Photography by Morgan Pansing
Katya! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I'm a mama of two rapidly-growing girls, a native Angelino, a natural medicine enthusiast, a never-ending student of myself, an equal lover of dining out and cooking in, and an amateur tennis player. I'm also an acupuncturist and herbalist with over 14 years of experience in women's health, fertility and postpartum support.
What drew you to Chinese Medicine?
Initially I was drawn to Chinese Medicine as a patient. I was having terrible lower back pain in my early 20's and was completely disenchanted with my western doctor's approach to healing. I never wanted to be on pain killers or muscle relaxers, but that was essentially all that was being offered to me. My very first acupuncture appointment opened my eyes to how integrated the whole body is and how taking a holistic approach to healing felt so much more congruous. From there, I enrolled at Yo San University to get my Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine. After working in an integrated gynecology hospital in Chengdu, China, I knew I wanted to make women's health my focus and specialty.
What rituals are important to you to keep you grounded during uncertain times?
I have a little altar in my bedroom. On it are symbols of each of the Five Elements (Wind, Water, Earth, Wood and Fire) to support my internal balance. I have a few photos of people I love, a deck of Gabby Bernstein's cards, a few little clay treasures my kids have made, a handful of special crystals, and a ton of purifying good-smelling stuff to burn. I try to make time for a daily sit at my alter, to burn sage or palo santo, and breathe or meditate. Sometimes it's how I greet the day, sometimes it becomes an evening ritual, and sometimes just acknowledging it in passing is enough to connect me to my highest self.
Is there a trick of the trade you want to share with our readers on how to recenter on a hard day?
My patients hear me recommend this All. The. Time. Laying for a few minutes with legs up the wall can be an immediate reset. Seeing the world from a different perspective, feeling the safety of the low back melting into a supportive surface, experiencing a new gravitational flow... it reminds me of how little it can actually take to change things inside and around us.
What would you say to someone who has been thinking of trying acupuncture but may be hesitant?
It certainly can't hurt. At best, acupuncture can open the doors to a whole new way of understanding your body and feeling your best. At worst, it will reset your nervous system, release a ton of endorphins, and you may even get a sweet nap out of it.
How do you define your personal style?
My style is all about what makes me feel good, in every respect. I feel good when the fabric on my skin is cozy and soft. I feel good when I'm supporting brands with ethical practices I respect, run by women I admire. And I feel good when I glance at myself in the mirror and like what I see.
Why do you wear Rachel Pally?
All of the above! I adore Rachel for her spirit and bright light. Supporting working moms is so important to me and she's one of the best. I love that she embraced local manufacturing and inclusive sizing before it was trendy. I love the inviting fabrics her pieces are made of. My days usually include a transition from mom-mode to work-mode and (pre-covid) social-mode (RIP). Rachel Pally pieces have that unique vibe that makes them feel completely appropriate for all three.
What are your favorite RP pieces?
So many! RP jumpsuits probably make up 30% of what I wear. I love that she really understands the torso of petite (i.e short!) women and her jumpsuits fit me better than all of the others I've tried on. I have the Shelby, the Rocco and multiple Button Front jumpsuits. They are perfect for every season and even after dozens of wears, they still look new. I love the Abbie dress so much that I even chose to wear it in my family photos this year. It combines everything I want to feel - a little sexy, a little casual, a little cozy. I'm obsessed with the Brea jacket because it combines the sharpness of a blazer with the softness of an easy sweater. The perfect yin yang!
Name 3 favorite ways you find inspiration.1. My girls. The biggest teachers, expanders, and gurus there ever were.
2. The beach. Its vastness, the tumultuous waves, and fluctuating tides remind me that everything constantly changes.
3. My community of brave, creative friends that constantly inspire me to grow, evolve, take risks, and believe in myself.
To learn more about Katya and her Accupuncture practice, visit https://www.spiritgatela.com/