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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).

Nov 27, 2009

Real Food

Today is sweet and quiet. Chris and his mother and I are home.....reading, writing, talking, resting.

Today I have been working on a letter to the oh-so-bright group of students who will be commencing the Advanced Immersion with me in January. I am SO LUCKY to be able to work with this group - almost all of whom have been my students in the regular Immersion format.

And I am so lucky to teach Yoga in a way that is not a compromise. I am certainly not an authority - not by a long shot - on what is the true essence of Yoga. But I also know that popular culture has commodified Yoga in a big way and made it a business model. Part of that business model has included the following phenomenon: many people take up the practice of Yoga so they can get fit & teach teach Yoga - like enrolling in a combination gym & trade school. It seems to me that what comes of this is often times empty - kind of like junk food - empty calories. Also there is this curious situation happening where "everybody is a Yoga teacher". That's only a problem if those same "everybodies" are not established first in sadhana (steady practice over a long period of time with devotion). What comes from sadhana - (Real practice) - and kula - (Real community of practice) is Real food.

In my own studies lately, my important teachers have been conveying the following message in different ways: ”Do not study to teach.” “Do not engage in the habit of ‘learn it today, teach it tomorrow’ ”. Recently, when I was studying with Lee, he talked about the teaching of Yoga in a culture which has made it quite superficial --- all about having a great body..... "looking good, going nowhere." He said that if we (his students who teach Yoga) ever find that we are not doing well enough financially to teach Yoga in a way that does not compromise its essence, we should stop teaching Yoga.

So........I have been very blessed with circumstances over a long period of time that have allowed me to practice Yoga and study with good teachers and only very gradually begin to teach. I've not felt hurried or harried to 'get more" fast food into my shopping cart for my waiting students. Things are different now and I think many new yoga teachers really do feel hurried and harried in that way. I'm really just trying to hold steady against the strong current of popular culture and encourage others into the "Real food" approach to Yoga.

Anyway, I wrote a letter to the upcoming Advanced Immersion group explaining that we would be deepening into practice, study and contemplation in the context of a strong
Kula – community of study and practice. The study and practice requirements are significant: Meditation – Asana – Contemplation – Reading – Writing. This group is amazing so I know it's going to be an amazing year.

As for me, did I mention? I am grateful beyond telling to be able to do my work with students who like Real food.

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