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Interview with a Healer – Kate Taylor

The Healing Network Editor, Olivia Wood, talks to Kate Taylor from Up Coaching, a creativity and empowerment coach, about Qoya, opening your heart and Practical Magic.

Time and Place: 15 September 2016, London, UK

Kate Taylor

OW: Do you describe yourself as a healer? 

KT: A healer and a teacher. I help people heal in terms of any challenges and emotional blocks that they have. I call the work that I do ‘Practical Magic’. I take the practical elements of coaching and NLP (neuro linguistic programming), and work with how we heal, using the wisdom of the body to break through and get over emotional blockages.

I also teach a movement practice called Qoya, which is also incredibly healing. It strips back layers of anything built up that doesn’t help you or work for you anymore. It gets you back to the essence of who you are.

How did you become a coach?

I was in the digital media world and I had been through a process of lots of things happening. I’d lost both of my parents, I’d been in a marriage I didn’t know I wanted to be in anymore, and a job I didn’t want to be in anymore. I had so many questions and no amount of white wine was helping answer!

It was nauseating. I didn’t trust my own judgment or intuition. It felt like everything I did was wrong – every decision I made was the wrong decision. That impacts everything after a while – your confidence, your ability…

I was having a massage one day and the therapist suggested seeing a coach. So I did. It helped to get everything that was in my head out, in front of me, and compartmentalize what was working and what wasn’t, what I could let go of and what I couldn’t. I found it so inspiring I realized I wanted to do this. I wanted to help people get out of being stuck and into their power.

When I came into coaching I made a lot of changes. I stepped away from the marriage, I moved out of London, bought a house by the sea (Brighton), left the advertising world and set out on my own. I jumped off a cliff! I’d found the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life, how I wanted to feel in my life, and whom I wanted to help.

You showcase many female creative talents on your website. Why females?

I’m a creative myself. I recognize that when you create, you put a bit of your soul into everything you do. If we give too much away to other people there’s nothing left for us.

Women, in general, give so much away. We feel we have to be the perfect person – the perfect mother, the perfect partner, the perfect friend, the perfect colleague. And by giving so much away, that there is no space left for us. There’s an epidemic of women reaching burnout right now.

Women need to put their oxygen masks on first so that they can do what they want in their life according to what feels good for them.

Are most of your clients creative?

Creativity means anything you want to create in your life. You can still be an accountant and be creative. It’s about living a creative life on your own terms. That’s whatever that means to you. Creativity is all about marching to the beat of your own drum.

How long is a typical session with a client and what does it entail?

My initial session looks at all areas of the client’s life – where he/she is now – and creating a goal of where they want to get to. This involves seeing, hearing, feeling and doing.

It’s like Christmas! They get to create a vision for what they want their life to be like. From there, sessions focus on how they’re going to accomplish that with practical life-coaching action steps and/or NLP.

What is NLP?

NLP works with the trigger points that cause challenges, blocks, and anxieties. It helps to get rid of blocks on an emotional, physical or spiritual level. It’s super powerful.

NLP strengthens the mind-body connection. It helps the body to deal with trigger points which may cause fear or anxiety. The experiences we’ve had, and everyday challenges can send messages to the brain to react in a certain way. NLP is like taking out one plug – one that doesn’t work for you – and plugging in with that which does. NLP exercises combine meta-language therapy, hypnotherapy exercise and talking therapy.

Mind-body connection is very important. I bring breathing work into every session. Taking notice of how people breathe and their body language helps tell me what’s going on for them. The body is holding everything that the mind is telling it to.

Kate Taylor

Kate giving an inspirational talk on Obonjan island about stepping into your power

You talk about removing the barriers holding you back from a life lived on your own terms. Do you mean limiting beliefs?

That’s 90% of what we have to smash – the mindset. People can do absolutely anything. The monkey mind, the chattering voice, the ego – that’s trying to keep us ‘safe’. These are the hurdles we need to work with. A lot of time there’s a huge amount of fear about making changes – what if it doesn’t work out? What if it does?

If something doesn’t work out first time I work with clients to get over that, and try again. The mind wants to give up. The ego wants to stay in ‘safety’. I’m like their cheerleader, and their challenger. If we settle with playing small we’ll get small; I have to constantly challenge that. I’m not their friend or family member, I come from completely non-judgmental place allowing them to explore all their hopes and fears in a safe and encouraging environment.

Do you take a holistic approach?

Yes, I look at the whole person’s life rather than just the career. Well-being is key. I work with a lot of high-powered women who are striving for a good work-life balance. This means not having your phone in bed right up until you go to sleep, and getting good sleep. If you’re reading emails at two o’clock in the morning then that’s a lot of where your problem lies.

Do you struggle with your own limiting beliefs in day-to-day life?

It’s always an on-going battle and that’s why I teach what I have to learn. But I’m a hell of a lot better than I used to be. I know that I can do anything that I want.

What is Qoya?

Qoya is amazing. It’s based on the idea that through movement we remember that we are wise, wild and free. Wise is the wisdom of Yoga; Wild is the creative expression of dance, and free is the pleasure of moving your body in sensual feminine movement. Each dance you go on a journey – a dance – in every session, peeling back the layers of who you are to get to your most essential self. I call it coaching using the body.

When I tried Qoya for the first time I was able to get back in touch with my body and true spirit and flow. There’s nothing more freeing.

How did you discover Qoya? (I hadn’t heard of it until staying on Obonjan island this summer, where Kate was leading Qoya sessions.)

Up until about a year ago I realized that I was stuck with energy in my body from past traumas (losing my parents, recovery from depression and the fallout of an abusive relationship). I felt like I was numb from the neck down, for a long time.

I had the perfect life from the outside – a great boyfriend, house by the sea, lovely dog, the perfect job doing what I most love in the world, but I felt stuck. I thought I might be depressed and I was terrified (I’d been there before, and I didn’t want to go back).

I didn’t know what I needed until I tried Qoya. I needed to get that energy shifted and flowing again. I needed to get back the mind-body connection as I was in my head all the time.

I’m one of three teachers in London now. I found myself in Costa Rica in January this year learning how to do it. It has literally made the biggest difference. I’ve travelled six inches from my head to my heart.

What advice can you give people facing barriers and blockages preventing them from living their most creative life?

It’s about getting clear when that monkey mind is chattering away, and what the ego is trying to tell you. The limiting belief is trying to tell you something. That could be to keep you safe, keep you where you are. It’s about listening to it and then taking a step back from it. This helps remove the feelings associated with it that make it debilitating. I work a lot with perspective shift.

Also, move your body. When you’re getting stuck in a thought, come back to breath. Always always. Conscious breathing such as alternate nostril breathing helps slow down the monkey mind, and come back to a state of presence.

How did the Power Pose come about?

From a Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy. It’s one of the most watched Ted talks ever. She talks about the power of posture to help with our self-confidence. When we open ourselves out (as women, particularly, we make ourselves small) into powerful physical body states, it increases testosterone and lowers the stress hormone cortisol. It makes us more physically, mentally and emotionally more power-full. It comes from our evolution, and you see it in the animal kingdom – when an animal wants to appear powerful it will make itself appear bigger.

Through mind-body connection when we feel more powerful we have more powerful thoughts, and can do more powerful things. It brings us to a state of presence, again.

Do you love yourself? 

Yes I do. It’s taken a lot of work. And I respect myself as well. I respect the journey that I’m on. I really live by my values, which are having creativity in my life, adventure, and fun. The fact that I’m honouring them means I’m bringing love to my life and that feels good. And that means I respect the person I am. When I can love myself fully and completely, it means that I can have true love and compassion for others.

Do you have a spiritual practice?

I meditate every morning and start the day with a few Qoya moves; opening my hips and my heart. Opening the hips opens up that Shakti energy, and opening the heart – well, why wouldn’t you?

What is the biggest challenge we face in the western society we live in today?

This epidemic of burnout wherein women are expected to be and are trying to be superheroes.

For example, Hillary Clinton is walking around with pneumonia today without sleep and that’s supposed to be a badge of honour. Donald Trump boasts about having four hours of sleep a night. Two people in power promoting that you have to be unhealthy to be successful is not good. I know people having mental and physical breakdowns and it doesn’t have to be like that.

That’s why retreats are so important. Taking time to rest, retreat and be you – working towards the things that validate you as a human being, not a human ‘doing’. And just giving yourself some space. Time to slow down to connect in with yourself. Recalibrating.

We’re living the life of ‘shoulds’ and I want to move away from that – away from what we think we should be doing and into our heart.

Can you leave us with your favourite mantra?

My own personal one is: ‘Everything is exactly as it needs to be in this present moment’. Whether it’s good or bad. It’s what it needs to be in terms of the journey I’m on. That brings me back into the present moment, where I realize I’ve got everything I need.

Kate offers free 30 minute discovery sessions via Skype. Get in touch via her website

Kate is co-running The Blush Love retreat this October (22-29th) in Portugal with Gail Schock. Set among 71 acres of permaculture guests will practice Kundalini Yoga and Qoya daily, with surfing and horseback riding on offer in between classes. Qoya teacher training will also be available for the first time in Europe.

For more information on Qoya head to