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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).

May 29, 2011

Life is Right in Any Case

"Knowing Love, I will allow all things to come and go, to be as subtle as the wind and take everything that comes with great courage. As my teacher would say to me: 'Life is right in any case'.
My heart is as open as the sky"

~~~A quote from the final scene of the movie Kamasutra: A Tale of Love directed by Mira Nair.

This morning we had the Led Advanced Practice at Garden Street, using a sequence that I got from John Friend at his Advanced Intensives that I attended 3 years ago.   I love leading the advanced practices even though it is no longer my way of practicing at home.  The advanced practice is similar to how I learned from John in all those early years studying with him at Inner Harmony.  That period of time was huge for me -  transformative on all levels.  We would sweat our way through all the level II and III poses (not to say that I personally managed them all!).  Since then - and especially in the last 3 years - it took me some time and contemplation to let my practice evolve the way it has wanted to evolve - (and not to worry that I am becoming "soft" or being "left behind" as the Yoga Culture at Large gets ever more extravagantly athletic.).  Now I am more likely to spend a good amount of time in inversions, do more pranayama - often woven in with asana -  and practice a full range of basic asana with to keep my body awake and to stay clear of "sensory motor amnesia" (thank you Katie and somatics for that term!)

The Bhairava Tantra verse 65 says, "All this world and indeed your very own body, is made of bliss".  I'm am interested in bliss.  I love asana and how it can release enfolded bliss.  And although I practice my way to bliss differently now, I have many students who are ready, willing and able to, as John Friend used to say, "take it to the next level".  I know how to help them get there.  In my teaching I facilitate openings into the big poses - (kapinjilasana last practice and scorpion this practice) even though these poses don't sing out to me the way they used to.  Until lately, I wasn't sure it was possible to teach with enthusiasm those things that I am not currently practicing with enthusiasm.  It is possible.  I love the Light that opens in students when they take it to the next level.  I love to help people into kapinjilasana - becasue of what I see open in them when they get there. Bliss. That is worth everything.

On a loosely related note:
The house is empty for the first time in a couple of months.  I used to scheme ways to be in the house alone. But now - with a probability of many years alone or semi-alone in the house looming before me - I miss my people.

Chris is on an intensive retreat for 10 days.  Eli and Emmanuelle are spending a farewell evening together in Spokane at a nice hotel (Chris and I booked them at the Lusso)  Leo is camping with his good friends Charlie & Rory and 3 "pals" who happen to be female soccer players from Charlie's college soccer team.  Interesting!

After the house emptied out, I spent a long time cleaning the kitchen, clearing out the fridge, composting all the stuff that was going "off" (pickled fig, red cabbage, canned peaches, bleu cheese - yes, bleu cheese really can get too blue -- apple butter, and several other overly-long-retained odds and ends).  I spent almost 3 hours on this as well on laundry. Then I took a bath -- following through on the major cleaning theme.  Afterward I sat to meditate.  In meditation, what rose up was a deep and tender sadness about how fast things are going.  I often feel like I am missing the mark - not keeping up with the speed of Love these days.   And, as sometimes happens in my meditation,  the reservoir of my heart broke open and poured outward through my eyes (tears).  Another cleaning out.  And then I touched that which abides - that which does not mold and decay -- Bliss.

Afterward I got up - opened one of my poetry books randomly - and this is what I found.

by Mary Oliver
This morning
two birds
fell down the side of the maple tree
like a tuft of fire
a wheel of fire
a love knot
out of control as they plunged through the air
pressed against each other
and I thought
how I meant to live a quiet life
how I meant to live a life of mildness and meditation
tapping the careful words against each other
and I thought—
as though I were suddenly spinning like a bar of silver
as though I had shaken my arms and lo! they were wings—
of the Buddha
when he rose from the green garden
when he rose in his powerful ivory body
when it turned to the long dusty road without end
when he covered his hairs with ribbons and the petals of flowers
when he opened his hands to the world


  1. Knowing Love, I will allow all things to come and go, to be as subtle as the wind and take everything that comes with great courage. As my teacher would say to me: 'Life is right in any case'.
    My heart is as open as the sky" - If u can help me know the meaning.

    I mean what Maya wanted to say is she ready again for physical relationship?

    1. Recently I saw the movie, but not able to understand end of movie by these statement. I am looking on internet for meaning but with no luck I am asking question to you.

  2. She has new spiritual freedom? That is all I can find...