ABOUT KK

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I grew up in Lawrence, MA – a tough little city located 30 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 which, gradually but inevitably, led me to yoga, Marianne Williamson and A Course in Miracles.

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 waitressed, became a personal trainer and played women’s baseball for coach Mike Boyd (brother of Red Sox pitcher – “Oil Can” Boyd).

 

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In 1994, while living in LA, I stumbled across the book,  A Return to Love – by Marianne Williamson. It literally fell off the shelf at my feet at a bookstore in Burbank 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 meet, live and work closely with Marianne, who became my “spiritual mom”, mentor and beloved friend.

Moving into Stillness

I explored yoga on my own and learned through fantastic books (like Erich Schiffman’s – Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness) 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.

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We rolled out our mats right across from the Great Pyramids of Giza. The dynamic energy of mystical Egypt combined with yoga was one of the most powerful experiences I’d ever had.

 

Both Marianne and A Course in Miracles continue to deeply guide and inspire both my life and my teaching. It was an honor and a delight to recently host and introduce Marianne at my event at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, NH. Her love and support are blessings to me.

Yoga Show

In 1998, I moved back to the East Coast and in 2001, I did my yoga teacher training at Kripalu. Inspired to be of service and share yoga with people who maybe couldn’t get to a class for whatever reason, I created “The Yoga Show with Karen” on Concord TV. For the past 13 years, I’ve hosted “The Yoga Show” which brings free yoga into the homes, lives and community of over 15,000 residents, businesses and institutions in Concord, NH.

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I founded Quest Yoga, LLC 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 Still Point Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Avantika Waleryszak.

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My teaching style has been described as authentic, empowering and down to earth. I infuse my FEARLESS FLOW YOGA classes with enthusiasm, devotion to the Divine and a playful sense of humor. My classes, workshops, YTT modules and mentoring sessions are deeply rooted in this one simple principle: 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 “Do the Work”. My aim is to guide students through an experience of strength, serenity and Spirit while inspiring people to choose Love over Fear, to Forgive Their Humanity & Live Their Divinity and to always honor the inner teacher that resides within their own heart.

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I love leading my specialty workshops like Yoga & Writing: Creating Fearless Flow and Fearless Forgiveness. It’s a true passion of mine to share the Art of Yoga Assisting through workshops, weekend immersions and YTT modules with various studio Yoga Teacher Trainings.

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I’m proud to be an ambassador for Liquido Active yoga apparel. (If you’d like 20% these amazing leggings – you can use my personal code: KKLIQUIDO20). I’ve also had lots of fun being a presenter at NH Yoga for Peace, Boston Yoga & Chant Fest and Wanderlust Vermont and being a NH Yoga Ambassador for the 2014 Michael Franti SoulShine Tour.

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I’m also a presenter at the amazing Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY where I lead week-long Yoga & Writing: Creating Fearless Flow retreat. This workshop combines two of my greatest passions and I’m deeply honored to get to share it at one of my favorite spiritual centers. I’ll be offering it again in May 2016!

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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. We held our 1st Annual Retreat in 2014, at our 2nd Annual Retreat in October 2015 we hosted 85 yogis from all across NH, MA & RI. It was a magical weekend and we’re already sold out for our 3rd Annual NH Yoga Retreat – with over 100 people joining us for some yoga love!

 

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I’ve been so lucky to work 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.

 

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I began my Thai Yoga Massage training in 2007 in Montreal at the Lotus Palm School with Kam Thye Chow and in 2008, I became a certified Thai Yoga Practitioner. I continued to study Thai Yoga extensively (via Lotus Palm) with Shai Plonski, who later founded the Still Light Centre in Toronto. I now lead Thai Yoga Workshops and Trainings here in NH.

 

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I did my training and certification in Spiritual Mentoring with Rev. Stephanie Rutt, Director of The Tree of Life School for Sacred Living. I’ve also been mentoring Yoga Teachers for a wicked long time. 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!

 

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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. Also, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharath Rangaswamy.

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I’ll always be super grateful for my longtime, long-distance teacher Erich Schiffman who I finally got to spend the weekend with in 2015 at Kripalu! It only took 19 years to meet face to face – but his influence and inspiration runs deep.

Some other fantastic yoga teachers that have left an impression on me for their own beautiful and varied reasons: Manoj Chalam, Natasha Rizopoulos, Rolf Gates and Devarshi Steven Hartman. Thank you all so much for being you.

 

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Although my learning from Swami Kripalu and Eknath Easwaran comes posthumously – through my yoga lineage and tradition, and all their 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 Divine Love into everyday living.

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I’m also a writer, speaker, workshop leader and certified Gateless Writing Teacher. I’ve been 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 (Burned) and to have been fortunate to study with Barbara Abercrombie (UCLA Extension Writer’s Program), Nancy Slonim Aronie (Writing From The Heart), Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down The Bones), Mel Allen (Yankee Magazine), Mary Carroll Moore (Your Book Starts Here) and Suzanne Kingsbury (Gateless Writing). I’ve also learned so much from the amazing Pat Schneider (founder of Amherst Writers & Artists) via her book: Writing Alone and With Others.

In 2011, I had the honor to learn from the fabulous Les Standiford (Bringing Adam Home) 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 (House of Sand and Fog & Townie). In 2015, I was super lucky to study with Ann Hood (Comfort & The Kniting Circle). I’m currently working on a memoir – Fearless Forgiveness – the first 25 pages of which, was published in the 2014 SABAL Literary Journal.

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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 – four little dogs, two silly cats and one crazy bunny!

 

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I’m married to an incredibly talented musician, songwriter and producer, my sweetie, Chris Lester. Topher (as I call him) has been making music since he was three years old and can play guitar, bass, mandolin, keyboard, drums, harmonium and definitely, cowbell! Ha! He’s lucky enough to be a full-time professional musician and besides his own solo/band work, he’s also written for and been on tour with Sully Erna (Godsmack) and recently had the honor to play with the legendary Carole King.

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I’m deeply grateful for the women that took me under their maternal and spiritual wings along the way: “Miss” Kae LeFebre, Marianne Williamson and Daphne Rose Kingma. Having lost my mother as a young girl, these incredible women played a huge role in shaping my life. I would not be who I am without the love, support, grace, kindness and occasional ass-kicking from these amazing moms, mentors and friends. I love them and know my mom would love them too. xo