Katee Sackhoff was practicing yoga before it was trendy, but not because she wanted to.
As a teenager growing up in Oregon, swimming was her first love until she injured both her knees. Part of the physiotherapy required Sackhoff to do yoga stretches.
“I didn’t want to sit in a room and have to focus,” says the “Battlestar Galactica” co-star. “I wanted to be out playing in a soccer game or doing something crazy, and I was inside doing yoga with a bunch of old women.”
Despite an unpleasant introduction to the ancient Hindu spiritual practice, Sackhoff kept with it. When she was 19 and living in New York, she started doing the style of yoga called Bikram, which consists of 26 postures and two breathing exercises that are performed at sauna-room temperatures.
“To me it’s actually working out. I feel it. Your muscles shake hard, and your heart rate is going a million miles a minute,” Sackhoff says.
She attributes the breathing techniques learned in the intense heat to helping her push harder on her 10-mile runs every Sunday. Bikram also keeps her limber, which helps her in her role as Captain Kara “Starbuck” Thrace on “Galactica.” She is able to perform stunts without pulling a hamstring, as one of her co-stars recently did.
So where does this passion for yoga come from?
“I’m really competitive, and the thing with yoga is that no matter how long you go, there’s always a new challenge to it because you can always push yourself a little bit farther,” Sackhoff explains.
Besides the physical health benefits, there are mental health ones Sackhoff derives from her yoga practice that help her to deal with the sometimes insane nature of the entertainment industry.
“It forces you to center yourself and be present,” says Sackhoff. “I think that anything that helps people be more present in Hollywood is probably a good thing.”