I’m so happy to start this segment off with one of my lovely Kundalini teachers Kathryn McCusker (pictured) owner and founder of KMYOGA. I started attending this divine space KMYOGA almost a year a go. What can I say about this space? It’s simply divine, it has a peaceful energy from the moment you enter the studio and I always leave with a huge smile on my face. KMYOGA simply makes you feel at home.
I’ve been practicing Kundalini for about 9 months and I’m starting to see some huge shifts in my body and mind. I feel joy and deep happiness when I’m practicing Kundalini yoga; it lifts me up and inspires me for more good work. I find the chanting and mantras so healing. I am finally finding my voice and opening my heart, allowing my connections to be stronger and truer – free to be me at long last! Kundalini Yoga has really inspired me to be more and to be the best I can be.
I met Kathryn for the first time after attending her incredible Summer Solstice workshop in December last year. This was indeed the start of my kundalini journey! Shortly after that, I started attending early morning regular Sadhana practice on a Saturday morning and soon I became hooked.
Kathryn Radiates pure light, she is the kind of teacher I aspire to be. I have to say her teaching touches me in a very uniquely and personal way. After every class I feel so light, uplifted, strong in myself and I feel happy and at peace for some time afterwards. Kathryn is an inspiring and challenging teacher which is playing an important part in my own personal development.
I can’t wait to share her story with you today. Get ready to feel inspired!
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I was born in Western Australia and studied music and singing at University. I then won a scholarship to the Australian Opera where I spent seven years as a principal soprano. I was curious to see more of the world, so I decided to move to London where I was a freelance singer. In 2000 whilst on a retreat in Yucatan, Mexico I discovered Kundalini Yoga, and I was so inspired by my experience that I decided to do the teacher training in London and France. After eleven years of living in London and working as a singer and yoga teacher, I then moved back to Sydney in 2010 with a dream to open a yoga studio. I founded KMYOGA on 11.11.11.
Q. What does a day in your life look like?
I like to wake up by 6am and walk our labrador Stromboli. I then do my yoga and meditation for about one hour, either at home or in the park. I enjoy going to have a chai tea at our local café Bondi Massive and then I open my diary and computer and begin planning the day. This usually involves meetings, going to KMYOGA to work with my studio manager and teaching 4 days a week. Running a yoga studio, which is open 7 days week keeps me busy! I am usually at home by about 6pm (except when teaching evenings) I then go for a walk by the sea, listen to music or play the piano. I am fortunate that my husband enjoys cooking, so he usually prepares the dinner! If there is time, I watch a movie or read a book, and then it’s usually time for bed.
Q. What are some of the obstacles you have encountered on your path, and how did you push past them?
I have encountered many obstacles in my personal and professional life, however I like to see obstacles as an opportunity for growth and learning. This gives me the energy to keep going and never give up on myself, or my dreams. For example, I’ve been knocked back many times when auditioning, but having a strong sense of self, a tenacious spirit, a passion for singing and an understanding that all auditions add to my experience, I continued my journey and career as a singer.
I was clear on my vision to create a yoga studio in Sydney, however I realised I needed to be patient as it took me two years to find the right space. I set a goal of opening on 11.11.11 and I was determined to commit to that date and we made it just in time – we opened the doors as the last wooden baton was being nailed to the ceiling!
I always wanted to write a book about Kundalini and I wasn’t sure where to start (doubt was my obstacle), so I decided to commit to a daily meditation practice, which gave me the confidence to start writing. I trusted that I would somehow find a publisher and out of the blue, two years later an editor contacted me and asked if I would be interested in writing a book on Kundalini Meditation!
Q. Who and what inspires you?
I am inspired by people who are passionate about realising their dreams, people who are striving to be better human beings and want to share their gifts with the world, and those making a difference to the planet. Yogi Bhajan who brought Kundalini Yoga to the West in 1969 inspires me as does Ronni Kahn, Founder of the food rescue charity Oz Harvest. They have made a difference to people’s lives and created an awareness around selfless service and giving back to the community.
Q. How do you get balance in your life?
It’s a constant challenge, but I find more balance by practicing yoga and meditation, singing for pleasure, taking time out in nature, being creative, and spending time with family and friends.
Q. For a woman (or anyone starting their own business), what three things are most critical for them to be mindful of?
Having a clear and creative business plan, finding the right team to work with and being aware that the work never stops, so it’s important to find time for you!
Q. What is your secret indulgence?
Massage! I love to tune out and let go.
Q. What was the happiest moment in your life or career to date?
There have been many happy moments in my life, some of them have been – singing Tytania in the opera ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’, directed by Baz Luhrmann at the Edinburgh Festival, traveling to Tibet in 2004 and going to a monastery in the north where a Tibetan monk gave me his mala and prayer wheel, being asked by Watkins Publishing to write a book on Kundalini Meditation, opening the doors to KMYOGA on 11.11.11, and the first date with my husband on the Aeolian Island Salina, Sicily where we were married 2 years later!
Q. What’s your favourite quote or personal mantra to live by?
In Yogi Bhajan’s words “It’s not the life that matters, it’s the courage that you bring to it.”
Q. How do you practice self-compassion?
Reminding myself it is okay to stop working and take time out for myself.
Q. ‘Love’ means…LOVE!
Q. What’s your biggest dream?
To share the teachings of Kundalini Yoga with as many people as possible and to see the KMYOGA community growing, all while living on the island of Salina, Sicily!
Q. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
Courage, intuition and a sense of humour!
Q. If you could give advice to my readers who are either trying to find the courage to pursue their dreams or are at the beginning of their own journey, what would it be?
Never give up on your dreams even if you feel defeated. Stay true to your purpose, and work with people who believe in your dreams and share your enthusiasm. As Yogi Bhajan said ‘Keep up, and you will be kept up.’