“So,” Kathy says, “I came up with a lifestyle, or job, that was based on promoting health to people who wanted to be healthy, promoting physical and mental efficiency to people who wanted to be more self reliant and promoting a connection with the daily activities and obstacles that make our lives unique” (1). When Kathy first started teaching yoga she did not have a regular space so she would hold sessions at a “dojo” or a recreation center and people would follow her wherever she could get a space. This became difficult to organize and for students so she finally decided to get her own floor.

 

Kathy is also a Bodhisattva, in the Buddhist religion, in addition to her position as a certified yoga instructor. Bodhisattvas, she explained in the interview, are "people who decide not to leave this world through nirvana or enlightenment, but instead stay behind to try and help others reach enlightenment and transcend the physical realm. In that sense she is also very much a gatekeeper, though due to the nature of the position, probably not a policy maker".

 

Although she was hesitant to label it self-improvement, she explained that yoga and meditation can be important steps towards the rehabilitation of an alcoholic or someone with other kinds of self-destructive behavior. Yoga is not right for everyone she explained and it is not yoga alone that solves these problems, but it seemed to her that when a person started practicing regularly they often would decrease their negative behaviors simultaneously. For example, she’s never met an alcoholic who started doing yoga and continued drinking at the same rate or increasing that rate of consumption. She explained that meditation seems to target the biggest internal problem for people one at a time. Whatever is really causing a person to be upset or conflicted in life can be targeted through meditation. However, there are usually many variable that influence people negatively and so through a (presumably long) process of self inspection, a person can be able to slowly reduce the things that bring them stress, pain, discomfort, etc.

 

Kathy believes that she is always in meditation, in everything she does. She believes that doing things to the best of ones ability and with a positive attitude more will get done and living life would be a happier/more fulfilling.

 

BACKGROUND:

 

Kathy McNames, you could say, is a theorist and a participant to the meditative process. She owns and operates her own yoga studio in Burlington, has been doing yoga and meditating for about thirty years, traveling to Nepal, and observing followers of Buddhism and Hinduism in authentic settings. Kathy used to be in the Social Work field but she felt that she was working in a system of service that did not allow her to help people as often as she wanted and that she was only doing the job for the money.