I grew up in Lawrence, MA – a tough little city located 25 miles north of Boston along the Merrimack River. When I was 12 years old, my mother was murdered. This loss ignited within me a quest for truth, peace and nonviolence – that gradually but inevitably led me to yoga.
I was an incredibly curious kid – always wanting to understand everything and everybody around me. I’ve been told that my mantra when I was little was “Why mom? Why mom? Why mom?” I’ve been in love with books for as long as I can remember and started writing when I was about 13. I was an athlete all throughout my childhood – started playing softball around the age of 5. I was introduced to yoga in 1988 during my sophomore year at Boston University. After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles where I became a personal trainer and played women’s baseball for coach Mike Boyd (brother of Red Sox pitcher – “Oil Can” Boyd).
In 1994, while living in LA, I stumbled across the book, A Return to Love – by Marianne Williamson. It literally fell off the shelf and at my feet but that’s another story for another time. The teachings in Marianne’s book, which are reflections on A Course in Miracles, opened a door to forgiveness and profound healing. A few years later, I was blessed to live and work closely with Marianne, who became my spiritual mom, mentor and friend.
I explored yoga on my own and learned through fantastic books (like Erich Schiffman’s) until I traveled to Egypt with Marianne on a two-week spiritual pilgrimage. Marianne’s friend who was a yoga teacher was also on the trip and she invited me to practice with her.
We rolled out our mats right across from the Great Pyramids of Giza. The dynamic energy of mystical Egypt combined with the postures, breath, meditation and chanting was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had. Both Marianne and A Course in Miracles continue to guide and deeply inspire both my life and my teaching.
In 1998, I moved back to the East Coast and in 2001, I received my yoga teacher training from Kripalu. Inspired to be of service and share yoga with as many people as I could, I created “The Yoga Show with Karen” on Concord TV. For the past 12 years, I’ve been hosting “The Yoga Show with Karen” which brings free yoga into the homes, lives and community of over 15,000 residents, businesses and institutions in Concord, NH – seven days a week.
I founded Quest Yoga in January 2003. A few months later, I did my teacher training in the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga with David Swenson and Shelly Washington. I also completed my Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training.
My teaching style has been described as warm, authentic and totally down to earth. I infuse my FEARLESS FLOW YOGA classes with joy, intention, devotion to the Divine and a playful sense of humor. My classes, workshops, YTT modules and writing salons are deeply rooted in this one simple belief: Teach Only Love – For That is What You Are. I’m passionate about encouraging others to be curious, to move beyond limited thinking and to ultimately trust themselves. My intention is to guide students through an experience of courage, compassion, possibility and faith. I hope to inspire people to choose Love over Fear, to Forgive Their Humanity and Stand In Their Divinity and to always honor the teacher that resides within their own heart. When teaching and sharing yoga or writing, my aim is for Serenity, Strength and Spirit to become One.
I love leading my specialty workshops like Yoga & Writing and The Yoga of Forgiveness and it’s a true passion of mine to share the Art of Yoga Assisting through workshops, weekend immersions and YTT modules with various Yoga Teacher Trainings throughout New Hampshire. I’ve had lots of fun being a presenter at NH Yoga for Peace, Boston Yoga & Chant Fest and Wanderlust. I also recently had a ton of fun being a NH Yoga Ambassador for the Michael Franti SoulShine Tour.
I’m one of the founders of the NH YOGA RETREAT ~ a super fun weekend immersion that I co-created with three of my beloved friends. At our 1st Annual Retreat in 2014, we hosted 70 yogis from all across NH, MA & RI. It was a magical weekend and we’re already taking registrations for our 2nd Annual Retreat in 2015!
I’ve had a blast working with some of NH’s most talented and dedicated athletes. My Yoga for Athletes classes were originally created for my friend and Ironman Triathlete, Sean Snow. Since 2010, I’ve been proud to be the yoga teacher for the Manchester Monarchs Hockey Team (the AHL affiliate to the LA Kings) and I love sharing the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of yoga with athletes of all kinds.
I began my Thai Yoga Massage training with Kam Thye Chow, at the Lotus Palm School in Montreal and continued to study extensively with my teacher Shai Plonski, founder of the Still Light Centre in Toronto. In 2008, I became a certified Thai Yoga Practitioner. I now assist Thai Yoga workshops and trainings with Shai at the beautiful Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY and in early 2015, I will begin offering Thai Yoga Trainings here in NH!
I completed my Spiritual Mentoring training with Rev. Stephanie Rutt, Director of The Tree of Life School for Sacred Living. I’ve also been mentoring Yoga Teachers for many years. My approach to mentoring is down to earth and straight forward. I’m all about the love and support (I’ll be your biggest cheerleader) – but I’m also going to give you a little kick in the ass when necessary. I’ve been called a “fierce fairy godmother”. Ha!
I’m passionate about being a student, so I’ve been lucky to learn from a kaleidoscope 0f powerful teachers from diverse traditions. The list is too long to write out here but I must acknowledge: the beloved Sri Dharma Mittra – whose grace and compassion has forever changed me and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois along with his grandson Sharath Rangaswamy. Some other beautiful teachers that have left a deep impression on me for their own beautiful reasons: Natasha Rizopoulos, Manoj Chalam, Leslie Kaminoff, Kathryn Budig and Devarshi Steven Hartman – Thank you.
Although my learning from Swami Kripalu and Eknath Easwaran comes posthumously through lineage and tradition, books, videos and stories – their wisdom is no less important or influential in my life and teaching. I will forever be indebted to Bapuji and Sri Easwaran for their heartfelt, compassionate teachings on how to bring the Divine and Love into everyday living.
I’m also a writer, inspirational speaker, workshop leader and certified Gateless Writing Teacher. I’m a longtime member of the New Hampshire Writer’s Project. I’m grateful to have been guided in the past by my wonderful writing coach Sarah Lovett and to have studied with Barbara Abercrombie, Nancy Slonim Aronie, Natalie Goldberg, Mel Allen and Mary Carroll Moore. It was an honor to learn from the fabulous Les Standiford at the Writer’s in Paradise Conference at Eckerd College, where I was awarded honorable mention for Best of Nonfiction. In January 2014, I was blessed to spend eight incredible days studying with the one and only Andre Dubus III. I’m currently working on a memoir – the first 25 pages of which, was just published in the 2014 SABAL Literary Journal.
I’m super excited to be leading a week-long YOGA & WRITING workshop at the amazing Omega Institute - May 17-22, 2015. This workshop combines two of my great passions and I’m deeply honored to be sharing them at one of my favorite spiritual centers.
I’m an animal lover, vegan and supporter of animal rescue and animal rights. I believe that all beings deserve to live happily and freely from cruelty and suffering. I’m the lucky mom of seven furry kids. Our pack of four dogs, two cats and a crazy bunny are one of my greatest joys in this lifetime.