On May 12th, the Berlin Yoga Conference will be hosting a Pop Up Yoga Conference at Dock 11 in Berlin. The first Pop Up will be a full day of yoga, music, meditation, community bonding time, and much more!

Stuttgart yoga teacher Andrea Sauter will be leading a Katonah Yoga workshop at the Pop Up, and we sat down with her to discuss the basics of Katonah Yoga, and why she thinks yoga is like brushing your teeth.

An Interview with Andrea Sauter

Photo Courtesy Of: Andrea Sauter

Q: How is Katonah Yoga different from say, Vinyasa Yoga?

A: Vinyasa in the narrower sense of the word simply means, “putting things into the right place.” And Katonah Yoga does exactly that. But I assume you mean the yoga style with music and a choreography.

Katonah Yoga is a fundamentally formal and pragmatic Hatha yoga practice. Regular classes are a communal experience. Students all face the center of the room, and experienced students will often help those just getting introduced to the material.

Often, we may pause to deepen the exploration of a particular asana, break down a nugget of theory, or look more closely at someone’s twingey shoulder or collapsed elbow. This workshop style creates an environment for each student to refine personal skills by playing in an orchestra, measuring up, and learning from one another. This collegial setting facilitates a more dynamic group atmosphere than a traditional yoga class – part of developing personal integrity is knowing how to participate in a communal and universal vision.

Q: What is the main focus of Katonah Yoga?

A: Katonah Yoga uses the practice to broaden the mind and develop the imagination. We practice yoga to alter our psychology by reorganizing and reinforming our physiology. The goal of the practice is to become whole, in order to live a life of integrity and happiness.

Q: How did you get started with Katonah Yoga? What did you practice before?

A: I joined a workshop with David Regelin, one of the Katonah Yoga teachers back in 2012. His approach to biomechanics, using archetypes of forms and the beauty of geometry in connection to the human body, resonated with me. As a result, in April 2013, I joined his 75-hour Teacher Training in New York City, alongside his own teacher Nevine Michaan, Abbie Galvin, Alex Auder, and Chris Chen. Since then, I continued to study with my foremost teacher, Nevine Michaan, and her friend Abbie Galvin on a regular basis.

My yoga journey started with a Vinyasa yoga style called Inside Yoga and Jivamukti yoga. I loved the dance on the mat, the choreography, and the music back then. However, a severe accident forced me to change my approach. Luckily Katonah Yoga crossed my path.

Q: What does yoga, and Katonah in particular, mean to you?

A: Haha, that’s a good question and normally I answer, “It’s like brushing your teeth. It’s part of my life. I can’t imagine going out of the house without a practice.” Katonah Yoga was a game changer for me. Finally I found some answers no one ever before could provide to satisfy my curiosity.

Q: Why should someone start practicing Katonah Yoga? What are the benefits?

A: Yoga engages our body in a physical debate between forms that are personal, habitual, and largely unconscious, and forms that are archetypal, measured, and conscious. By reforming our body’s unconscious habits and introducing more informed and efficient patterns, yoga becomes origami for the body.

In this way this practice sets up conditions for greater self-knowledge and a more expansive vision, which leads to personal change. Most of us want a change so badly when we start a yoga practice. For some it’s solely about physics and learning techniques to get a better understanding of the forms, which is totally legit. For others it’s the eye-opening, simple, yet so complex truth that, “Yoga is powerful.”

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, Andrea, and we can’t wait to practice with you on May 12th!