Who Is Kate Hanley and Why Is She Talking to Me?

Hi there, I’m Kate! I help busy women slow down, breathe deep and hear what’s true for them, so they can do more of the things that matter and stop stressing about the stuff that doesn’t.

I do that a few different ways – as a coach, speaker, blogger (my site, MsMindbody.com is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year!) and author (of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide, The 28 Days Lighter Diet, and the upcoming A Year of Daily Calm). I’m also a yoga teacher for people who don’t do yoga and a long-time meditator. I live in Providence, Rhode Island, in an ever-evolving fixer upper with an old stone wall running through the backyard with my husband, our two kids and lots and lots of stuffed animals.

That’s who I am, but let’s move on to the more important question – why am I here, writing to you on this blog?

I am passionate about helping people who think they are too something—stressed, busy, ADD, scared, out of shape, broke, what have you—to do any sort of mind-body practice discover simple but profound ways to get quiet.

I have the movie director Oliver Stone to thank—up late one night in 1992, channel surfing to help me forget that I had to get up and go to my first real job as an editorial assistant early the next morning, I stumbled across Midnight Express, a movie about a young American who tries to smuggle drugs out of Turkey and ends up being sentenced to Turkish prison that Stone wrote the screenplay for. In the movie, there is a scene in which the protagonist and his cellmate do sun salutes. There is no dialogue, only the sun streaming through the window and the two men moving silently with no shirts on (that part certainly helped get my attention!). But by the looks on their faces, you can tell that they feel totally free. I figured if yoga could help them deal with life in Turkish prison, it could probably help me deal with feeling like I was in jail at my job.

It took me three years to get to that first yoga class—the only class at my gym was held in the middle of the day on Tuesdays, which conflicted with work. But finally, my car was totaled in an accident where no one was hurt, I received a settlement check and quit my job. (I was 25.) The first thing I did was go to that yoga class, and I never stopped going.

Until I had my second child, that is. Flash forward 15 years and I have a two year old and a newborn, and I am completely overwhelmed. I thought I would do myself a favor and stop doing anything that wasn’t directly related to keeping those kids alive (this is exactly how dramatic it felt in my head). And that included my yoga and meditation practice. So I gave them up, cold turkey. Man, did things get worse!

That’s when I started turning to food and wine to take my edge off. Which led to weight gain and impaired sleep. Which made me cranky and sort of hate myself. Which made me liable to pick fights with my husband and knock myself out in an attempt to make me feel better about myself—things like cooking elaborate homemade meals every night. Worst of all, I really lost any kind of vision for myself and what I wanted to do with my life.

Would I want to live through this time again? No. Am I thankful it happened? Absolutely. First, it inspired me to make some big changes—such as moving out of New York City, hiring a coach and committing to working out with a trainer once a week. And it got me to see two things—how completely tapped out so many women are feeling, especially in their parenting years, and how powerful even a couple minutes a day spent with the intention to hear what you really think can be.

What helped me find my way out was finding short and easy ways to relax and get quiet. It started by meditating while nursing the baby to sleep. It was 10 minutes every night of me, alone in a dark room, pretty much immobile. I realized I could either sit there and think about what I would do after the baby was sleeping, or I could be there, with him and with myself. So I started counting my exhales, and when I got to 10, I started again (this is still my most favorite basic meditation technique that I recommend to people who believe their brains are too busy to meditate).

Then I began thinking of my nightly sweeping session after both kids were asleep as meditation in motion; I tuned my attention to what my body was doing and afterward, I didn’t need the wine to calm down. I could sit and have a real conversation with my husband, and not just a complaint fest. The coach and the trainer came later, but the seeds of everything that has happened since—the books I’ve written, the coaching training I completed and the practice I launched—grew out of those initial few minutes a day.

Which is why I’m writing to you here, on the Acacia TV website. I’m on a mission to help women find the simple ways that work in even the busiest schedules to create peace of mind, clarity and inspiration. Because waiting until a “better time” means waiting to be happy and feel fulfilled. And life is short.

Thanks for reading this far, and I look forward to talking with you here each week!

Before you go, check out Kristin McGee’s Yoga Strength Workout and subscribe to Acacia TV!