Skip to main content


Behind the scenes with Katelin Gallagher

Yoga and relaxation instructor

Katelin-Main

Ecampus instructor Katelin Gallagher, pictured above in a screenshot from an online class, teaches yoga and relaxation classes online by using a variety of techniques, including video.

By Heather Doherty  
Oct. 31, 2017

Yoga and relaxation instructor Katelin Gallagher believes that in order to teach yoga, one must also be doing yoga, which is why she continuously keeps up on her skills by actively practicing, including recently attending a month-long meditation retreat during the summer. In addition to teaching at Oregon State since 2014, she also teaches for the City of Corvallis and Linn-Benton Community College, as well as at the Live Well Studio in Corvallis. She holds a variety of specialized yoga training certifications, and earned a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Campaign. She is currently working on earning a Master of Arts in Applied Ethics from Oregon State.


Briefly describe your role as an Ecampus instructor.

“I’ve had the great pleasure of developing two online courses, Yoga I (PAC 294) and Relaxation (PAC 201). The initial development process, which included curriculum and content creation, was supported by Drew Olson and Sarah Brabham of the Ecampus team. We worked closely for several weeks to create original content – mainly audio and video – for each course. On a day-to-day basis, I facilitate these courses, which involves communicating with students, grading and refreshing the course content as needed. My favorite part of this work is connecting with students from around the country (and sometimes the globe)! I love hearing their stories about starting a yoga or relaxation practice, working together to find a solution to a practice problem or discussing how to work with the practices after the term is over.”

Describe the methods you use to teach yoga and relaxation in an online environment.

“I use several methods to explore these topics. The first and primary method is experiential learning. Every week, students take part in several new practices, such as learning new yoga postures, breath techniques or a new meditation. Furthermore, my relaxation students participate in an offline activity each week, which might include connecting more with loved ones or deliberately taking some time out in nature. All of these experiences are followed by reflection and analysis so that they can determine how the practices work in their lives and which practices are most (or least) effective for them personally. Another important method I employ in both courses is a contemplative pedagogy. Contemplative learning methods utilize mindfulness, compassion and reflection in support of a student’s study of themselves and their humanity.” 

Caption

“As a teacher, one of the most important things that I do is continue to be a student and a learner. I pursue academic and contemplative study with those who inspire me on an ongoing basis,” Katelin says. Photo courtesy Andrew Ould.

What inspired your career path?

“I began practicing yoga in college. I was a dual molecular biology and dance major. One of my dance professors was also an accomplished yogi. Unexpectedly, the only thing that ‘stuck’ after graduation was the yoga! I worked for many years as a senior editor for a web publishing company, while also doing extensive yoga training. I knew that I wanted to return to the university setting eventually to integrate my love of yoga with my love of learning. I moved to Corvallis seven years ago, and soon began to teach yoga at OSU. I wanted to return to the university as an instructor and a student, and as such I am finishing up my Master of Arts in Applied Ethics degree with a focus on Buddhism and yoga philosophies. Drew Ibarra, the director of the PAC department, saw an opportunity to blend my web editorial skills with my passion for teaching yoga. He asked me to develop an online yoga course. I was skeptical at first, but it quickly became (and remains) one of my favorite projects.”

You recently went on a month-long meditation retreat and have spent more than 1,000 hours training with asana teachers. Describe the importance of this continuous training, and how you relay what you’ve learned to the students you teach.  

“As a teacher, one of the most important things that I do is continue to be a student and a learner. I pursue academic and contemplative study with those who inspire me on an ongoing basis. I also maintain a personal contemplative practice that informs my curriculum and teaching style. I believe that in order to teach yoga, one must be doing yoga, which is an activity and practice that takes place much beyond the confines of a rectangular exercise mat.”

“I believe that in order to teach yoga, one must be doing yoga, which is an activity and practice that takes place much beyond the confines of a rectangular exercise mat.”

How does this class and the techniques you teach benefit students?

“I think students appreciate getting to explore their humanity in these online classes. While we engage academic and intellectual study – the PAC classes are more heavily focused on experience and reflection.”

How do you build a genuine connection with students who, in many cases, you’ll never meet in person?

“My favorite part of the yoga course is connecting with students for a once per term 1:1 video or phone chat. It’s during this 15 to 20-minute appointment that I get to hear how the practices are working in their lives, while I’m also happy to answer specific and more personalized questions they may have about their practice. My favorite part of the Relaxation course is reading students’ weekly ‘activities.’ In addition to practicing relaxation several times per week, the course also guides students to participate in well-being activities, such as devising an exercise routine or performing a ‘distraction reduction experiment.’ It’s an honor to read and respond to the personal stories that I encounter through these reflective assignments.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *