In easy poses, a little effort helps steady the mind and body, sthira, and in challenging poses, sukha, a little sweetness or ease helps sustain or even deepen a pose.
Merrimack Valley Yoga Instructor Karen Kushner is quite comfortable on her hands…. No great surprise that adho mukha vrksasana (handstand) happens to be her pose of choice when it comes to yoga. It soothes her mind!
Karen is known for her slow flow, alignment-based classes sequenced to create more space and ease in the body. When she is not teaching her weekly classes at Tribe Yoga in Salem, NH and HOME Yoga in Andover, you might just catch Karen out in nature with her beloved dog Kali. She welcomes the cooler temperatures that autumn bring as she returns to the roads for another of her passions… running. “The turning leaves are beautiful, if a little sad, because winter is coming!”
wind up… how do you wind up, prepare for the week ahead?
On Saturdays I think about the week prior, and use that reflection to help me plan for the classes ahead. I jot down a few sequence ideas or class themes that grow out of those experiences.
and, when you need to exhale… what’s your other direction?
Spending time outside, walking my dog, or working in the garden (also known as weeding).
favorite high powered snack?
I love KIND bars, and I’m addicted to crystallized ginger chunks from Whole Foods.
what three things are you never without?
My phone (even though it’s usually off or on vibrate), water, and unless I’m teaching, my dog Kali.
the sound of music… you have room for 5 tracks on your playlist, they are?
END OF THE ROAD and THE LONG ROAD, by Eddie Vedder, ALL MY DAYS and ORANGE SKY, by Alexi Murdoch, and WHY WORRY, by Dire Straits… and, anything by Garth Stevenson.
could you repeat that? one cue that you regularly share with your students, and the story behind it…
One cue I frequently share that has helped my practice is trying to balance effort and ease in each pose. In easy poses, a little effort helps steady the mind and body, sthira, and in challenging poses, sukha, a little sweetness or ease helps sustain or even deepen a pose. I am inspired by Kristin Olson who is a master at saying just the right cues to encourage this balance.
your bible… what one book have you most often give as a gift?
My personal favorite is The Yoga Sutras, but the book I give as a gift is Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga (Anchor 2002), by Rolf Gates.
Hands down, it’s handstand!
finish the sentence? i’d like to teach the world to…
Relax and take a deep breath.
Keep current with Karen’s teaching schedule on Facebook.