcoholic bulimics, but we all have our demons. We put up shields to protect ourselves. Forrest Yoga gave me the intelligence to identify my demons, the strength to let down my shields, and the wisdom to move on. It changes your life in a way that no other yoga practice can.
6. Onto other important things- food! What's your favorite Singaporean dish? Favorite restaurant?
I am not a foodie! I know, it’s shameful in the age of Instagram food porn, but it’s just not my thing. I constantly struggle to increase my caloric intake and see amazing results when I prioritize nutrition over convenience!
My favourite Singaporean dish is beef rendang - it’s become a comfort food for me over the years.
We don’t eat out much - I am fortunate to have a helper whose dream man is Jaime Oliver (not even kidding). She is a fantastic cook, which is perfect because I am a terrible one. I do love Real Foods for its delicious organic cuisine and brunch at Open Farm Community.
7. What's one dream you're currently working toward?
The truth (as incredibly cheesy as it sounds) is that I am living my dream right now. I am surrounded by incredible people, I get to do something I love everyday and I’m working with some of the most inspiring women on the island. Nothing is perfect, and the year of the monkey has been mischievous, but I’m #livingthedream!
If you need a more substantial answer to this, then my dream is to be Beyonce.
8. Tell me about your top retreat pick for yoga and R&R.
You can’t go wrong with Yoga Barn in Bali! There’s a huge variety of classes suited for every level and their evening Tibetan Sound Bowl meditation will change your life. The teachers are so down to earth and always up for a chat before or after class. And the vibe is a mix between the bustle of Ubud and the serenity of the surrounding rice paddies. Heaven!
9. What's your wisdom for someone new to yoga?
My greatest advice to beginners is that we have all been there!!! Everyone has fallen and mixed up their right and left. The Instagram-ification of yoga tricks people into believing that these celebs were born in peacock pose. It doesn’t show their years of dedication and stumbles (nor does it show the moment before and after the click of the camera).
I also want beginners to realise that down-leveling a pose is such a courageous choice! There’s no shame in being self aware and not pushing your body just because your neighbours are. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t challenge yourself, just know that down-levelling is always there for you if you need it.
10. Which yogis do you Instagram stalk?
Instagram is a fun way to energize your yoga practice and inspires me to get out my mat and move! Two Singaporean yoginis that I’m honoured to call friends IRL (in real life) are my beloved Hana (@hanadoesyoga) and Ruth (@pinkchampagne13). Not only are they amazingly talented, but they are two of the sweetest gals in Singapore.
Jambo Truong (@jambodragon) is a personal hero and a Forrest Yoga Guardian whom I’ve had the honour to work with personally. Patrick Beach (@patrickbeach) is a defier of the actual laws of gravity. Also Laruga (@larugayoga) is an Ashtangi, but her poses and flows are just so effortless and light!
Thanks, Katheryn and again, welcome on board! Private sessions with Katheryn can be booked now through our contact page, and classes will begin on March 7th. For the class schedule, check out the Yoga page or book through the MindBody app.