If you haven’t quite found your fitness niche yet in the new year, maybe it’s time to look at yoga. Praised for its benefits ranging from fitness and weight loss to disease management and stress reduction, this ancient practice has become quite mainstream in the US over the past few years. “Yoga slows you down, keeps me calm,” Kathryn Budig told us, one of the brightest stars in the yoga community today.
More and more yoga studios are popping up in towns across the country, and a growing library of yoga DVDs from true experts are making the practice more accessible than ever. Kathryn Budig’s name can be found on both of these.
Originally from Kansas, and not quite 30, Budig is making quite an impression on the yoga industry. Now calling Santa Monica home, where her yoga studio is located, she’s steadfastly creating a growing yoga brand that shows just how open and fun the practice can be. She was even recently praised by Forbes Magazine’s Stephanie Taylor Christensen in a feature article that focused on her business acumen and less on her eye-catching yoga poses. Christensen called her “a savvy business woman who has built an enviable career that encompasses the goals that many strive for– but struggle to achieve: Getting paid for your passion, traveling, giving back to others, and keeping the mind and body healthy.”
Watch our interview to see why we named her as one of the Fitness Stars to Watch in 2012 at Yahoo. You’ll learn more about Budig, including the major projects she has in the works this year with Gaiam, Rodale, and ToeSox, and what she calls the biggest trends in yoga this year.
If you follow yoga closely, then you probably know Budig from her ads for ToeSox, in which she is photographed wearing only their product on her feet while holding intriguing yoga positions. The partnership with ToeSox is just one of her many ventures, and she sounds like she’d be bored without each and every one of them. “I have my hands in 10 cookie jars at once,” she told us. Although, she says yoga has taught her that “everything comes as it should and to do my best every day.” She calls going beyond your best unhealthy, and it’s here that she maintains balance by taking just one day at a time.
While she remains quite focused to what’s in front of her, it’s clear her schedule is planned out far beyond that of most people. This spring, Budig will travel to both Maui and New Zealand to host yoga retreats. She’s producing a new yoga DVD with Gaiam. And, she’s quickly approaching deadline for The Big Book of Yoga, which will publish through Rodale in December 2012. She says the book is “Big! Massive!” and is calling it an encyclopedia of yoga. “It’s been amazing to write,” she remarked about the project.
Beyond her work exclusively with the yoga community is her non-profit Poses for Paws. Each year they choose an organization that is doing great works to protect animals and work with them to promote their cause by raising awareness and funds. In 2012, that organization is the Beagle Freedom Project. Budig has to stop her explanation short to avoid crying, but makes it clear this is one area of her life that she’s truly passionate about. If the emotional description of her project wasn’t evidence enough, the cuddly on-camera introduction to her pup was.
For someone as busy, popular, and in-demand as Budig is, there was a striking calmness about her, no doubt a direct benefit of her yoga practice. It’s something she says anyone can adopt, especially thanks to the varied styles and experience levels, with classes ranging from gentle hatha style to a more intense vinyasa flow. When you’re practicing yoga, she says there’s a “contagious feeling in the room.”
If being as calm, beautiful, collected and healthy as Budig appears to be, what more encouragement do you need to seek the start of your own yoga practice?
Visit Kathryn Budig online
Images via Jasper Joha and Stephen Ziegler