In 2011, a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) shattered Kate’s world – ending a successful career in the corporate world and altering nearly every aspect of her life, beyond recognition. She had a choice; she could either break, or break wide open. Kate chose to embrace life as the most brutal and brilliant teacher of all, to break wide open, and answer the call. Kate believes injury, illness, pain and loss are some of the most unexpected of these life teachers; yet hold the deepest wisdom and possibility for our lives. When our world shatters – we are handed an opportunity to choose which pieces to pick up, which to leave behind, which pieces to learn from, and which pieces to grow, develop and transform. Discovering Yoga & Meditation after her TBI was the catalyst for this shift in perspective, and became a pivotal healing tool on her journey forward. It didn’t take long to realize, she was being called to share these unexpected gifts, teachings, and tools! Kate set forth on her next chapter to deepen her yoga and meditation practice, completed multiple teacher trainings, as well as ongoing self-study, and is now a devoted yoga teacher in her community. Core to Kate’s offerings is a message of love, a practice of love - to cultivate a life lived, on purpose and with purpose. One breath, one moment, and one intentional choice at a time.
Share an experience that motivates you to share the loveyourbrain message.
After my TBI I felt so alone. So lost. So broken. So confused. So isolated. So helpless. So overwhelmed. So hopeless. So afraid. So angry. So uninformed. So disconnected.
At the rehab hospital, I was (unexpectedly) introduced to meditation, and then got permission to leave campus and take a few yoga classes, as they were not part of the rehab curriculum. This surprised even me, as I was not a yogi or meditator before the accident, quite the opposite in fact. To make a very long story short, after practicing yoga and meditation for a couple months, I started to feel a shift and heal in new and unexpected ways. Yoga & meditation also provided this sense of community and connection; with myself and others. At the time, I could barely explain what was happening, but it felt profound, almost magic.
I started imagining how incredible it would be if there was a program especially tailored for the TBI community!? Wondering why this doesn’t exist?! I knew there was magic in these practices. Magic in connection. Magic in awareness, presence, loving kindness. Magic in stillness, silence, and slowing down. Magic in mindful movement and breath. Magic in re-integrating mind, body, heart, spirit, soul … the whole... of me.
And I knew this wasn’t unique to me – this could help an entire community. And so the journey began. It was not an easy one. But it was (it is) worth it! Every single day.
Becoming a yoga teacher to fulfill this dream, and then finding LoveYourBrain and bringing it to Canada, was as close to a real life miracle as it gets. What I experienced on the yoga mat, on the meditation cushion, in community, IS the LoveYourBrain message. I am so honoured to share this message with the Ottawa community, to share this program with my TBI community … knowing I (we) are wrapped in the arms of the LoveYourBrain community. Together we can.
What does love your brain mean to you?
What inspires me to devote so much of my time in service to LoveYourBrain, and to sharing yoga, meditation, and all aspects of the “Capital Y Yoga” journey is how deeply empowering these practices can be. These tools are ultimately about LOVE. When we make the choice to love our brain - to love our self, our LIFE, from the inside out … anything is possible. This is where it all begins. We have to start here. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. And this goes for every single one of us, brain injured our not. My injury helped wake me up; my TBI became my great teacher. This message of loving your brain stands on three strong pillars: Connect, Educate, Empower. To embark on this healing journey, to awaken and live our lives on purpose and with purpose, and to feel good from the inside out while we’re doing it … we need connection and support, we need awareness, knowledge and education, and we need tools to empower us to take our healing … our well-being, our life, into our own hands. To me, LoveYourBrain is the catalyst for this possibility to come to life for each and every one of us. It’s an unfolding, a practice, and I’m devoted to keep showing up to practice, every single day...
How do you love your brain?
So many ways! Years of learning, cultivating strategies and practices. And I’m still learning! But one of my #1 brain-love strategies = Cocooning.
This is a practice of creating intentional pauses and white space – through pacing, adapting and accepting. It’s a practice of love.
When I left the rehab hospital (ahem, nearly 7 years ago), the running joke was that “pace” is not a 4-letter word. I was learning to accept vs. resist the practice of pacing, I was learning to adapt to my new life, and accept what my brain needed to heal and function at it’s best.
Prior to my TBI, I was a type-A, over achiever, workaholic type personality and struggled with anything that resembled slowing down, resting or being quiet. I needed to change my relationship to the very things I used to resist, the very things that felt like punishment.
Cocooning is what I now affectionately call the practice of creating this intentional pause of white space, being in a quiet space, and honouring rest throughout my day/week; to love my brain. Cocooning often means: no screens, no noise, minimal cognitive use (talking/reading/thinking/planning, etc). Sometimes I close my eyes, simply breathe, and soften all the edges, anything that has a net neutral or net positive effect on my brain (aka on pain, energy, fog, overwhelm, etc). Sometimes 15-20 minutes makes all the difference in the world. Sometimes my brain needs multiple hours. The more consistent I am in pacing, listening, and honouring my brain’s needs proactively, the less catch-up I have to do. Yoga and meditation are key tools in cultivating this practice. It’s become a sacred reset, cultivated through mindful loving awareness and accountability - one breath, one moment, one intentional choice at a time.