In this interview, I talk to my dear friend Cate Peterson, one of the most respected leaders in the Yoga community in Australia. She has been a Japanese Yoga Teacher since 1994, teaching workshops and conferences in various yoga teaching disciplines. For more than three decades, she has been a yoga teacher, meditator, mentor and activist. She uses yoga as a tool to help people to become more mindful and managing their mental and physical well-being.
From providing classes to organizations and individuals, she then developed the YogaPass which was very successful in spreading yoga in Australia, and eventually, it has evolved to YogaHive. It fuels GetOffYourAsana; an organization that builds a bridge between yogis and activists to bring about a better world and focuses on greening the scene through another platform called LoveEarth.
Cate also ran the inaugural World Day of Yoga in 2015 at Bondi Beach and in 2016 at both Bondi and Sydney Opera House.
I see that in a way, she is using Yoga as a tool to connect people, perhaps first more individually, for instance, to become more mindful with their body and emotional wellbeing, but then it becomes a way to connect with like-minded people collectively. This also ultimately unite people to look after our environment more holistically.
She is such an inspiration and her journey as an activist advocating positive change is really worth learning from. In our conversation, we spoke about what has been changed since she started her heroine journey nearly 30 years ago and what continues to drive her and lead her to keep moving forward.
You connect with Cate via her various organizations with the links above, or you can also connect with Cate via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CatePetersonYoga
You can listen to our interview via my podcast player above or iTunes or any major podcast catchers. You can also watch the video below:
Sze Wing: Hi. Welcome to this week’s interview, and today I’ve got Cate Peterson with me. And as I was just chatting with Cate a minute ago that it’s impossible to do a short introduction, but I will try because Cate has been doing so much amazing work in the last three decades. And also, your work is evolving so much, so I will try my best to do a very short run down, then we’re going to talk through what you’re doing and the message and the things that you’re advocating and really care about. Sounds good?
Cate: That sounds great. I think it’s just that I’m so old, that’s why I’ve done so much.
Sze Wing: No. Not at all. I’m sure people could have spent three decades not having all this experience, and evolved to the way that you have let your work because none of that seems easy. Anyway, let’s all hold our horses. Let me start with a very short outline with what I gathered. First of all you were trained as a Japanese yoga teacher since 1994. You have been teaching workshops and conferences and various yoga teaching disciplines and so for more than three decades you have been a yoga teacher, meditator, mentor and may I add activist because I think you really championed a lot of things. So I would say you’re such an activist in what you do.
Sze Wing: And primarily I see you using yoga as a tool to help people and the way I look at it, it’s very much using yoga as a tool or engine to connect people first to their body perhaps more individually to be more mindful and care about their well being but also collectively as a way to remind people to look after themselves and our environment. I see a living body around us, surrounding us, and that’s also that piece of well being. And also looking after our health and well being in a more holistic way, not just individually but more collectively and also with our environment. But that’s how I see how your work sort of evolved, connecting individuals in the community to the environment so that’s why it’s simply quite complex for me to even just do a simple introduction and say you are a teacher or a mentor.
Sze Wing: But what I also find fascinating, in which we’re going to dig a little bit deeper is that I know you first started providing classes to organizations, for individuals and then you developed what a lot of people know as Yoga Pass which is very successful in spreading yoga and then eventually evolved to Yoga Hive. But I found what’s so fascinating is that a lot of people may take the path of teaching yoga, many like teaching students in a very meaningful way, but you seem to have a very different strategic or a bridge to take yoga to maybe more organizational level or corporate scene to make yoga a lot more in the mainstream, if that’s the right way to say.
Sze Wing: it really had spread across in Australia and so that was really amazing and that’s not really introduction but it’s all little bit about Cate. So, welcome. Cate!
Cate: Thank you so much. I love talking with you always and it’s really nice to be invited onto your podcasts.
Sze Wing: Okay, so going back to what I was saying, so tell us a little bit more about, I would say, your journey. So, clearly after you became a teacher you were teaching in many different ways, to spread yoga. But how does it, like tell us then, the journey to maybe the Yoga Pass idea behind it and then eventually Yoga Hive and what Yoga Hive is really doing right now.
Cate: Yes. Thanks for asking such a… Firstly thank you for bringing it together in such a cohesive manner. I’m not very good at that but I can describe to you how it’s evolved and why it’s evolved and I think that personal stories are very important and mine is a very personal story. So, I started to practice yoga when I was 19 but I didn’t start to teach yoga until I was about 30. And for many people, yoga, when the going gets tough they kind of think what can I do to bring my mind and body and soul back together again and they turn to yoga and yoga gives them a whole lot of ways to do that and techniques to follow. So, that was certainly true for me.
Cate: But during that period when I wasn’t a yoga teacher before I became a yoga teacher I was very much an activist and at one point I was, along with my cousin, the secretary for something called The Local Exchange and Trading Systems. So that was a non-cash currency system that developed across Australia, it had 400 chapters all in local areas and it allowed people to barter. And it was a fantastic idea because money is in short supply in some communities and so having the capacity to actually come together and purchase things for a non-cash currency was really useful for people.
Cate: So we pushed that agenda very strongly. It was going so strongly that Social Security was about to give the pamphlet to everybody that joined Social Security at that point because they felt that, that’s really addressed a whole lot of industries of poverty other than money. Which was access to services, access to friendships, community support, access to knowledge, et cetera, et cetera, that just were not being addressed for people who are getting the money from Social Security but none of the other things to overcome poverty.
Cate: So, I’m saying this because it was a very involved process with a lot of people etc, and what kept coming up for me was, if only people in these meetings were more evolved. I mean we all know that, right? Anybody who goes to a meeting, I think, isn’t the statistic 69% of meetings are a waste of time? Because you go there, there’s an idea that people want to get across the line but everybody’s stuff comes up. The way that you participate in a meeting is probably the way that you’re bringing up the children, it’s probably the way you boil the egg, people have a flavour or a set of difficulties, I guess, in relating to other people and in relating to bigger ideas, that block them from doing that.
Cate: So, I really am telling you this because this is why I went to yoga and I love what I’m doing with LETS. I love what I’m doing in social activism but it keeps stumbling over one basic block which is the personalities involved. So, until we, as people, start to evolve a little more clearly, so that we don’t have to deal with our anger management issues, our lack of self-confidence, the fact that we’re always sick so we never get to that meeting, the fact that we’re indecisive, whatever it may be. It makes working as a community, as a movement, more ineffective if the people within that movement or community are ineffective, for some reason, or held back in some way.
Cate: So that’s why I went back to yoga I kind of went, we have to start at basic building blocks, we have to start working on each individual so that people feel stronger and have more of themselves to participate with, more of themselves to give with. So, I came to yoga from quite a political perspective.
Sze Wing: That’s one of the most interesting things I’ve heard about getting into yoga. And I think it’s amazing what you just said because your story tells me that you see beyond what is in front of you. Say this meeting, or this conflict or this, sort of issues that will happen can get resolved quicker if people are just more themselves because they’re not themselves. They are bound by fear or anger or whatever that is, so they’re not in their normal natural state. And I do find yoga really helps us, to bring us back to the normal state of being, which is peace and happiness.
Sze Wing: And so that really, sort of, you really went to the cores of a lot of these things not just the obvious cores like who did what to whom but what is behind it? So, it is really amazing. And then so, which leads to my second question, so once you started getting from political angle to getting involved in learning and teaching yoga. Then the next step, it seems to me that you were really strategic or somehow you managed to scale this yoga into more mainstream and more people. So what triggers that?
Sze Wing: Which point do you think, teaching in this capacity is great but that’s not what I’m after. So what happened then?
Cate: Well, I think that’s an ongoing process of refinement but at the very beginning I was teaching in the North Shore of Sydney, so obviously I’m surrounded by a lot of people who are working in corporate jobs, I guess. I come from a corporate family and I’ve seen the damage that can do, to be frank. I feel like especially back then, which was 20 something years ago, there was a lot of practices in workplaces which were completely disempowering to the people in those workplaces, completely stressful, bullying wasn’t even on the table as a thought but neither was a whole lot of other stuff on the table.
Cate: So I was watching the fall out from workplaces coming into my classes and I was running, I don’t know, in my heyday I was running 35 classes a week. So a lot of classes and really feeling like we have to, kind of, go out there and, I think it’s the wrong word; Guerrilla warfare but you know what I mean, we have to infiltrate. Change the way that this operates and the way that I see that happening is by establishing yoga principles within businesses. So we started at a very basic level of trying to get yoga classes into businesses, like these days, totally normal, many businesses have yoga as a thing but they didn’t in those days.
Cate: So it took me two years to get in there and try and convince a business to take us on. We along with another group called Karma Yoga run by a lovely man where the first two groups that started workplace yoga in Australia. So we started and when we were at our zenith we had 52 corporations that we were dealing with every week. So, we were making an impact but, now here comes the big but, the weird thing was, that no matter whether we were with the Reserve Bank of Australia, IAG, whatever it was going to be, Merck, et cetera the big organizations, right? I would keep coming down to eight people in that class. So, I don’t understand why but it just kept doing it so eventually, we did a bit of a questionnaire and we said, hey why are you coming to yoga?
Cate: And we got all the responses back and we collided them and we got flat abs, to stop my headaches, to help me sleep, these are really important things but I also felt that we’re not getting the point across. We’re not really communicating what yoga is about. Yoga is about all those things and that’s the fundamental part if you’re not sleeping there’s not going to be much of you to go around during the day. If you’ve got a headache or something, if your back hurts, of course, these things have to be addressed but they’re base level and then once people feel better in their body and their mind and their soul then they can start to come together in communities and spread the love.
Cate: So, at that point I just went, this is not actually doing what I want it to do and so we went back to the drawing board and we took the word yoga out of our yoga offering, we were called Yoga Solutions instead we called it Healthy Results and that’s a good corporate name as you can hear and appeals to corporations and we went back to the same companies and we said hey we’re not going to be running weekly classes anymore or we gave it to one of the teachers but we are going to run these lunchtime sessions and we’re not going to charge you $10 for somebody to come to the yoga class, we’re going to charge you $660, which was quite a lot in those days and it’s a PowerPoint presentation, corporations love PowerPoints and we broke yoga down into component parts.
Cate: So, we did things like the Anahata yoga was a change of heart we called it. And then we did Delicious Nutritious, which was talking about the Niyama of eating. And then we talked about the breath of life which is the Pranayama and we talked about desktop yoga which is the movement you do at a desk to try and keep your mind and body in presenteeism.
Cate: So we broke it down and it was highly successful, it was really great. So that was kind of hitting the target in a much more thorough way and it was also bringing into the room the people that were out there that weren’t brave enough to come to yoga.
Sze Wing: Right.
Cate: Open-door syndrome. People get like, yoga.
Sze Wing: I’m too stiff. I’m not flexible.
Cate: Yes. That one. I’m not 22 anymore. I’m not a woman.
Sze Wing: Wow. That’s just so interesting because once again, I don’t know, maybe when you say it you don’t hear it, but for me, and I’m sure audience can hear it. Once again you go beyond, I mean you was already highly successful for many people’s standards. That you make in touch with 52 organizations running many classes. It’s already something people will love to achieve but yet you see beyond and say, yeah that’s great but it’s not ultimately what you want to bring across. It’s a deeper philosophy, it’s a deeper way of living that you really care about, which you can see that’s where it really stems out to help people.
Sze Wing: So you challenge yourself again, you rebrand and do this completely differently and you manage to get the message across. So that’s fantastic and I didn’t mention it that you also ran the World Day of Yoga in 2015 and in 2016 in Sydney Opera House and these were huge events and yoga really becomes something that people talk about. I remember it was huge like loose photos, lots of people.
Cate: There were lots of people, which was very gratifying.
Sze Wing: So at that point it sounds great. You did what you want to do, you had many organization came on onboard and hear your message and then what got evolved after? What happened next?
Cate: I’m wondering if I have a lot of frustration tolerance, right?
Sze Wing: No, I think you always aim for more. You aiming, every step you’re saying it’s something deeper, something higher, something even bigger scale.
Cate: Yeah. I guess it’s true. Healthy Results kind of dwindled because I was single-mothering. And I had two daughters doing their [HFC 00:15:56] one after the other. So, Healthy Results involved a lot of travel. We were doing a lot of corporate conferences overseas and all that kind of stuff. So, I just ran out of puff, to be frank, and went… took a break went back to just your basic teaching and trying to feel my way through. I was running a yoga centre in Kirribilli as well, a busy studio.
Cate: We lost that studio, which was the genesis for the next thing that happened. So there was HFC going on single motherhood, losing the studio because the woman next door was a litigation lawyer. Long story I won’t bore you with that one. But basically we lost the studio, which was after several years of having run it. It was a really big blow and so as a consequence of losing that studio people started to ring me and say, now that you’re not there where can we go?
Cate: And it was like, this would happen 10 times a day because we were running everything. And on top of everything I can tell you it was just like, oh well, I know you, you’re this kind of person, maybe this sort of… Finally I thought I’m going to have to do a marriage serve here between the yoga studio and the people and then in the shower one day the idea of Yoga Pass came to me. I thought you know that’s not a bad idea. We can find studios for people then you can go and try Satyananda, Bikram, Hatha, Japanese yoga whatever it’s going to be and then work out where their path is.
Cate: Because too many times and I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before where people say I went to yoga and I didn’t like it.
Sze Wing: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Cate: End of story, it’s like, what yoga did you do? How is that possible?
Sze Wing: But there are many kinds like you just said. When I was younger I only want a stronger. I need to sweat, I need to work out. I need to like to feel strong. As I grow older, it’s like you can chill out a little bit, you can enjoy the mindfulness. The Hatha is great in the morning you don’t have to be like dripping. Some people want different things at different stages of their life. Which really also resonates, what you’ve said before, life is changing, it’s inevitable, and some of the losses may bring new opportunity.
Sze Wing: And in my book I talk a lot about transition and were a classic example that, that’s not slightly, maybe age may impact because you want to be travelling all the time, but also the circumstances, your children and everything put together like you’ve got to make a choice and so that’s what happened and then you got the Yoga Pass, which I remember it was huge. Everywhere you go, I hear Yoga Pass.
Cate: Yeah. We did really well for quite a number of years and I did that with my friend Alex Grant from Find Yoga. So, we worked together because he already had a fantastic database of yoga teachers. But his is a commercial model and with Yoga Pass the intention was to spread yoga. So, we really wanted every single yoga teacher in their bedroom, in their backyard, in their garage to be on there, so we needed to make it free. So we started down that path with Yoga Pass and it was purely at that point a yoga studio could join and they could accept 10 yoga passes to one et cetera depending on their economic model et cetera, et cetera.
Cate: But anyway we got it to happen and we learned a lot of lessons on the way and then when… Now I’ll tell you what happens next, I suddenly became aware of this thing called Off the Mat, Into the World, which some of your viewers will know of, it’s run by Seane Corn and Hala Khouri and Suzanne Gray over in the states. And it is what it says, taking your yoga practice off the mat and applying it into the world and doing things that are useful in a bigger sense.
Cate: So you can imagine, it was just like, yes! Somebody’s doing this I don’t have to create it so I’d like to be part of that. So we took that model and we loved what they did. We took their curriculum, which was training for yoga teachers to do this work and we looked at it and went, this is so American. We need to sit and so we sat for a year and we altered it and tweaked it and got it to be something that was more relevant to Australia.
Cate: And we went to that for about six years, did teacher training and lots of charitable events et cetera, et cetera. Talking about the bigger picture that yoga can be responsible for and useful in and about two years before, no maybe the last year that we were there doing that, or two years, 2015. Then, Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister stepped up in his inaugural speech to the UN Council and I can’t remember the exact words, I wish I could remember to bring them here and read them to you but it was basically; yoga by creating healthy happy strong focused people and allowing people to keep one-pointed focus and work towards specific ends and to roll with the punches and understand their place in nature, for all these reasons yoga prepares us to deal with climate change.
Sze Wing: Mmmm…
Cate: In the UN, really
Sze Wing: Wow.
Cate: He had the most incredible response, so he said I, therefore, invite all member states, I know there are 193 countries in the UN, to join with me in celebrating a International Yoga Day, once a year. And he, for some reason there was no other International Yoga Day on the Solstice, which was June 21, which was all very well in other parts of the world but here it’s freezing. Anyway so it became the International Yoga Day. And it’s a great effect and so 174 of the 193 countries endorsed and supported that move, which was unheard of. It was a really big uptake.
Cate: So, it was really coming back to that very beginning thought that I’d had millions of years ago, in my life, which was that yoga can have a much bigger impact than just what we do with our individual students.
Sze Wing: Well, I can hear it because it all goes back to what we said, in the beginning, it can be a tool and an engine because the philosophy and the practice involved but essentially it’s really helping you to become who you meant to be, like get in touch with your state of being as well as with others and environments. Wow. So that’s another huge campaign and things you did so then what happened after because what about Love Earth, is it another chapter for this huge campaign?
Cate: That’s hovering along in the background there and it’s a beautiful thing you know, Love Earth has been ticking along for about eight years and that was born out of guilt. So what happened was we had 52 corporations as I’ve said and each of those corporations had their own logo and their own look and feel and we were dealing with a company in Taiwan that provided our mats so if somebody had a pink logo then we’d come up with a pink mat and if they had a brown logo then we’d bring a brown mat, whatever it was and we’d specifically put Yoga Solutions on it that would be different colours etc. And then one day I woke up to discover what I hadn’t kind of clipped onto before which was that the mats we were using were made out of PVC, which was toxic as anything.
Cate: So it’s actually carcinogenic and isn’t used in kids toys in Europe and America and we were getting our sweaty noses and our bodies down onto the mats which were really dangerous for the environment. I spent my entire childhood collecting plastic and horrible bits off beaches. It was just like, what am I doing? This is plastic, it doesn’t rot. It’s really poisonous, it’s petrochemical, it’s not yoga. And so we then talked to the company that we worked with in Taiwan and we mobilized that relationship so that we could design a mat that’s designed out of tree rubber and juice and is entirely compostable. So, it’s got no nasties in it. So we did that and we now have just two. We’ve got the pure one with no colours, no nothing and the other one that’s got Binchotan charcoal, which is also a beautiful colour and really pure.
Cate: But at the same time what it was set up to do was to recall and retrieve all the yoga mats from around the country that were being used that were plastic to stop them ending up in landfills. So I think it’s close to 5,000, just over, just under 5,000 yoga mats that we’ve taken back and we’ve repurposed out there. They go to homeless shelters, if they’re really awful they go to animal shelters. Otherwise, they go to prisons, they go to people that are running Karma Yoga`projects for disadvantaged groups around the country. Yeah.
Cate: There’s a lot that go to something called Fair Game, out to remote communities in the Western Australian area. And a whole lot of other things, places too. So, yeah. I’m really proud and happy with what we’ve done there. It’s been beautiful.
Sze Wing: Wow. So I think I have to listen to all these projects and initiatives then people really understand different aspects of yoga. It’s definitely way more than just doing some stretches on a mat. There’s so many aspects that you have touched. You know what got me curious is that… What do you think, from your experience, you’ve been around the scene, the yoga scene in Australia for over 30 years. What has changed? Is it just that yoga became much more household, sort of name, or more mainstream. What else has changed, in your opinion, about yoga, or your perception of yoga and the practices of yoga?
Cate: It’s completely changed. When you think about it, IYTA, International Yoga Teachers Association had their first teacher training in Australia, the first-ever teacher training in Australia only 50 years ago. So, it’s not that old, is it really?
Sze Wing: No.
Cate: But now we’ve just created the database we are creating, should I say, we’re getting there, almost finished. Not that we’ll ever finish but the database of yoga teachers in Australia, which is well over 30,000 yoga teachers. So, it’s a force for change and it didn’t used to be. Back when I started it was something that if you said the word yoga, people just went, Hippy! Tick.
Sze Wing: Yeah.
Cate: That was what they thought. So the great wonder of what’s happened is that it’s become so mainstream. Unfortunately, I suspect that’s because of need. People are so… Maybe I guess let’s look at it more positively. The thing is that in Australia a lot of people have come from overseas, were born overseas, have come here. Those that were born here… Those that were indigenously Australian initially, for many reasons people come here and this place has… There’s a lot of trauma, is what I’m trying to say.
Cate: Which we see in the statistics around obesity and around social isolation and around heart attacks and around cancer. There’s a lot of trauma in this country, which we need to address. So I think that the 30,000 yoga teachers growing, there’s over 100 teacher training institutions now, in Australia, rising to address that need. And it’s got to start somewhere. So there’s a lot of small courses of 200 hours whereas it used to be a three-year thing that you did to become a yoga teacher.
Cate: And whilst there’s a lot of frustration amongst older yogis or more experienced yogis about the level of yoga that’s being taught out there, I feel like if you look at a forest, lots of little saplings grow and the older trees take responsibility in creating light to come into those little saplings et cetera, et cetera, and eventually everything flourishes.
Cate: But we as a community, hopefully will find our way through and assist all those yoga teachers to remain in the business and to remain in the doing of yoga because every yoga teacher translates to however many people they are out there working with. So let’s say 100, so if you even said, okay, each yoga teacher teaches 100 people in their classes a week, which is probably not true it’s probably more but that’s a lot of people, isn’t it? A lot of people, so that’s 30,000? Is that? I can’t, my math…
Sze Wing: I mean it’s really exponentially, a yoga teacher, if you carry the principle and teaching and practices it can touch many lives and it’s also ongoing, right? So, that’s why I love your analogy about the forest with the old tall trees and maybe small bushes and that’s why I know that you’re an officially mentor of many people like teachers and I think it is so important because a lot of people they’re passionate about say whatever aspect they picked about yoga and then they are very excited and then they want to become a teacher but then what’s next?
Sze Wing: It’s an entirely new chapter, right? And a lot of times people actually need the nurturing, the support and mentoring so that they can become a bigger tree, eventually. And I definitely see essentially there’s such a demand, there are such a need and such an interest but that’s not all it is, actually, there’s a lot more to go for it so that you can have that great forest so that mentoring piece I think is super important. It’s just like we coaches, coaches are like every day but then the journey actually begins, or a true yogi journey begins after.
Cate: It’s exactly that. Yeah. It’s so true. So, the door has to be opened and you’re always going to find people who know less than you. So, there’s always someone to teach but you have to keep progressing so I think the mentoring aspect of what we’re able to give, to provide and to seek within our yoga community is fundamental, really fundamental. So, I like that, and I think that the frustrations that the more experienced yogis are feeling like there’s yoga in every gym, it’s really competitive, that’s what we’re trying to address with Yoga Hive and Get Off Your Asana. So if I might just let you know what that is then you’ll see how that journey’s taken off as well.
Cate: So, Get Off Your Mat, Into The World was fantastic for six years but we set up Yoga Hive to support Off The Mat, Into The World and we did that because it’s really, it’s not like advertising or any other corporation. There’s not much money in yoga, there’s a lot of joy. But Michelle Ferreira who’s written The Yogi Project lately interviewed 185 Studios and found that 62% of studio owners are not taking home a living wage. They’re below the poverty line, wow.
Cate: It’s actually an act of devotion for most people to run a yoga studio and to have a yoga class style. It’s not something that’s particularly remunerating. There are exceptions but in general, it’s not so remunerating and that has to change because we’re getting people into the profession and then they just can’t survive. So they leave and they take all that knowledge, and of course, they’re applying it to whatever they then do, but they’re not giving it in such a concentrated form. Yeah.
Sze Wing: That is so interesting, what you just said because, for example in the self-publishing industry lots of offers. There’s some statistic report out of UK and that it looks like a lot of offers are also below the poverty line but then you also know people who are very successful with self-publishing. And they may be creating a lot of books a year or maybe they’re very good with the marketing, whatever the reason, there are some people doing very well, which is exactly like what you said but in the publishing industry, for instance, there’s a lot of change because of technology, because of the changing of our society.
Sze Wing: Then also in the profession of yoga what do you see that could be helpful to think about so that it may change this scenario where it sounds sad that people have such an idealistic way of approaching this as a profession because they want to quit their day job. They want to teach yoga because they love it but then the reality is, it’s not so easy to make a living. So what would you advise people who are thinking about this?
Cate: Well, I think what we are doing is addressing that and we’re addressing that in a different way, which is not like, there’s a lot of calls to really legislate yoga and only those people who have done over a certain number of hours, et cetera, should teach, et cetera so all of the others go away. So where does that leave everybody? It’s not great so we are trying to increase the span of what yoga does in this country.
Cate: So if you have a look at our website yogahive.com.au you’ll see there’s a section there, which is called Yoga as Therapy and it’s yogis within this country who’ve written really interesting articles about scoliosis, about social isolation and about breast cancer, et cetera and how yoga is appropriate to those things. So we’re going to be doing promotional campaigns on each of those areas, for one month and that means approaching government organizations, approaching all the health professionals working in that area, the people who are suffering themselves.
Cate: The charities, the support groups, et cetera. Giving away free Yoga Hive passes, getting people to actually understand why yoga would be an appropriate mechanism for dealing with that. So, at the moment we’re doing this big thing with McDonald’s which we did last year as well. McDonald’s Monopoly and we’ve given them or sold them, rather, we haven’t given. Last year we sold 12,000 Yoga Hive passes to them. So 12,000 people who went in, most of the people who supersized in McDonald’s were getting a Yoga Hive pass.
Cate: And they’re not your traditional yogis, right? People that supersize at McDonald’s so we’re getting calls from all around the countryside about, my granddaughter gave me this or I’ve got sore knees or what do you wear to yoga? And do I have to… et cetera, et cetera. Very beginner level but drawing people in to do yoga. So not continually trying to appeal to people who are 22 and young and healthy and fit but just people who are in need of yoga and yoga has a lot of very simple tools that can make the difference between somebody having a happy or an unhappy life.
Cate: That’s what we’re trying to do.
Sze Wing: And also really exciting is that you found that you also may be reaching people maybe not so much in metropolitan area, people more regional and areas that may not have that many yoga studios but if yoga is a form of therapy and can help them it’d be great for them to somehow access what is online, or going to certain studio in bigger city but get them to even be aware of, yoga can help them with different things, so that will be very… Again you are scaling it again, right?
Cate: Scale, scale, scale. Yeah, it needs to be scaled and you’d be surprised. We went on this big trip to Darwin to talk to yoga teachers in regional areas. We’re creating a podcast at the moment with a wonderful woman called Yolande Hyde who runs something called Yoga For Your Ears. Yeah. That’s lovely.
Sze Wing: That’s great.
Cate: Yeah. It’s a great name and we’re writing this, we’re together making this regional and remote yoga teachers podcast, which we hope will go out on national radio, fingers crossed for us but it’s basically trying to make the point that yoga teachers are not just there to teach asana, you know it’s not just stretch, stretch, stretch it’s about supporting these communities, they’re in drought, in poverty, maybe they’re in flooding, maybe they’re just terribly remote and the isolation, whatever.
Cate: But yoga teachers they’re in every little town. Really, they might not be online but when you get out there and you ask at the health food shop or at a post office or whatever, oh yeah. No. Mary Louise is down on the corner doing the duh-duh-duh…
Cate: So it gotten quite a number of yoga teachers out there already doing it but there’s also an incredible range of online options for people doing yoga, as well.
Sze Wing: I love the awareness where you said about a podcast, Yoga For Your Ears because people may like… Why didn’t the perception about what yoga is and how they can get benefits and I think that’s very exciting? So winding up to the sort of end of the podcast interview, I want to ask you, with all this tremendous effort and campaign clearly it sounds like it’s a lot. What keeps you motivated or keep your drive or inspired because there are days you’re like, do I have to really do this and that and it’s not moving. So what keeps you going?
Cate: I don’t have those days. I must say.
Sze Wing: Oh, wow.
Cate: Those days don’t… But I do have the kind of days like, good Lord how much longer do I have to do without money in my life? Because when you’re pushing that edge all the time its not like go open a laundromat and follow the recipe to make the laundromat work, right? It’s just very hard to keep the money rolling in the door to keep all this going, right? It’s a big investment. So, those days I have where I get like… Then something fantastic happens.
Sze Wing: You keep on expanding and stretching and scaling and pushing upward that’s clear to our audience.
Cate: Yeah, does that not sound like an asana? That sounds like a yoga pose, right? So, it’s yoga, I just keep going back to my practice and back to the breathing and back to all of that and I don’t mean to sound corny about that but it really does allow anybody who’s tackling anything to find a center of peace. A center of coming in and knowing that there’s a much bigger picture at stake than how much money is sitting in my bank account in my case. Or how tired I might be or whether I don’t want to drive the extra 5,000 K
Sze Wing: 5,000?
Cate: Or whatever it was, no, like going to Darwin and back in three weeks it was for yoga teachers and like all that stuff that comes up. The resistance I refer everybody to Patanjali’s Nine Obstacles of Yoga so it’s a really interesting part in the Yoga Sutras. The fundamental philosophy of looking at what an obstacle is in our lives and what that brings about. I’m grateful. I’m really grateful for this continual challenge because what is life other than having more of yourself like exploring other places, other ideas, other people, other everything and getting more of the sense that we are all one and we are all connected
Cate: And so I just feel like I am. I’m very lucky. I’ve had two children, I’ve done the marriage thing, et cetera, et cetera. I’m in a position where I’ve got more time and I love to…
Sze Wing: And it’s just amazing where everyone else that everybody has different challenges, they just have different challenges but because of yoga all this experience that you have you know that tool that brings you back to that place with breathing or just a better mindset. It’s just again helping you to get back to the normal way of dealing with it. And because there are days that we probably really forget about the breathing and just hyperventilating or whatever but then it brings back because you said the things that you practice, your walk and your talk for 30 years so that kind of bring you back with your most resilient self so you can continue and be grateful for what you have achieved and what is ahead of you. So, that sounds like an amazing yogi journey.
Cate: All yogi journeys are amazing. And I’m really glad you let me share mine.
Sze Wing: Well thank you so much. Oh my God there’s so many opportunities for people to go and dig deeper and if they want to be a yoga teacher or if they’re already a yoga teacher, they want more support or do more than teaching a class and do more for the social good, or they want to just try out yoga, they’re many options and things that were mentioned, which I’m going to put the links below on my box so that people can click on it but it’s just a lot going on and there’s a lot of altering its not just stretching.
Cate: Not just stretching and anybody if you put my phone number there I’m so happy to talk to anybody about yoga.
Sze Wing: Fantastic, thank you so much for today.
Cate: And appreciation for what you do thank you so much for asking me, really lovely.
Sze Wing: Thank you.
Cate: Take care. Bye