Kat Farrants founded the leading online yoga platform Movement for Modern Life. Having practiced yoga for 23 years, she knows the importance of learning with the very best teachers. Her mission is to enable the best teachers to be accessible to all.
Kat spoke to The Present of Yoga about how she arrived at the point of deciding to start MFML. We will soon publish part 2, which is what she then did & how she did it.
Why did you start Movement for Modern Life?
I think there are several different things that conspired to make it impossible for it not to happen. The first thing that was that my husband left me. I had a house, a dog, and all of these things and suddenly I didn’t have all of these things. Obviously, it was heartbreaking at the time, but it enabled me to have a look at my life afresh from a clean slate.
At first I carried on as usual as everyone does. Then at the age of 35, I’m sitting in my fancy office in a City law firm, overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral thinking “Oh this is all quite good.” and a Partner invites me into a room and says “The thing is Katherine, you’re just a bit too creative for this job.” It wasn’t the first feedback I’d received in that direction.
That got me doing an interesting exercise, I drew a Venn diagram of things which I love to do, things which I’m good at and things which were needed for the job. It turned out that Venn diagram hardly met in the middle!
I realised that I had to pretend to be another person for 10-12 hours every single day, which is bonkers! That was the catalyst for me leaving law and I resigned that week. I just thought it was absolutely ridiculous!
I didn’t know what I was going to do but I took a look the things I loved and yoga was one of them, it’s been a big part of my life since I was 18. It’s really helped me get over physical issues, for example recovering from a car crash. It had also really helped me with my divorce, to help get things straight in my head. So I thought “Well, I want to do something with this thing that means an awful lot to me.” It was quite funny because I wanted to be in yoga but not teach yoga, and I had no idea what that looked like.
It seems that by this point you had already taught yoga hence knew you didn’t want to do it, can you elaborate on that?
Ten years earlier, I was in between jobs and my yoga teacher was going away for the whole summer. She said “Kat, take over of all my classes.” so I took a senior teacher’s schedule which was amazing, the entire schedule! I was teaching 3-5 classes a day and a great combination of big studios, private clients and workplaces, everything that any yoga teacher would absolutely give their right eye for. It was an amazing schedule and I was earning great money on it. It was easy, it just fell into my lap!
I don’t know whether it was the time in my life but I did not experience any joy from that job, it’s terrible to say. I think the only reason is that I was an impatient teacher. I wasn’t enough of a true yogi to be honest, I was still just a young kid, I didn’t have much wisdom to give and I wasn’t necessarily on the full-time yogic path.
I’m not actually a real yogi, I felt like a fool to be honest. I was so lucky that I got all the classes immediately, so I had shortcut route in knowing that teaching yoga wasn’t my calling.
Let’s fast forward again, what happened after you quit as a lawyer?
I went to the Yoga Journal Conference in Colorado to find out what’s going on in the yoga business in America and put some feelers out. Some interesting things came up from there and I thought that I was going to license an American yoga studio that I really liked and bring it to the UK. Then, I had the bright idea of saying to the studio “I’m not going to do this until I have worked with you in your business for a few weeks” so I went to Florida. Working from the inside of a yoga studio, I could see that it was exactly what I didn’t want to be doing with my life. So I came back and I was pretty depressed.
Anyway, a job came up at Triyoga so I became their Yoga Manager. That was a really really interesting experience, but I was entirely the wrong person for that job too. I used to drive the manager of the yoga centre crazy because again I was too creative for that job!
I handed in my notice at Triyoga and we had agreed that I would carry on working there as a consultant, but in the last week my dog got diagnosed with cancer. I moved to the countryside because I wanted to dedicate myself to trying to get her better and I didn’t want her to be in London, I wanted her to be living in the countryside.
This is where the project started because I was sitting in the countryside thinking “I need my yoga, I need my teachers!”. I started looking online and subscribed to a couple of North American sites which I hated with a passion. These weren’t my teachers, these teachers were just cheerleading! I didn’t think teachers needed to cheerlead me into doing something like “Go on! You can do it!”; I didn’t want that. I wanted somebody who would set up some interesting sequences to move my mind, body and soul in a simple and very straightforward way.
That was the catalyst, I just thought “I’ve got to create this!” I started calling up the teachers at Triyoga and my teachers in my former life, I just started talking to people about it saying ”Hey, what do you think about this project?” It was weird because I remember so clearly having those initial thoughts and thinking “Ooh, I don’t know, I don’t know. Should I do it?” and then calling people up and everyone was just like “Yay! Great idea, do it!” And I thought “Oh shit, okay, well now I’ve got a hundred yays…”
To be continued….
You can connect with Kat via Movement For Modern Life‘s website, Instagram or Facebook page. We are grateful that Kat has offered a 20% discount if you subscribe after a free 14 day trial, just make sure you use the code SPREADYOGA. Please be aware that The Present of Yoga will also benefit from this.
The Present of Yoga’s takeaway
Action – there is simply no substitute for it and in the end it’s all that actually matters. Good intentions will get you nowhere. If you think you’re interested in a specific direction, then do something in that space – whether it’s right or wrong the experience will likely get you a lot further than theorising. This platform is the direct result of that sort of thinking!