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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).

Mar 8, 2010


It's Monday night. I worked at home today. I did a nice long practice. And I spent a lot of time on the computer.

It's funny how my tolerance to and capacity for computer time has increased. I don't really notice it anymore. But I remember the first time I spent several hours in front of my computer screen. It was a few years ago. After spending that unprecedented length of time in front of the screen - probably 3 or 4 hours - I had a reaction. My eyes got bloodshot and I developed a bright red ring of inflamed skin around both eyes. I looked like a raccoon from hell. That would have been bad enough but on top of it I had to show up at the Anusura Certified teacher gathering the next day. I arrived at that event feeling acutely self-conscious and kept my eyes averted at all times.....wishing I had a burkah. I am sure I must have had a melt-down at some point during the week of the gathering - which probably did not do much to improve my evil-raccoon eyes..

This past week was intense. A few people near and dear to me had big melt-downs -- for good reasons. And at the end of the week my dad called my sister to report that he'd either had a stroke or pneumonia or both. She wanted to take him to the hospital but he said he was fine to drive since he figured he'd had the stroke for a few days already. No- he is not demented. He is stubborn. Sheesh! But in spite of that stubbornness and exhaustion and the anxiety he always has about my mother, there is something that stays steady and sweet about him. I think that it is the result of a life of practice -(he has always been steady and devoted in his faith and unwavering in his practice of prayer).

It turns out that he has acute bronchitis. I am not sure where the stroke fits in - but he doesn't "have one". One thing he does have is exhaustion. He has been the primary caretaker of my mom (who did have a stroke 3 years ago). And he is TIRED. And he will not complain or ask for help or even accept help. I think his wise old body had to generate something big - like a Pneumonia-Stroke - so that Dad would have to take a half-day off and spend it in the emergency ward.

In spite of Dad's pneumonia-stroke, and the truly hard circumstances of those near and dear ones I mentioned, everything else insisted on moving along as usual. On Saturday our advanced studies program met. We had another excellent day together. We spent time looking into Yoga history and philosophy and the Shiva Sutras. And of course we spent time practicing. Probably not enough. I'll have to get in more anatomy and therapeutics and asana next time.

These 15 students are all strong practitioners and strong students. They really exemplify the ideal of "bright mind, vibrant body and soft heart". They have a lot of capacity.....I mean the kind of capacity that comes from steady practice over a long period of time, with devotion (abhyasa).

My dad is a long-term practitioner (not of Yoga but of Catholicism) and an electrical engineer. From him I learned about capacity - both literally and metaphorically. When a system has greater capacity, more current can travel through the system without causing a short or a meltdown or overheating. More current = more light. (Something like that). Long term practitioners show that greater capacity.

Last week I met another long term practitioner - (again, not of Yoga but of Catholicism). Sister Celeste. She was clear light that does not waver. Chris and I both felt such presence and light coming from her even though the circumstances were very mundane. It was, for me, an inspiration to practice. I imagine that her life of prayer and devotion served to "amp up" her capacity so much that simply being around her is a blessing. Similar to being around my dad.

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