Based in Mar Vista, a small but active neighborhood in Los Angeles’ westside, Light On Lotus Yoga has become home to many yogis, fostering connection and support for the neighborhood community and beyond. We asked founder, owner, & creative director Kate Duyn to share her own yoga journey as well as her thoughts on the evolution of her studio.
KATE'S PERSONAL JOURNEY
Kate started dancing ballet at age 8 and moved into modern and contemporary dance at Mills College. When she was dancing in New York City, she started practicing yoga to help keep her balanced in her body and injury-free. Her yoga teacher at the time, Suzi, fatefully encouraged her to check out an upcoming teacher training at Laughing Lotus with Dana Flynn and Jasmine Tarkeshi, and Kate dove right in heart first.
After landing in Los Angeles in 2009, she quickly became acquainted with the city, teaching at studios and gyms across the Southland. She has led annual 200 Hour Teacher Trainings for more than a decade, including retreats and trainings nationally and internationally, and has been streaming online since 2010 on yogisanonymous.com. Kate branched out on her own in 2016 to open Light On Lotus Yoga, where she continues to teach and lead teacher trainings, curating mindful movement with a deep commitment to the roots of yoga.
STUDIO BEGINNINGS & GROWTH
Kate opened Light On Lotus in 2016 after her LA yoga home, Exhale Center for Sacred Movement, closed. She realized that she wanted to get more grounded, involved and invested in the neighborhood she lives in and create a space that could be home to both a sweaty and spiritual practice–all in one place.
LOL began as an intimate studio with a second story practice space on Grandview in Mar Vista. After a fire started behind the stove of the neighboring restaurant in March of 2019, they were forced to relocate. Exactly a year later the pandemic hit, and Kate took a big leap of faith to take over a much bigger space. This allowed them to practice outdoors in the fresh air and sunlight. They were also able to bring back a wellness wing with two treatment rooms for acupuncture, massage, and reiki.
The studio has a special warmth and accessibility that feels like an old-school yoga studio, as if there is an ongoing conversation amongst the practitioners. There is something for everyone, an offering for all ages and abilities including yin, restorative, prenatal yoga, kirtans and sound baths. It’s also an especially beautiful space with a lot of natural light, hanging plant friends, an outdoor garden studio, and interesting details.
In the last few years, they have added a variety of monthly specialty offerings to the calendar including Kirtans, Sound Baths, Feet UP Friday (an inversion workshop), CannaBliss (restorative yoga enhanced with plant medicine), and most recently, Breathwork.
Kate leads a class in the spacious, light-filled studio that also opens up to an outdoor practice space.
“I have witnessed the community naturally evolve over time into a very sweet and supportive space for people to come to manage and process the stresses of life and turbulent times we have experienced collectively over the past several years,” shares Kate. Light On Lotus was able to remain open for in-person classes in their outdoor garden studio during the second shutdown, and the studio became a haven for people that were burnt out online and desperately needed connection and support.
A beautiful garden studio allows students to practice outdoors.
Kate is inspired by many different sources; nature, music, animals, other teachers, the yogic texts, contemporary writers like Mark Nepo, Tara Brach, Nischala Joy Devi, Twyla Tharp, and Anne Lamott, the people in her life, and her personal practice at home on her mat.
Kate has dedicated 20 years to her practice and profession and will forever be a student of yoga and movement. Her classes are known for their creative, thoughtful sequencing, free flowing athleticism, and soulfulness. Kate’s students gravitate to her playful and nurturing style. She’s easily recognized by her welcoming smile and frequent laughter, all while guiding students to new depths within their own practice. Kate weaves yoga philosophy, mantra, pranayama, meditation, and movement (often drawing upon her dance background) into a rich and heartfelt experience. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she has lived and taught in New York, San Francisco, and currently resides in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles with her son.