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 – 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.
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 13 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.
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.
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 mentoring sessions 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 true teacher that resides within their own heart.
I love leading my specialty workshops like Yoga & Writing: Creating Fearless Flow and Fearless Forgiveness: Choosing Love Over Fear For Victorious Transformation. 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 Vermont. I also recently had a blast being a NH Yoga Ambassador for the 2014 Michael Franti SoulShine Tour.
I’ve also been a presenter at the amazing Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY leading a week-long Yoga & Writing: Creating Fearless Flow workshop in May 2015. This workshop combines two of my greatest passions and I was deeply honored to get to share them at one of my favorite spiritual centers.
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 sold out for our 2nd Annual Retreat in October 2015 – with 100 yogis joining us for some yoga love!
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.
I began my Thai Yoga Massage training in 2007 in Montreal at Lotus Palm 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 lead Thai Yoga Trainings here in NH and still assist Thai Yoga workshops and trainings with Shai at the beautiful Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY and at Kripalu in January 2016.
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!
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.
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 a deep impression on me for their own beautiful and varied reasons: Manoj Chalam, Natasha Rizopoulos, Leslie Kaminoff and Devarshi Steven Hartman. Thank you all so much for being 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, 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) and 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.
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!