Kate Mayefske wants you to take a good look at your feet. “Feet can be really sexy! We should appreciate their strength, their flexibility, the rebound that our arches offer us.” When was the last time any of us admired the foundation of our body or even really thought about them? Take this opportunity to focus on your toes, arches, ankles, and lower legs and do something good for them at the Dubuque Yoga & Oneness Festival in her workshop “Flexible Foundations in the Feet,” on Saturday, April 28th.
“Ok, so the feet may not be sexy but they are certainly worth attention!” And Kate should know. With professional training in mastering movement arts, Kate graduated from The Juilliard School in New York City with a degree in dance. She studied varied dance styles ranging from ballet to modern and ballroom; worked with contemporary choreographers; and trained with Ideokinesis specialist Irene Dowd. While in New York, Kate began practicing yoga.
Over the last decade, she has both studied and taught various forms of yoga -- Ashtanga, Iyengar, Viniyoga, Alignment Yoga and Yoga Therapy. As a 500-hour certified yoga instructor, Kate teaches yoga and dance to people of all ages.
"I feel that my training as a dancer and my training at Julliard are a part of how I teach whether it's dance or yoga, because I teach with attention to alignment and movement efficiency."
So how did her workshop come about? “As a dancer, I love feet. It was only through my yoga practice that I finally understood what it was like to ‘stand on your legs.’ There’s this phrase in dance that you need to ‘be on your leg’ you need to ‘find your leg.’ That’s specifically for balances or turns because you want to be on top of things. It was through practicing yoga that it finally made sense to me kinesthetically. I knew what teachers were trying to get to-the sense of your foot, your lower leg bone, and your femur all working together in alignment that supports your upper body. So, for this workshop I decided to go back to the basics and really focus on the foundation.”
“I feel like my training as a dancer and my training at Julliard are a part of how I teach whether it’s dance or yoga, because I teach with attention to alignment and movement efficiency.” Kate explains that the dance teachers at Julliard were all about finding descriptive words or images that would resonate with different students because everyone learns in different ways, a tool that many of Kate's students find in her teaching as well. “A yoga student told me my voice has a musicality or rhythm about it. I find that the attention to rhythm comes from my dance background. And finding a flow in your movement that is musical, organic and flowing.”
Kate says she is “very much a blend of the different trainings” she has had from the Yoga Works style of Viniyoga, Ashtanga, Iyengar all combined. She most recently studied with Scott Anderson in Alignment Yoga in the Madison area. That focus is more on Yoga Therapy and his style tends to be slower moving, with attention to alignment and the therapeutic benefits of yoga. Kate believes her classes have evolved to much more of a slow flow. Working with Anderson reinforced her understanding of being mindful of the purpose of the feet for support and for flexibility. Arches of our feet whether listed or fallen can affect our legs and hips and everything above if we’re not aware of how we’re using them or ignoring them completely when we spend so much time on them every day.
Adding to her movement and alignment expertise, Kate has trained in Ideokenisis – a style of movement exploration and mindful movement. It’s a way to visualize your body, to move more efficiently, with less stress, less effort, more harmoniously. This awareness and training also comes into play in Kate’s teaching.
Currently living in Madison with her husband and two young children, Kate teaches jazz and ballet and presents yoga workshops. While teaching modern ballet at the University of Wisconsin, Madison she developed a class of her own making which incorporates yoga and dance called Moving in the Female Body which she has also presented as a workshop.
Madison area yogis can find Kate Mayefske teaching a benefit class for the Alzheimer Association on June 21st from 5:30-6:30pm at the Monona Yoga Center. This class is in honor of brain health awareness month and will focus on 6th Chakra poses for clarity, mindfulness and well-being.
Register for Kate’s workshop here. To read her full bio click here. To find the Dubuque Yoga & Oneness full schedule click here.
Karen Kramer is a yoga instructor and festival blogger.