Teacher Spotlight: Catherine Zack

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Meet Catherine! A yogi, teacher, & mother, Catherine is such a joyful presence at Flow. Read on about her below. :)

What is your current practice like and how does it fit into your daily routine?

My daily yoga practice is my rock & reference point. It's where I come to check in everyday & reconnect with myself. It's not complicated or fancy or particularly long. It's simple & steady enough that I can come back to it everyday. One of the *best* things about any daily yoga practice is that it can grow & shift as you do. Right now, I'm the mama to an energetic toddler & I have a full workload of teaching, seeing private clients, designing workshops, and leading Flow's teacher training programs. What I need most is something consistent, that I can count on to help calm my mind, focus my attention, and get me centered. Right now, my daily practice consists of two non-negotiable practices: a short daily writing practice & do an 11-minute Kundalini Meditation. A few times a week I do some simple yoga poses to get my back, hamstrings, hips, shoulders, & neck feeling good.

After 17 years of practicing yoga & meditation, I'm not really interested in practicing to get better at yoga (like doing the fancy, Instagram-worthy poses!). I practice yoga & meditation to get better at my life! I 100% believe that the tools yoga & meditation gives us can help us wake up to our life and show up more fully for ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and our work.

What inspires you to practice at Flow?

I still remember the feeling I got in my first yoga class at Flow. It was a Tuesday in August in 2010. I was about to move to DC from Philly for a new job & I was in town for the day apartment hunting. I knew nothing about DC, I knew less than 5 people, and I was seeking not only a place to live, but also a sense of community. As soon as I walked in the doors of Flow, ascended the stairs, caught the way the late afternoon summer light poured through the windows, and felt the warmth of the walls in the small room Shakti (12 yogis nice & cozy, practicing side-by-side on a hot summer day!), I felt welcomed home. I couldn't have even imagined then what now, 8 years later, I have found at Flow. It's where I met my husband. It's where I did my Yoga Teacher Training & where I get to do the work I love everyday: teaching yoga & meditation to DC's vibrant & compassionate community of yogis.

Not only does Flow feel more than ever like home, I feel lucky to count the Flow family as my family too :)

What was your first yoga experience like?

I started practicing in high school - not intentionally, more like by accident. I have three distinct early memories of yoga. First, peeking though Iyengar's Light on Yoga book at the Barnes & Noble and being absolutely fascinated by the wild-looking yoga poses, but not really having a reference point for what yoga was. This was almost 20 years ago, when yoga was still an underground, not so mainstream practice. I also remember practicing yoga in high school gym class - opting to watch a yoga VHS tape on a fuzzy TV instead of playing yet another game of kickball! And I also remember borrowing early Gaiam Yoga VHS tapes of Rodney Yee, Seane Corn, and Patricia Walden from my friend's mom. I practiced with those tapes & eventually DVDs for years before stepping into my first official yoga class in 2007.

Who are some of your most influential teachers?

I feel so lucky to have gotten the chance to practice with some truly transcendent yoga teachers: Shiva Rea, Dharma Mittra, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Elena Brower -- teachers who have devoted their life & life's work to the study, practice, and teaching of yoga. Each of them have made deep imprints on how I practice & offer yoga to my students each day. I'm also overjoyed to have spent thousands of hours practicing with teachers who walk the walk everyday (& many of whom are right here at Flow!): Simon Park, Sam Breschi, Shawn Parell, Greg Marzullo, Jess Lazar, Debra Mishalove.

And finally, my ultimate everyday teachers, off the yoga mat, are my husband Sam (who is also my teacher on the mat!) & our son Louis. They are my mirrors for self-study & growth, they are my inspiration, and being wife & mama to them is a daily devotional practice I am so grateful for.

What is something the Flow community may not know about you?

Every Friday night is pizza night in our house. We make dough from scratch in the morning & it's something we look forward to each week. Making pizza every week is kind of like practicing yoga -- a lifetime of chances to come back to something you love, without really worrying about whether it's perfect!

Anything else you would like to share?

One of my favorite ways to share the yoga I love is in the Teacher Training setting. Taking teacher training myself was one of the most transformative experiences of my life -- in fact it was the pivot point from the path I had been on that, while successful on the outside, was draining & wearing me down on the outside.