Catherine was Rowena's yoga teacher at Yoga Flow in Pittsburgh, PA where Rowena discovered yoga during recovery from chronic pain and inflammation. What made Catherine a great teacher was her ability to provide clear verbal cues, zero mysticism, and physical assists which were not about the vanity of a pose, but about finding breath and relieving strain. After Catherine and Rowena moved from Pittsburgh, they lost touch but found each other years later thanks to the rise of social media giant: Instagram. One of the most meaningful readings Catherine gave during a class that led to my first yoga book purchase and study was:
"For many of us, our yoga teacher fulfills the role of steadfast advocate as we take risks and try new behaviors on the mat. In time, however, we must begin to be able to do this for ourselves. We must learn to trust that if we fall out of a balancing posture, rest during a vigorous class, or take a day off when we are tired, we will not lose our own respect or affection. Many of us expect more of ourselves than we would ever ask of anyone else. We simply cannot live up to our potential unless we are willing to live boldly and take adaptive risks...We must know that at the end of the day there will be a home to return to, where we will be loved for our hearts as well as our deeds. We must be steadfast in our love and respect for ourselves, both when we soar and when we stumble."
- R. Gates & K. Kenison, Meditations from the Mat