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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).

Apr 7, 2009


OK - time to stop procrastinating. I have not posted for a while - but now am feeling a more insistent push to get back to it. This might have been exacerbated by one of my "blog readers" asking me if I had died. I told him I wasn't sure, but I thought I was still alive and that I would try to post a blog soon.

First of all, I have to say that the whole experience of India continues to work on me deeply. since coming home I have been in an ongoing and deep and surprising process of assimilation. But I'm not going to write about that right now. Instead I'll tell you what I've been up to in my Yoga life since India - and that will also make it obvious why I haven't been posting.

I've been back to work for 5 weeks during which time I taught half of the Level III Immersion in Coeur d'Alene, the full week-long Level I Immersion in Boise and a weekend workshop at Harmony Yoga in Spokane. I LOVED every part of all of those "gigs". I have also been keeping up with my weekly teaching commitments at Garden Street as well as my study and practice commitments. About study and practice: I am keeping my long-term, ongoing commitments to asana, pranayama, meditation and study. But now I also have an added level of study and practice as I progress through this year of study with Paul Muller Ortega. People warned me it would be "a lot" - and it is. I spend 2- 3 hours daily on study, written contemplation, mantra and sutra memorization and meditation. I LOVE it more than I can say - its feeding me deeply. But I don't have much time for posting a quality blog.

So - I've decided to skip the quality and just post something.

Recently I have gotten a lot of calls from potential students looking for Hot yoga. My understanding is that Hot yoga is a derivative of Bikram Yoga. It is usually done in a Hot Room, accompanied by music. It doesn't typically include much alignment instruction since the goal is to keep moving and not interrupt the steadiness of movement and building of heat.

I think its great that people are turning to yoga to get a workout because it can certainly be that and because I fully embrace the possibility of finding God and Bliss in the body and through the body. So I try to direct these caller to various gyms and teachers and hope they find a good fit. And I feel so grateful that I teach and practice a style of Yoga which supports - demands in fact - that I teach alignment, AND a strong Asana practice AND the spiritual & philosophical aspects of the practice. Since Garden Street is thriving, I don't get pushed by economic pressure to wonder if I should waver and try to meet what I perceive to be market demand. I feel sort of Blissed out, just sitting here typing about it.
Thank you Anusara! Thank you Yoga! Thank you Garden Street Kula!

Here's another thing - I have been contemplating how to "be" with Yoga Asana as it's been more and more embraced by the fitness culture. It can be a little confusing, you know? This contemplation has been going on for a while and has yeilded some wonderful fruit in the form of a freshness of vision and commitment to the teachings of Yoga and the principles of Anusara which invite the Presence of Shakti, the circulation of the Sacred, in me - as me, in my students, as my students. When I teach those techniques and principles, I can hold open a door to Bliss for any level of student. There is just No Problem here. When I waver or am in doubt, I remind myself to teach to tenderness, not brittleness - whether I'm teaching a hot and challenging practice or a cool and gentle one.

One more thing,
The Spokane Inlander recently had a "Best of Yoga Studios" contest. Harmony Yoga came in First and Radha Yoga came in third. Radha Yoga was my introduction to Yoga when I was 17 (36 years ago) and Ally (Harmony Yoga) and I were both passionately pursuing Yoga and beginning our teaching of Yoga in Spokane 22 + years ago. It is a joy to see them honored - they deserve it. But I have to say, some pretty amazing yoga teachers and studios did not get honored. This has led me into a lot of "chewing" on the whole phenomenon of a competition for Best of Yoga. I experience so much Bliss around the study, practice and teaching of Yoga. Bliss, in the Yoga world, is called Ananda and it is without limit. Ananda is Wild, unbounded. Ananda is the Breath of the Sacred, the Goddess dancing for her own delight. I think its a little embarrassing to make Her enter a beauty contest.

Love and Bliss --and Thanks for checking to see if I was dead!


  1. I knew you were alive and kicking! I apprectiate reading your blog since I'm unable to see you on a weekly basis, it helps me feel connected to you and Anusara all the way over here in Missoula!

  2. i read a quality blog just now Karen, you don't even know how to write a non-quality blog! heehee

  3. Karen, we are all so glad you are not dead! Bliss, to me is one of those "Shri Ladies" who when asked, poses momentarily with lips pursed and cheekbones sucked in, then laughs and sits down on the curb to speak to the Homeless Baba or hops in with the child in the sandbox or goes just whereever she damn well pleases. The joke is on whoever thinks she can be reined in!