Interview with Teacher, Artist, and Healer Kat Tudor

Kat Tudor teaching yoga class
Photo by Hanuman Festival

Kat Tudor is a visionary artist, healer, and yoga teacher based in Manitou Springs, Colorado where she heads SunWater Spa, Sun Mountain Center, and the Smokebrush Foundation for the Arts. Kat has been teaching art, dance, yoga, aqua yoga, and improvisational arts since 1979 and is gifted in finding new ways for the creative arts and the healing arts to meet. Kat will be teaching at this month’s 2018 Hanuman Festival.

How did you find yoga?

Yoga found me back in the 60s in Atlanta when I was eleven years old. I stumbled upon a copy of Yoga Youth and Reincarnation by Jess Stearn. I studied the book avidly and tried to copy all the little pictures of yoga postures until I knew them all by heart. I recently rediscovered this book in a second-hand bookstore, re-read it, and found out that it was actually one of the first American yogi books.

I practiced what I learned from this book for many years until I found myself at Colorado College, where a group of Indian monks were in residence for a semester. I studied with them daily, and became even more drawn into the practice. After that, I couldn’t stop studying yoga! I eventually studied around the world; from Argentina to Spain, from India to the Mayan lands, seeking out more yogic practices and traditions.

What inspired you to dive deeper into your yoga practice?

The amazing teachers I have encountered and surround myself with like Saul David Raye, Shambhava, Miguel Angel Vergara my Maya yoga master, and hundreds of other teachers worldwide who have continued to find me.

What sources or traditions do you draw upon to guide your teaching?

I’m always open to inspiration when I teach. I am very influenced by Nikola Tesla, Black Elk, and I’ve recently been particularly blessed to travel with Miguel Vergara, learning the Mayan traditions of Yoga.

How do you integrate creative arts and healing arts into your yoga classes?

I am an artist yogini, and for me there really isn’t any distance between the two. I’ve also created a lot of public art that is informed by the Yogic principles, and have spearheaded many large-scale yogic happenings, including Yogic Spirals for Peace and Aqualuz Global Water Healing Yogic Initiative. In the last year I’ve been doing many performances and film pieces using archetypes from the yogic tradition.

I always begin my art classes with yoga, as it helps open people up to their inner artists. I find mantra helps my students replace that inner voice that tells them, “I am not an artist”.

Tell us about some of the biggest milestones in your life.

Biggest life lesson: Be humble and have faith
Biggest transformation: From star-being to human, and back again
Biggest challenge: Reading numbers, reaching the top shelf, and having to put my bag into the overhead bin
Greatest achievement: Winning a Colorado Supreme Court case on behalf of Mother Earth (Smokebrush vs. City of Colorado Springs)
Biggest breakthrough: Going to Rishikesh in India and becoming inspired to create SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs, Colorado

What has helped get you through your biggest challenges in life?

What has helped: Making art about everything that happens to me, and having a good sense of humor.

What hasn’t: Following the rules.

What are you passionate about when it comes to teaching?

My passion is to inspire and to instigate play/transformation in others.

What are your weaknesses?

I’ve always had a hard time learning the word ‘no’ in any language.

How do you inspire yourself to continue improving as a teacher?

I spend time in nature, observing, learning and imitating Mother Earth and all of her creations. I find that dogs and birds, for example, are particularly great teachers, and now that I’m a grandmother, I find babies to be particularly wise.

What has been the most significant benefit or gift you have received from yoga?

Well… I’m still 5 feet tall at age 63. In other words, you’re only as young as your spine.

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