In the latest of our profiles of women who have reinvented themselves in midlife, we talk to Kat Farrants who went from being a city lawyer to founding an online yoga studio you can access any time, any place and from the comfort of your own home.
An interview with Kat Farrants, founder of Movement for Modern Life
What made you decide to do what you do?
It was a perfect storm of coincidences. I had been a yoga nerd for years, doing some of the most complicated poses easily. But seven years ago, I was in a bad car accident which meant that I lost a lot of my movement for a long time. A couple of years after that, my husband and partner for 16 years left me very suddenly. It was like the rug was pulled from under my feet. I needed to re-start my life. But I’d always been a lawyer, and with all the changes, I just carried on doing what I was doing.
One day I was sitting in the office, just another unhappy day at work, and my boss made a passing comment that I was just a little too creative! That passing comment made me think to make a list. I made a list of the things I was good at. And the things I loved to do. And the things I was doing in my job. Those lists didn’t even vaguely coincide! I gave in my notice that day. I knew that I could be doing something meaningful. I went on a quest to work out what it was that I should do. I knew that I wanted to do something to do with yoga, as my experience of how yoga had helped me get through the road accident and divorce was just amazing. Yoga really helped me transform my life and I suddenly realised how very useful the practice was, even though I’d been doing it for years!
The third sad event that sealed exactly what I’d do was when a year later my beloved dog, who had seen me through divorce, got very ill. I went to live in the countryside for her to get better. And suddenly I couldn’t access my yoga teachers! I got a DVD, which was boring and terrible value. I looked on-line and there were no teachers as good as mine had been, the teachers of the teachers in London. So I just started to call my favourite teachers and find out who would be videoed. To my surprise, they agreed! And the rest is history!!
Why did you wait until you did to make the change?
I don’t think I had the confidence beforehand and I think I needed the ‘push’ of life events to change around me, so I literally had nothing to lose when I made the change, finally!
What are you hoping to accomplish?
I’d love for everybody to be able to just practice a few minutes of conscious breathing and movement work each day and feel transformed.
How did you make the change? What or who helped you?
I did yoga nidra. That was the absolute secret. I was able to access what my heart of hearts told me. I practised every day for a year when I was leaving my job as a lawyer and it was this that gave me my strength of resolve and knowledge of myself to find and follow my dream.
How did your family and friends react?
They were surprised and shocked at first. And a few friends helpfully pointed out how hard it is to run your own business. But to be honest, I wasn’t hearing any of it. I was like a terrier with a stick and wasn’t letting go of this idea!
How has your life changed having gone down this path?
I don’t have to wear a suit and go into the city every day doing a job I don’t really like. I work much longer hours, but my work usually doesn’t feel like work! I largely work around my own timetable and do yoga at any time I like and walk the dogs. I work with people I like, doing something I love. I’m incredibly happy with this path.
What advice do you have for women considering a similar life change?
See if you can find out what your heart of hearts says your path is. Don’t follow anybody else’s opinions or ideas, just get to know yourself and what your special skill is.
What do you love most about being the age you are?
I love that I know myself well now, I know how to keep happy and what I love to do. I’m much more confident to just go out and do those things I need to do, whether it’s working late, doing yoga, taking a walk in nature, having an early night or a night out with friends, and I’m now unapologetic about getting my needs met before I can take care of others.
What do you hate most about being the age you are?
It’s just weird having a face that doesn’t look as energetic as I feel inside!
What do you know now that you wish you’d known in your twenties?
I wish I’d known the yoga nidra techniques to find out my inner voice and have the courage to follow my heart. I wish I’d had a quieter, deeper yoga practice, rather than the very energetic vinyasa style I used to practice. It might have deepened my understanding of myself.
Do you have a mantra that has guided you more than any other?
Listen to your heart!
Which woman do you most admire and why?
Maya Angelou. For being so compassionate, such an amazing writer, activist and for always being guided by her big spirit.
Is there anything people consistently misunderstand about you?
They think that I can do yoga all day. Unfortunately I run a business most of the day!
How can Mutton Club readers find out more about what you do?
You may also like Midlife Reinvention, Yoga For Menopause – 7 Reasons Why It’s Great, Yoga In Midlife Is The Answer!, and Tao Prchon-Lunch, World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher at 98.