Featured Teacher: Katrin Kuttner

Katrin Kuttner Yoga Garden SF yoga teacher training aromatherapy san francisco california bay area

This month we turn the Garden Featured Teacher on Katrin Kuttner. She leads the Yoga Garden SF 300-Hour yoga teacher training, contributes to prenatal yoga education, as well as teaches detailed workshops on incorporating aromatherapy, art and trauma-sensitive applications to yoga practice. She strives to address the unique therapeutic needs of every student and to inspire free expression in teacher trainees, with intent to cultivate energy and courage in her students to go out into the world with a solid foundation. Without further ado, please read on to learn more about this artist and luminary!

Can you share with us about where are you from? What were you like as a child? 

So shy ☺ I grew up in Leipzig, Germany.

How did you get started teaching yoga in San Francisco? 

After having been traveling nationally and internationally to teach yoga, contributing to teacher trainings and providing yoga therapy, I was asked by the lead teacher trainer at the time, Michelle Myhre, to contribute to Yoga Garden SF’s 200-Hour training program. Soon after I joined the regular schedule with challenging classes and also started an innovative program integrating aromatherapy into flow yoga which has since then continued in popularity. I am known to have taught a “Restorative Level 2” workshop focusing on opening the body for deeper poses. Visualize restorative scorpion pose!

What is one of your hidden talents?

I’m quite psychic and can enable people’s talents to flourish.

What wisdom do you most want to transmit to your students?

Creative thinking – explore, and explore together, create and create together. I just hand you the blueprint, that’s all.

Who is your hero/heroine? 

Hildegard of Bingen 1098-1179, first feminist and spiritual leader who used an evidence based approach to write volumes on Medicine. There are clear influences of oriental medicine to be found in her work like the Indian Ayurveda. What I like is that she bridges my interest in Asian Art and Yoga with my own German cultural heritage.

What still excites you and keeps you inspired to teach and share this practice with students?

That there is a place and time for everything and that we always have a choice to develop our practice further. You cannot be afraid of sharing all you know and handing over the torch to new teachers as well as to empower students to DIY

What is your spirit animal?

Monkey probably? It’s my Chinese zodiac.

What shifts once you first unroll and step on your mat?

I’m there all the time, no mat needed. We have to strive to be spiritually connected rather then disconnect once class is over. Be aware of how you are woven into the fabric of the universe. It means facing that what would be very easy to turn a blind eye to.
If you didn’t teach yoga, what else would you do?

I am a Bauhaus educated artist and designer which channels into my work. If I wasn’t on that path I would be a diplomat most likely.

What’s your finest advice for a new teacher? 

Retake the trainings and deepen your knowledge and experience. You learn from repetition, and you will know what specific questions to ask. Over the years I accumulated thousands of hours in training, assisting and apprenticeships.

What do you have in the pipeline? Are you working on any exciting projects? 

We have two more philosophy courses and core synthesis scheduled for this year. These trainings are so exciting and challenging as you can see every teacher’s authentic voice starting to emerge.

In the summer my aromatherapy and yoga all day workshop will inspire lifestyle changes, lots of hands on crafting and understanding, plus you get to take home your own airport approved essential oils travel cosmetics kit. Autumn will have us turn inwards with focusing on “stability and freedom” during a one day in house ‘retreat’. Indian Art and Philosophy inspired me to work on a series of miniature art pieces with materials from my recent India trip. I hope we can offer an art show and philosophy lecture soon (at Yoga Garden SF)
Anything you’d like to share about your passion for Aromatherapy? 

Aromatherapy is so interesting, because it has been with us since the very first civilizations. The Indus used sandalwood for devotional practice, the ancient Egyptians used Myrrh, in China Jasmine has been valued for ages. With absolute certainty everyone living in the USA has experienced aromatherapy either directly or indirectly, think about tooth paste, sweets and bubble bath

I have been sharing my passion for aromatherapy for years and value its applications. Essential oils are part of my daily life and the more you know the more you realize that it is all about choosing the right oil and applying it sparsely.

How do you enjoy teaching in YGSF’s Core 300-Hour Programs? Core Philosophy and Synthesis? 

It has been wonderful. Core Synthesis is exactly that – through skilled guidance you deepen your practice, refine your teaching and get to find your ‘niche’ in the yoga world.   The asana practice will surprise you with poses you have never tried before or even heard of. You also learn how to apply yoga philosophy to your sequencing and teaching.

With core philosophy you get to be creative, innovative and honest. We take on the Bhagavad Gita and not just parts of it. You also learn about history, geography and art –  corner stones in truly understanding where yoga originated and why we practice the way we practice today. Highly interactive, every course is fresh with homework tailored to everyone’s special interests and talents. The result of which is that every participant will be able to pick up ancient scriptures without hesitation and express their thoughts on yoga philosophy clearly and concisely from a deeper place of knowing. Both courses make use of my professional training by experts in the field of yoga philosophy and advanced yoga practice as well as my two Master degrees in Fine Arts and Chinese Literature and Art History.

We know you love to travel. How has travel influenced your yoga teachings and why do you think travel is important? 

Travel is important and it doesn’t have to take you far. California alone offers a multitude of natural wonders and sacred sites. Culture and Art are one reason to travel as it opens your horizon, inspires, connects and breaks down barriers. Another reason to travel is to be in nature and remember ones connection to the universe. As a nerdy ‘citizen scientist’ I came to realize how yoga scripture was inspired by the observation of nature. Nature strives to be diverse, nature favors everything spherical and the universe loves emptiness (vacuum). In urban environments it’s easy to forget that nature is us versus nature and then there is us.

Anything else you’d like to share?

You come to realize that what makes a Yogini or Yogi is to develop ones attitude through knowledge and action. And that ultimately leads you to uncover your talents and purpose.

My friend, many people would like to know that. You must do what you have learned and receive money for it and clothes and shoes. There is no other way that a pauper can obtain money. What can you do?
I can think. I can wait. I can fast.   – excerpt from Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Where can we connect with you off the mat?

yoga.katrinkuttner.com and katrinkuttner.com

To practice with Katrin, check out her upcoming workshops and 300-Hour Teacher Training electives!