Woman Crush Wednesday with Kait Hurley
This month's Woman Crush Wednesday is someone we are head over heels obsessed with. You know when you find someone in the wellness world that you not only admire but encourages you to be your best self? Kait Hurley is someone that actually lifts you up and makes you feel empowered and strong and love who you are!
Kait Hurley is a Move and Meditate teacher based in Portland Oregon. Although we are yet to try her online training programme, after trying out The Ass Class and Pranayama with Alsion Wu we felt accomplished, grounded and proud of ourselves! Kait focuses on both mind and body wellness and after working in the fitness industry decided to combine both meditation and physical workouts into her exercise practice to combat anxiety. She experienced a big shift in her life and began to create an approach to wellness that combines both. We can't wait for you to all read her interview!
When did fitness become a huge part of your life? And what first inspired you?
I've always loved moving my body. It all started with basketball though. I joined a team in 3rd grade, and the sport became my everything. My mom would spend weekends driving me all over the St. Louis area playing as many as 3 games in one day. I was obsessed. In high school, distance running became my new love. I felt so free and at home in my body running outside after school with my friends. I think that feeling of freedom and joy and feeling good in my skin is what inspired me initially—even as a little kid. That's still what connects me to my movement practice now that I'm 32.
What motivates you when you really don’t feel like working out?
For so long, I was motivated how I looked or because I thought being stronger physically would make me happier. As if being able to hold plank longer or do 100 squats in a row without stopping would lead to more joy and fulfillment in my life. Spoiler: That wasn't true! Ultimately, these beliefs contributed to my anxiety and feelings of not enough. Now what motivates me is deeper than how I look or what I'm able to perform. It's about my mood, my relationship with myself, and my ability to focus. On days I exercise, I notice that I'm kinder to myself and I have more energy. I'm also more creative and less likely to get distracted scrolling on Instagram. Of course though, there are for sure days when I don't want to workout. When that happens? I just don't do it. If exercise sounds like a drag, I take a rest day. You don't have to exercise every single day to feel good and be healthy.
We absolutely love that you end your workouts with a meditation, it makes us feel calm and centered. What was your inspiration behind ending with a meditation and why to you think it’s so important for people to have a meditation practice?
Thank you! It's wonderful to hear you're connecting with the practice. My decision to end with meditation comes from my own need to settle my nervous system. It's so easy to get swept up in the momentum of our busy lives. We're always trying to achieve and accomplish. We're continuously pushing ourselves to grow and expand. While it's normal to have momentum and to push, it only works when it's balanced with stillness. Without down regulation, the system gets supercharged and we enter into fight or flight mode. When that happens, we can't respond in a skillful way to stress. We can't be as discerning and see things clearly for how they really are. Instead, we might mistakingly think everything around us is a threat and that we need to run from the metaphorical tiger. Meditation is so valuable and essential because it allows us to be smarter about how we respond to stress. It also helps us be more present moment to moment and better understand the habits of our hearts and minds. Once we become more present and aware, we can shift out of the unconscious momentum processes that do not serve us. We can start to refine our relationship to momentum and thrive.
I've experienced such a powerful transformation combining movement with meditation myself. The practice has helped me uncover inner strength and resilience I didn't realize was there. It's also helped me learn how to be patient and kind to myself. My negative self talk is not nearly as loud as before. I'm just so grateful to be able to share this practice with others.
What or who inspires you at the moment?
There are so many women in the health and wellness space taking on the uncomfortable, ugly topic of racism. Their willingness to speak out about how white supremacy is upheld in a space that has a pattern of highlighting and celebrating leaders that look at me (thin and white) takes courage. I hesitate to talk about my own anti-racism work because I don't want to position myself as a leader—the Black women are leading the way. I also don't want to make it seem like I'm patting myself on the back for something I should have been doing my entire life. That said, Spiritual Activist Rachel Ricketts is a huge inspiration to me and we just filmed a move + meditate class together that will go live on her website later in September. I'm also deeply inspired by the work of Rachel Cargle and Layla Saad. These women are a few of my teachers, and they've helped me realize the gaps in my own feminism and the ways I've been apathetic and complicit in upholding something I abhor. In sharing my own experience, I hope other white women like me can join me and do this work daily. Because racism isn't always obvious and easy to see. It's something that's woven deeply into the fabric of our society and culture. As white women, we need to do the work ourselves and be willing to look in the mirror at our own behavior, actions, and beliefs if we're going to dismantle these structures and create spaces that are inclusive and safe.
What advice would you give people starting out in the wellness world as entrepreneurs?
You don't have to know everything about everything to start. Just begin wherever you are right now. First one foot, then the other. Also, whatever weaknesses you think you have? Those just might be your strengths. What makes your point of view unique and special is the fact that it's coming from you. Let your whole self be seen in everything you do.
What can people expect from your online workout and meditation subscription?
Heart-pumping, butt-burning, music-driven workouts to help you be more fully present in your body paired with efficient guided meditations and breathwork to help you ground down and connect with the deepest, wisest, part of you. A more resilient body and mind is what it's all about.
How does nutrition fit into your lifestyle?
For me, kitchens are for dancing. I'm kidding. Well, sort of. The truth is, I'm not a great cook. I have zero instincts. I don't love it. And I rely on following recipes. My husband has been doing all the cooking lately. I'm ready to step it up though. I love making big batches of soup, so I'll get on that once the weather cools down. A few of my favourite recipes are from Alison Wu and Oh She Glows.
Thank you so much to Kait for this inspiring interview! We don't know about you but we are so ready to move and meditate after learning about her philosophy and approach to wellness. Kait currently offers a 7 day free trail for her subscription service which includes a collection of online workouts over on her website. We are super excited to try it out ourselves and will let you know the results!
In the words of Kait - Move. Meditate. Feel Amazing.