Studio Spotlight: Katonah Yoga®
Located in Bedford Hills, New York, Katonah Yoga offers an innovative approach to
traditional yoga through their syncretic Hatha yoga practice. Their founder, Nevine Michaan,
has woven Taoist theory, sacred geometry and esotericism within a traditional Hatha practice
to help foster personal and communal well-being among her students. They first caught our
attention with their custom KATONAH X MANDUKA mats, featuring eye-catching illustrated
maps and diagrams. We had the chance to talk with the good people of Katonah to learn more
about their origin and teachings.
How was Katonah Yoga Studio founded?
Nevine Michaan started a daily practice in NYC with renowned yoga instructor Allan Bateman, in the 1970s. She became fully immersed in what would become her life’s work(s). She began teaching Yoga in 1980, and founded the Katonah Yoga Center in Katonah, New York in 1986.
Nevine continues to teach in her studio in Bedford Hills, NY and to inspire those both near and far, of all ages and backgrounds.
What is Katonah style yoga?
Katonah Yoga is a syncretic Hatha yoga practice developed by Nevine Michaan over 40 years. She and her teachers incorporate classical Hatha yoga with Taoist theory, geometry, magic, mythology, metaphor, and imagination — in a practical framework designed to potentiate personal and communal well-being.
Framing the practice, maps of time and personal space are defined and refined. Themes using asana as origami, manipulating form for function, and developing a sense of personal measure are incorporated in Katonah Yoga practices.
Katonah Yoga is organized around three principles of esoteric dialogue: all polarities are mediated by trinity; the universe has pattern, pattern implies intelligence; by virtue of repetition there is potential for insight.
Revelations are revolutionary.
What makes your studio special?
Katonah Yoga is known for astonishing, revelatory adjustments as well as never manipulating or judging anybody. The most important thing is for each person to feel safe. This is made possible by putting yourself, in every moment, in the center of your circumstances, your circumference.
What is the meaning behind the drawings/ maps? Can you explain how it works?
A map, like our adjustments, offers an orientation so that we stay directed. If we forget where we're going, a map is here to remind us. We're not just practicing for the sake of practice. The goal of practice is the life that can be enriched by having a good practice. As Nevine says, "Do not think that your asana practice is your life. It’s your housecleaning. If you’re cleaning your house seven hours a day, you have an issue. If you think what’s going to make your life healthy and happy is cleaning your house, that’s an issue. But! If you don’t know how to clean your house, that’s an issue. So, it is to really put it all in there so that eventually you know what you should make an issue of. Be self-responsible. Learn new things.”
Nevine collaborated with the artist, Susan Fierro, to create this meaningful and beautifully unique works of art. Their close relationship really shows in the thoughtfulness and detail of the work.
How do you incorporate the artwork into your studio/YTT?
A map helps us to reinforce the purpose of practice, the purpose of yoga--to live a great life! First we drop into our bodies; we integrate mind, body, and breath. And through repeated practice--by cooking the same recipes over and over again--we are able to rise above the personal (our own stories) and experience joy. The recipe for joy is doing what you agreed to do--showing up at the right place, at the right time. And the minute you arrive at joy, as Nevine says, you are grateful.
What is your favorite Manduka product and why?
Our favorite Manduka product is the mats printed with Katonah Yoga maps.
A yoga mat is our ground of being, where we are able to birth ourselves into being and orient ourselves, every day in applied practice.