Hi again, I hope that your meditations became easier as you settled into the month of meditation!
I wanted to share with you some teachings that are very close to my heart.
Let me back up a little bit. Twelve years ago this month, I randomly ended up in a month-long Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat. It was strict, and esoteric, and weird. I had never meditated. And I fell in love with… being. I fell in love with life in a whole new way. And it reorganized my world and my relationships to be more meaningful and satisfying.
The practice we did was an advanced Tibetan insight practice. Everyone else in the retreat had been meditating daily for 10 years to prepare for the retreat. I was there by accident! We practiced for 9+ hours a day, kept silence, and didn’t leave the building. After 2 weeks of preliminaries, we got fairly concentrated, and the practices were introduced. After about a week, my view of reality was permanently changed, and it was the greatest gift I have ever been given.
After 6 intense years, I gave up formal Tibetan practice and teaching. I realized for myself and those around me that the practices don’t quite align with the Western psyche. Yes, they worked for me for a time. But at some point they became awkward, and began taking me in the wrong direction. I felt there was a simpler way, and one that was more intuitive.
A couple of years ago, one of my teachers introduced me to the work of Rupert Spira. Immediately I realized- this is it! A direct and experiential way to share the nature of reality, without the overlay of Tibetan culture. And you don’t need to spend weeks in silence preparing, they are accessible right now! I began sharing the teachings in my weekly meditation classes, and the feedback was glowing, as were the students.
So over the past year, I put together a course that goes step-by-step in a straightforward way through what Spira calls ‘The Direct Path.’ The mediations are ½ hour a day- long enough to really drop in, but not so long that you have to quit your job. You are guided to explore your current experience in a directed way, and what is revealed is simultaneously completely ordinary and a total revolution in being.
If this sounds interesting to you, check out www.yogavail.com/insight. The suggested donation is just a guide, please don’t let finances stop you from participating! And feel free to email me if questions come up, although it’s best to marinate in them for a few days first, as often the answer will reveal itself to you.
Karen has been living in Vail for more than 25 years, and practicing yoga for almost as long.
Her yoga practice began as a complement to athletic training, but has become a guide to moving through the world with relaxed attention and an open heart.
Before yoga and meditation became her career, she was an economist for 17 years, spending two years at Goldman, Sachs on Wall Street and 15 with a small firm in Vail. Karen has an undergraduate degree from Stanford and PhD all but dissertation from Berkeley.
Karen is a long-time student of alignment-based Ashtanga yoga with Richard Freeman. She has advanced certification in classical vinyasa yoga with Andrei Ram in the lineage of Sri Dharma Mittra, and in kriya yoga and yoga nidra with Everett Newell in the tradition of Swami Rama. Karen studied yogic history and philosophy with Georg Feuerstein.
A certified massage therapist, Karen enjoys the study of anatomy and therapeutic applications of yoga. She emphasizes the internal and external alignment that make yoga poses safe and beneficial, as well as the cultivation of a meditative attitude and experience.
Karen’s training in meditation is primarily in the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She is empowered and certified to teach meditation in the lineage of Jack Kornfield and the Thai forest Buddhist tradition. She has attended eleven 30-day silent meditation retreats in Asia and the US.
Karen is the director of the yoga program at the Vail Athletic Club, where she teaches group classes, and offers workshops and teacher trainings in both yoga and meditation. She is registered at the 500-hour level with the Yoga Alliance.