Having found Bikram yoga in college, Kate Davies is an experienced Yogi, practicing for 11 years and teaching for four. Born and raised in New York, she has been lucky enough to live in many cities including Italy, China, Texas and Thailand, and moved home to open YO BK in the Fall of 2015.
With a new 'hot yoga' studio popping up every week in Williamsburg, YO BK has found its niche, offering unique classes such as Inferno Hot Pilates and the true Bikram Yoga experience. Having recently celebrated it's first birthday, we chatted to owner, teacher and face of the studio about why everyone should practice yoga, what challenges she's faced, and what the future holds!
AM: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your typical day?
My typical day is busy - I teach a couple classes each day and take class with one of my amazing teachers. One of my favorite things about owning a studio is mentoring teachers. In between classes, I answer emails, make phone calls, order retail and do the many tiny tasks to keep the studio running smoothly. The best part of my day is spending time with the amazing teachers and students who have become my family.
AM: What inspired you to open up YO BK?
KD: I’ve practiced Bikram Yoga regularly since college and have always wanted to open a yoga studio. I had an amazing mentor in San Antonio who helped me decide on a city and a location. I considered many cities but am so happy to be in my hometown of NYC.
AM: What class is YO BK known for?
KD: We are known for Bikram Yoga, a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises executed in a heated room. All our teachers are Bikram-certified. There are more and more forms of hot yoga, but Bikram Yoga was the first one is incredibly challenging and therapeutic. The postures are thousands of years old and the series itself has been in the United States since the 1970s. Its popularity is a testament to its efficacy.
Back in May, we became one of the only studios in New York City to offer Inferno Hot Pilates. Inferno is a high-intensity, low-impact full body workout using Pilates principles. LIke Bikram Yoga, it is suitable for all levels and ages. This class turns our yoga room into a nightclub with loud, energetic music and a disco ball! We are excited to host Inferno Hot Pilates teacher training at the studio this January 27-29.
AM: Favorite yoga pose?
KD: Full camel pose. It’s a yummy, juicy backbend.
AM: Five reasons everyone should do yoga?
- It makes you happy, healthy and confident
- 90 minutes in your day without a cell phone or computer (gasp!)
- Time to focus inward on your breath
- Guilt-free holiday indulgence
- You meet the most incredible people
AM: What does yoga mean to you?
KD: Yoga is union - the inward union of mind, body and soul and the outward union of people. The studio is about so much more that a physical asana practice - it is a community of people working hard to make themselves better and happier. Through a physical yoga practice, we cultivate a more disciplined mind and a healthier inner realm. As Bikram says, “you must go through the physical to get to the mental”. Our brand of yoga may seem strict or rigid, but knowing what is expected as a student allows us to let go of our own mental constraints and work in one direction.
AM: Biggest challenge as a small business owner?
KD: Taking one day away from the studio per week. It’s hard because I really don’t want to!
AM: If you could invite anyone, past or present, to a class at YO BK, who would it be?
KD: Danny Devito.
|The YO BK Studio, Williamsburg|
AM: If you were deserted on an island, what one item would you want with you?
KD: A good novel, probably Murakami.
AM: Favorite sinful treat food?
KD: Beer. It’s the only gluten I mess with.
AM: One place in the world you would love to visit?
KD: Sri Lanka.
|Sri Lanka is next on Kate's travel list | Photo courtesy of kuoni.co.uk|
AM: Favorite song to work out to?
KD: Anything Pitbull. He makes mountain climbers so much better.
AM: One food you could not live without?
KD: Avocados. Basic, I know.
AM: Three things that are always in your gym bag?
Tiny shorts, an insulated Namaka flask (keeps water freezing in the hot room) and Ultima Electrolytes to replace the minerals I sweat out.
|Namaka Flasks with YO BK logo, available at the studio | Photo courtesy of @yo.bk|
AM: Favorite smoothie recipe?
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- ½ banana
- ½ cup almond milk
- 12 raw, unsalted cashews
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
AM: Favorite way to start the day?
KD: English breakfast tea and the New York Times.
AM: Go to healthy food spot in Williamsburg for a quick bite?
KD: Abracadabra on Bedford and South 3rd. Their gluten free, vegan cookies are to die for!
|Abracadabra in Williamsburg | Photo courtesy of Yelp.com|
AM: Favorite good vibes quote?
KD: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
AM: What’s in the future for YO BK?
KD: We are constantly adding more classes to our schedule and have lots of fun, pop-up offerings. On Fridays at 8 pm, we always do a music class. It’s a wonderful way to start the weekend. We also mix in Bollywood Dance class once a month.
AM: Goals for 2017?
KD: My #1 goal is to keep growing our amazing community. It is my dream to have multiple locations. I’d also love to put silk ropes into our space for aerial yoga.