Kate Riegle van West - The Power of Poi
In this episode we are excited to speak with Dr. Kate Riegle van West about her research on the health benefits of Poi.
Kate is a scientist, artist, and entrepreneur with a passion for play and wellbeing. She completed her PhD in the health benefits of poi at the University of Auckland, where she conducted the first study to scientifically investigate the effects of poi on physical and cognitive function in older adults. She was awarded the Future Leader Award from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Best Doctoral Thesis Award for her work in the poi/health field.
Kate shares about how she discovered poi through circus - and her early life growing up in a town called Normal, a small American town with a circus history.
She shares how a lack of published research was proving to be an obstacle in establishing programs in health settings, which along with the positive effects she noticed in her own brain and body, inspired her to move to Aotearoa New Zealand to conduct the first scientific study on the effects of poi on physical and cognitive function.
We talk about the differences between International Poi and Maori Poi and some of the considerations and challenges when researching and sharing practices from another culture, as well as how joining a Kapa Haka group has helped Kate reconnect with the joy of poi.
Spin Poi website: https://spinpoi.com/
Melbourne training: https://spinpoi.com/services/australia
Spinpoi on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/spinpoi/
Garden of Yoga website: https://gardenofyoga.com.au/