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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Jan 16, 2009


We have been in Mamallapuram now for a couple of days. When we arrived here after our night train from Madurai, we expected to continue to “rough it” (by western standards). The price we paid for our room was 1100 Rupees which is a mid-range, in-season price as far as we can tell, not a price that brings much in the way of comfort or cleanliness. So we were pretty surprised, when dawn arrived, to find ourselves in a very clean room in the middle of paradise. We are on the ocean and I think we are in the Indian equivalent of a gated community – a tourist enclave. I like it and also it feels all wrong.

Let me back up......for the last lot-of-years I have been thoroughly engaged in work and study and house-holding and parenting. I am a workaholic and I don't have any urge to change that about myself. But I have often, when stressed out or really tired, entertained random fantasies of easing into in some tropical location and just completely relaxing. I also often long to swim, in the ocean or in a pool. - but since I hate chlorine and the only ocean I've been near in 25 years is the cold Northern Pacific – I don't swim much.

So here we are – almost by accident - on the Bay of Bengal in an environment designed to help people relax, AND there's a non-chlorinated and very clean pool here. Looks like my random fantasies got fulfilled.

I should be blissed out, right? But instead I am uneasy – except when I'm really at ease. This feels wrong – except when it feel really good. I'm embarrassed to be here. But also I love it. Paradox sucks.

But, uneasy or not, we are here for a bit longer because we have a PLAN. Just a few days into traveling here, Eli began to regret that he hadn't booked his ticket to stay longer in India (and consequently not so long in Europe). I encouraged him to change it and Chris helped us re-book his ticket to Amsterdam. Eli will stay on in India on his own for a month after I leave. I think this is a great plan but/and along with the great plan comes some anxiety. We really have been great travel companions – helping each other out on a lot of levels. Traveling alone is going to be different. We both agreed that it would be a good idea for him to try out his independent travel wings while I'm still here. So tomorrow morning he is catching a bus. I'll stay put in Mamalapuram and we will meet back here in a couple of days.

While Eli is gone, I will catch up on my EH studies. I have with me both hard copy and audio study materials. I've been REALLY wanting to dig in and I have been studying some but with travel and all I feel like I've just been scratching the surface. I'm really looking forward to studying. It will be easier in a setting that is not so much work to be in. Also I have a study group call with Denise, Rainey and Sundari and I know I can Skype from here whereas in most of the places we've been that was not possible.

So Eli will take off and we'll see if my uneasiness – my feeling wrong about being in paradise in the middle of poverty = will recede when I occupy my mind with Work and Worry (I've already got myself scheduled to worry about Eli).


  1. Karen, you absolutely ROCK! And so do you Eli. In yoga all the way. best wish and much love, Darcy

  2. wow....sometimes I just have to smile at our quirky similarities because on the surface you and I are so different, lol. Workaholic with about 10 different kinds of work, and I schedule myself to worry about my kids all the time!! That's a great way to put it, lol

    by the way, I'm learning so much from this blog of yours, and Eli's. Thank you for continuing to teach us. Last night in your Thursday class we were working with the "heat of transformation" in honor of your Kali Puja experience. Wow, it was a strong practice!!

  3. Love those Para doxes:)!!
    Hey, when you get a spare minute, how DO you travel around India, avoid wheat, dairy & sugar & not lose wt.? I guess I would have to get over myself...self-concern I mean. Sounds like getting over self-concern in general is the way to enjoy India...again thanks for your offerings from the Motherland!!!!