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Meet Kate Heffernan of Kate Heffernan Yoga in Brookline, Cambridge, Newton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Heffernan.

Kate, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
For the first 18 years of my life I wanted to be an actor, when I got to college I fell in love with education so I decided to double major in Acting and Theatre Education. I graduated from Emerson College in 2007 armed with a license to teach and years of classical acting training under my belt. Unfortunately, there weren’t any jobs in those fields that would pay my bills. So, like so many new college graduates I took a job working in an office while I figured out what to do next.

As a performer, I had always been active and in tune with my body, and sitting for 8.5 hours a day was taking a toll on me both physically and mentally. In an effort to reconnect to my body, I joined a gym and wandered into my first yoga class. I distinctly remember during that first class having the sensation of something being satiated within me. You could say, I fell hard and fast for yoga – within 6 months of that first class I enrolled in my 200 hour teacher training, 6 months later I was teaching, and only a few months later I took the leap to teaching yoga full time.

I hustled. I did everything I could to make sure I had enough money to survive. Which meant saying “yes” to subbing any and every class I physically could teach. On the side, I helped sign in yoga classes, cleaned studio floors, took on odd jobs like puppy-sitting and running errands to make ends meet, all so I could follow this passion of teaching yoga.

That was nearly 9 years ago. Thankfully, not only have I been able to make a living teaching yoga all of these years. I have also been able to create a home at a studio, Down Under School of Yoga. Down Under has helped me to create a sustainable teaching schedule, one that has at least one day off per week (a luxury I didn’t always have back in those early days!) Down Under also offers many benefits that I never dreamed of having back when I began teaching yoga, like employer sponsored health insurance for their full-time teachers, matching contributions to a 401K and sick pay. I am so grateful for those years of hustling to get where I am, I think it helps me feel even more appreciation to be where I am now.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Creating a career out of a passion can be a bit of a gamble. Especially when your passion is one that so many others share. In a competitive market, there is pressure to make yourself stand out, to be well-liked and popular.

When I first started teaching, I had many moments when I didn’t feel good enough, and like I needed to change something about myself in order to be more successful. But, I have had some great teachers and peers along the way who advised me to teach what I love, even if that wasn’t the most popular choice. I realized that if I am teaching in a way that fulfills, excites, and resonates with me, that is going to come through in my work, and that sort of authenticity is what will ultimately shine through.

Please tell us about Kate Heffernan Yoga.
I teach weekly public classes, co-lead both 200 and 500 hour teacher trainings, present workshops at festivals and offer yoga retreats. I am committed to teaching anatomical, alignment & action based yoga asana rooted in mindfulness, skillfulness, & specificity. I aim to create a welcoming, light-hearted and safe space for students to be inquisitive about themselves through the lens of yoga asana.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I could go back and do it all again, I would have started practicing yoga earlier. I only found yoga in my early-twenties and while there were many benefits to being so “green” when I began my teacher training, I do wish now that I could have started practicing and teaching earlier in my life. Like most things teaching is something that gets better the more you do it, and I am always striving to be the best teacher I can be, so starting earlier would be the one thing I would change about my story, if given the chance.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Rick Bern Photography (black shirt teaching shots)
Daniella Zankai (white shirt teaching shots)
Omar Robinson (pose shots)

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