Everyday Goddesses is a series of posts I’ll be writing here, profiling women in my life who embody strength in everything they do- on and off the mat.Kara Potts is another powerful healer in the Just Be Community, and one of the residents of the recently brought-to-life Sanctuary in Walnut Creek. Kara isn't just an incredibly talented masseuse and Theta healer, but also a fun-loving and hilarious ball of energy who's always a pleasure to be around. If you're lucky, you'll catch her with her equally sassy sidekick, Tulsi, a pixie-like miniature of her mother, spreading love and laughter wherever they go.
Are there any particular struggles in your life that led you to yoga? How has your practice helped you overcome these obstacles?
I started doing yoga on and off in my late teens. I danced growing up so I related to this sort of "exercise". When I was pregnant with my daughter I did yoga to stretch and gain flexibility in my changing body to prepare for labor. It wasn't until I went though a traumatizing and unexpected divorce that I started actually PRACTICING yoga. I always knew there was a spiritual aspect to the practice of yoga, and through studying Ayurveda , I became familiar with a little of the foundation, but it wasn't until my life seemed to be completely falling apart that I started FEELING the healing that came through being on my mat. I'm pretty sure I cried in every single class for a good six months- it always felt like the teacher was speaking directly to me. There were days that I knew I would not have made it one more moment if I didn't get on my mat and recenter- get back in my body and let something go.
How have you changed as you’ve gained both physical strength and mental resilience?
The mental and emotional strength that I have gained through my practice is immeasurable. It is crucial for my well being and for those in my life that I create the space to get myself to my mat. Physically, yoga keeps my endurance and strength up so that I can offer bodywork and emotionally it provides the quiet time to release the energetic exchange I have with my clients to bring myself back to center. Self care makes it possible for me to have a sustainable practice as a practitioner! Without it I would crumble under the mental, physical and emotional drainage from life and my work. I love the saying that "Self care is not selfish, it is self-less". You can not take care of anyone else until you take care of yourself.
Do you see the pursuit of strength as one more women are being drawn to? Do you think more women should emphasize this pursuit?
I think with the high demands of life that we experience today, women are being drawn strength in many ways that we haven't in the past. There are more working Mamas, single Mamas, women looking for their "perfect partner", women stepping into another phase of their lives and they have the intuitive sense that this physical, emotional and spiritual strength from yoga is a support that is not always seen, but always there and always active and available. Like the roots of a tree. As a tree grows up toward the light it simultaneously grows underground and supports the growth.
Do you have any examples of moments when the lessons you’ve learned in yoga have transferred into your every day life?
I use yoga in my everyday life. For me it can be as simple as focusing on my breath when I get frustrated or overwhelmed. My daughter and I love to do yoga together and it is a beautiful way for us to have fun and connect. She especially loves meditating every night at bedtime and we always start with deep belly breathing. It has become a bedtime ritual and now most nights, she wants to lead and make up new meditations! I connect with yoga one way or another every single day. If it is not a physical practice, it is the message I received in class earlier that week, or connecting with this amazing community at Just Be in one way or another. Yoga feels like returning home.
Kara Potts is a CMT and healer at The Sanctuary at Just Be Walnut Creek.