#63 Cathy Woods: The Practical Applications of Yoga

Have you ever thought about the practical applications of yoga? My guest for this episode, Cathy Woods of Cathy Woods Yoga, offers tons of practical insights and connections on how yoga can make life better. In fact, this conversation was a masterclass in “lifemanship”. Not only did we talk about yoga, we talked about leadership, mindfulness, and parallels to horsemanship. In other words, we talked about was life and some of the more profound life principles that can help all of us have a better time here on Earth. 

Here is more about Cathy Woods. 

A pioneer in equestrian wellness, who combines mindfulness, yoga, and horsemanship to improve and enrich horsemanship from ground to saddle through the use of yogic "principles." Through a variety of enrichment programs, Cathy shares how to become a more skilled human being, thus better for our equine partners, teaching participants to deepen their relationship and connection with themselves, their horses, and the world around them.

Cathy Woods is the creator of her trademarked program, Body, Mind, Equine, and author of Yoga for Riders (published by Horseandriderbooks), a long-time yoga teacher/retreat leader, horsewoman, and avid, backcountry trail rider. She leads retreats and clinics internationally at ranches, expos, and equine centers and also has online audio and video courses. Cathy has been leading yoga programs for horse lovers and non-equestrians for thirty-three years. Her yoga and equine programs teach about the parallels between true yoga and horsemanship.

Body, Mind, Equine is not about doing acrobatics on the back of a horse, but rather how to use yoga principles (not just postures) to improve our interactions with equines and how to become a more aware, mindful equestrian. In addition, Cathy also teaches good stretches for riders and breathwork for riders through mounted and unmounted sessions.

Combining her passions of yoga, horses, and travel, she loves to curate unique, meaningful, enrichment, and empowerment experiences; her one-of-a-kind programs have reached international acclaim, Woods has written for and been featured in publications such as Horse Illustrated, Equus, Horse and Rider Magazine, Cowgirl Magazine,  StreamhorseTV, Yoga Digest, Forbes.com, and others.

Woods aims to impart an aware/mindful approach to yoga and horsemanship to make enhanced horsemanship and true yoga accessible to everyone while promoting a more enriched and skillful life. She is based in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina but teaches internationally

I'm looking forward to you hearing this conversation with Cathy Woods of Cathy Woods Yoga.


  • Practical applications of yoga. 0:02
  • The link between horsemanship principles and yoga principles. 1:54
    • The linkages between horsemanship and yoga.
    • How to find core principles to work from.
    • Breath is a big deal.
    • Breathing is a muscle memory for yoga practitioners.
    • Building a leadership program around founder flow.
    • Yoga and whitewater rafting as self-reflection.
  • Catch yourself if you’re comparing yourself. 10:00
    • Comparing yourself to others is an unconscious thing.
    • Unlearning is uncomfortable to unlearn something.
    • How to learn to be with discomfort.
    • Yoga puts us in uncomfortable yoga positions.
  • Survival mode and the power of breathing. 15:05
    • Our survival mode, fight, or flight.
    • The 45-degree ice bath with Robyn schiller.
    • Healthy challenges are important, but they can be uncomfortable.
    • The ultimate surrender is to recognize impermanence and put yourself in healthy challenges.
  • The inner wisdom of the body and spirit. 21:27
    • The inner wisdom of the body and the spirit.
    • A media-driven society.
    • Cultivating inborn mental tools instead of rules.
    • How media-driven society numbs us.
    • Living a handcrafted life.
    • Being a born yogi and disciplining yourself to stay still.
  • The role of money in our lives. 29:00
    • Money has become an important aspect of American society.
    • The status game is pervasive.
    • Following her true inner voice and heart's desire.
    • How to find her heart's sing.
    • Look for creative workarounds to explore new interests.
    • Nurture interest and schedule time to nurture it.
  • You don’t have to make a living at it. 36:07
    • You don't have to make a living at it.
    • The game of recovery.
    • Downtimes are an opportunity to celebrate.
    • Multitasking practice is practicing conflict, not conflict.
  • Honor your feelings and energy. 41:59
    • Using the f-word in the self-awareness program.
    • Honoring the feelings and energy.
    • What it is to do backcountry trail riding.
    • How to describe trail riding to the uninitiated.
  • Just a trail rider. 45:49
    • The importance of being a trail rider.
    • Backcountry trail riding as a teacher.
    • Being on the trail is a metaphor for life.
    • The camaraderie of other riders.
  • Horsemanship is the greatest teacher of all. 51:04
    • Horsemanship is the greatest teacher of all.
    • The airy-fairy approach to horsemanship.
    • Skilled learning and practicality are important for trailering horses.
    • Horses need to learn how to face the unknown.
  • How to deal with challenges on the trail. 55:20
    • Recognizing that sometimes the horse is going to encounter something new.
    • The importance of discerning.
    • The unexpected things that happen on the trail.
    • Practice when the waters are calm.
  • Raise your mental tools under pressure. 1:00:18
    • Things happen that are unexpected.
    • Raising mental tools to deal with challenges.
    • Life is about sharing gifts with the world.
    • Giving yourself permission to learn or staying open.
  • The process of writing a book. 1:06:09
    • Breaking down a book into its smallest pieces.
    • Being willing to take baby steps.
    • Yoga as an opportunity to learn and grow.
    • Yoga means to unite.
  • The importance of energy. 1:09:07
    • Getting away from unity consciousness.
    • Energy is an overused word that people are comfortable with.
    • Yoga puts us in touch tangibly with energy flowing through the body.
    • Energy matters in all things.
    • Yoga is a sacred practice, but also a practical approach.
    • Yoga in rural Appalachia.
  • The deeper principles of horsemanship. 1:15:10
    • Separating the mind and the body.
    • Separateness is the source of human suffering.
    • One message or piece of advice for the audience.
    • Taking time for stillness.
    • Take a few slow, deep belly breaths.
    • Take a moment to drop into the who of who you are.
    • Thank you, Cathy, for setting us up for the day.
    • Get in touch with Kathy.
  • The Warwick Schiller Podcast Summit. 1:25:12
    • Warwick schiller podcast summit in San Antonio.
    • Warwick and Robyn's intention and unity.