Hi, I'm Kara. I enjoy assisting others achieve their wellness goals, feel great in their bodies & learn daily sustainable practices to maintain a healthy body-breath-mind-spirit connection. I'm a long time health advocate, meditator and very dedicated to self-inquiry and healing through bodywork, movement, diet & lifestyle, energetics & stillness.
I've been dedicated to the vedic & healing arts for 28 years and movement arts since childhood - with discipline dance training and performing in my local dance company. My wellness & spiritual focus began two years after I graduated from college when I moved to California from the east coast to attend massage therapy school. California being a haven of diverse, culturally rich movement, health & spiritual disciplines - exposed me to a new way of being and elicited my yearning for a deeper understanding of myself and led me to explore the metaphysical arts for healing and spiritual connection. I explored many modalities and spiritual traditions and my studies focused on yogic disciplines, vedic philosophy, ayurveda, massage modalities, energy healing, middle eastern dance and healthy lifestyle practices.
Since 1996 I have been offering bodywork for private clientele and at spas, hotels, events, local businesses, & retirement homes. My bodywork education began at Alive and Well Institute of Conscious Bodywork in 1995 and I received additional training at Lifestream Massage School, World School of Massage and Thai Healing Massage Academy. I studied wellness coaching through Wellcoaches and received my Reiki Master training with Suzanne Louise. My bodywork sessions are nurturing, intuitive, detailed, catered to the individual and influenced by several decades of practice. I also advise clients on lifestyle and self-care practices to address their stress, tension and discomforts.
My pursuit of Vedic disciplines has been extremely blessed by ongoing tutelage under Indian Masters, including realized Nath Yogis and Siddhas, Vedic Monks & Scholars, & Ayurvedic Doctors. I am a lifelong student and humbled by the vastness of Vedic wisdom and the saintly, compassionate sages who disseminate the teachings.
I believe in being very transparent about my studies and emphasize how important deep inquiry into someone's background is as well as using discernment when one is navigating through the modern supermarket of commodified, misrepresented and exoticized practices. My credentials mainly come from discipline daily practices, ongoing studies and in depth learning from authentic lineages and adepts of undiluted, sanskrit based teachings. I have participated in yoga certifications and teacher trainings in modern formats, but I do not see those as preparing one to be a qualified teacher. Any discipline takes many years of study before one would be ready to teach - and one does not delve into an art for the sake of teaching, but for the sake of mastering ones potential and living the art. The Vedic arts and sciences are comprehensive and require self-discipline and years of study and training in the philosophy and practices with tutelage under a guru and lineage - otherwise the true essence is lost. I began teaching yoga and meditation in 2003, which is an ongoing evolution of finding my unique voice and involved unlearning certain modern influences. Throughout the years I've taught at studios, health clubs, schools, senior centers, retirement homes, retreats, local business & government staff, events & private gatherings. I presently teach in my own space outside of the modern studio model through a specialized system of practices that build upon one another - in relationship to the larger body of vedic wisdom and it's complimentary lifestyle practices.
I am a devotee, student and initiate of living saint, His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda, a highly realized Himalayan Vedic/Siddha monk, Sanskrit scholar and Meditation Master from the combined heritage of Rishi Sages and Nath Yogis. His Holiness presides over vedic schools and other sanskrit institutions in India and founded the nonprofit Self Enquiry Life Fellowship (Hansavedas) in the west, which is overseen by a monastic council of ordained erudite vedic monks - to preserve and disseminate indigenous Sanskrit wisdom. I began tutelage with His Holiness in 2012.
Under the guidance and transmission of His Holiness, I study a holistic curriculum of Vedic Philosophy and Himalayan Siddha Yoga with initiation into an esoteric siddha practice of advanced pranayama and surya kriya meditation practices within the Himalayan Nath Kriya System of Meditation. My studies include Sanskrit Wisdom Teachings, Yoga/Sankhya/Vedanta philosophy in the Shruti method, Ayurvedic Wellness and High Pranic living based on the soli-lunar calendar, Mindfulness, Nyasa, Yoga Vinyasa Krama, Himalayan Pranayama, & Meditation.
From 2000-2012 I studied with Himalayan Master Yogiraj Siddhanath and was initiated into Kundalini Kriya Yoga, Surya Yoga, and Hamsa Yoga meditation, yogic healing practices and was authorized by Yogiraj to teach. My introduction to Kriya Yoga Meditation was through "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda which ignited my yearning to learn and seek out a living guru for the teachings. Before I met Yogiraj, I began this journey with the Self Realization Fellowship's preparatory home study lessons and received my first initiation under another branch of Kriya Yoga.
I have been studying in the Krishnamacharya lineage since 2000 - dabbled a bit with Iyengar - but gravitated to the dynamism of Ashtanga Vinyasa and committed to it as my asana practice. I studied with teachers in Sonoma County and throughout in the SF north bay. I had the opportunity to practice with Pattabhi Jois for a few days during one of his tours in San Francisco. I attended an anatomy training with Iyengar and Ashtanga based trainer, Tias Little. After dedicated study and establishing a discipline personal Ashtanga practice for three years - in 2003 I pursued my Ashtanga Vinyasa Teacher Training at Greenpath Yoga with Clayton Horton. After teaching a few years I did dabble a bit in modern vinyasa for a phase but internally felt conflicted about it's disconnection the principles of yoga.
In 2012 I discovered the Vinyasa Krama system (firstly through the lineage of Swami Vidyadhishananda) - and was completely awed by my first experience - I felt so peaceful, clear, energized and "lit up" in every cell of my body......it was the first practice of yogasana/vinyasa that felt related to my pranayama based "pranic" meditation practices. I was referred to also explore the Vinyasa Krama teachings that Sri Krishnamacharya taught Srivatsa Ramaswami, who studied one on one with Sri Krishnamacharya for over 33 years. I immediately bought all of Ramaswami's books and developed my Vinyasa Krama practice at home and soon began studying and mentoring with Pam Johnson (yoga educator, one of Srivatsa Ramaswami's first American students) and in 2014 Pam authorized me to teach VK. In 2015 I attended a certification program with Srivatsa Ramaswami in Core Vinyasa Krama and Yoga for the Internal Organs and have also taken online workshops with him. Pam has mentored me for several years in precise detail of vinyasa krama and its nuances.
As the Yoga Vinyasa Krama system is also the in Himalayan tradition taught by the Hansavedas curriculum - I have learned it's connection and subtleties to higher practices of the Himalayas. Although the VK traditions have slight variations they maintain the same emphasis/philosophy and practice. Through my deep study of this vinyasa and pranayama system, a practice that leads to neuromuscular fitness, enhanced concentration and stillness, with heartfelt sincerity, I am dedicated to sharing this rare science to the modern yoga student.
In 2016 I attended a Trauma Informed Yoga training with Uprising Yoga that focuses on teaching to the incarcerated, at-risk youth and underserved communities. It was intense information and I hope someday I have an opportunity to work with those communities. I was a bit disappointed to learn that certain violent and triggering language and practices are commonly used in modern yoga spaces. I realized that a traditional teaching approach was already intuitive and accommodating, but it was a heart expanding experience and another reminder of the unseen trauma and struggles many people may be carrying around.
In 2017 I attended a Yoga Nidra Certification at the SF Sivananda Center with Dr. Marc Halperin (founder of California College of Ayurveda). Knowing the personal benefits and it's importance in a holistic approach to yoga, I wanted to take a course to feel more comfortable guiding sessions. Yoga Nidra helps remove disturbances, compliments other practices and is a more accessible way for many to experience a meditative state. I chose the training from Dr. Halperin as it seemed more traditional as opposed to some western practices. In my guided sessions I also use the work of Swami Satyananda, a realized yogi and leader in bringing an accessible approach to yoga nidra to the west.
My first spiritual teacher was Sai Baba and I immersed into Bhakti Yoga, Bhajans, Seva, and study groups at San Francisco and other bay area Sai Baba Centers. I traveled to India in 1998 and resided in his ashrams in Puttaparthi and Whitefield for 2 months. I practiced Ayurvedic Yoga with Dr. Rao's Yoga and Ayurvedic Center while in Puttaparthi. I also stayed at the Anand Ashram in Kerala practicing Nama, Dhyana Sadhana under the guidance of Swami Satchidananda and spent time travelling. The trip was such an amazing experience - hard to put into words - the whole experience felt like Divine Providence. India feels like home and my future plans are to spend a significant time there for holy pilgrimage and study.
My initial experience with yoga was around late 1995 through some videos and general classes. At that time I was exploring my spirituality - soaking up many spiritual and new agey books, dabbling in this and that, and also started reading spiritual texts and books on yoga. In 1996 I started practicing different methods/classes including Bikram & Sivananda and also began my studies with Magaña, Walt and Devi Baptiste in yoga and middle eastern dance. Magaña was one of my dear mentors, transmitting the spiritual dimensions of yoga and dance. The San Francisco Baptiste Center was truly a magical haven on my spiritual journey. I was a member of Magaña's San Francisco Royal Acadamy of Belly Dance Troupe and received certification in the Baptiste Method of Yoga & Magaña Baptiste Method of Danse Orientale in 1998.
Ayurveda has been alongside my yoga studies and I had the opportunity to work as a back office assistant to Dr. Helen Thomas (Ayurveda, NAET, Chiropractic) in 2004-2005, soaking up Dr. Helen's knowledge of Ayurveda and working hands on with herbs - including small batches of handmade herbs from India. Dr. Helen trained me in Shirodhara and I received my Shirodhara Certification with Dr. Narendra Pendse in 2004. I'm trained in marma therapy through an in-depth program with the Marma Institute of Ayurvedic Acupressure (Dr. Anisha Durve, Dr of Acupuncture & Ayurveda, co-authored a marma book with Dr.Lad). I am pursuing an Ayurvedic Certification program through the American Institute of Vedic Studies (Dr. David Frawley) and ongoing continuing studies. Ayurvedic wellness - high pranic living is also part of my studies with Hansavedas.
My teaching approach is grounded in the directive that "yoga is a superscience - it shouldn't be practiced casually". I am dedicated to traditional teachings, self study, upholding the integrity of yoga and lifelong studies in consciousness and healing. Knowing the importance of maintaining a personal daily yogic/ayurvedic regimen, my goal is to guide, give the tools needed and empower students to build sustainable home practices of yoga and wellness. Students who are looking for something authentic and deeper than a workout or a new trend, and ready to commit to a regular practice, will resonate with my traditional approach. Having been trained extensively with Himalayan yoga adepts in ancient esoteric disciplines using the breath as the guide for transformation and self empowerment, I am devoted to emphasizing the importance and power of the breath.
Due to my reverence to the vast teachings of vedic wisdom and other indigenous traditions, I am an advocate for decolonizing yoga and wellness and sensitive to cultural misappropriation and exploitation. As a teacher and practitioner, I bring awareness to these issues and continue to examine my own actions. I am humbled to be able to share the gifts I have been given and strive to spread authentic practices without dilution through commercialism.
Kara is one of the most steadfast and passionate teachers of authentic traditions of Yoga I know.
When the popularity of yoga in the modern world, turned yoga into a mere consumer product, that reduced it to physical practices seemingly removed from its roots, context and meaning, Kara stood up and vowed to stand by the most relevant and inner dimensional teachings of authentic Yoga.
She had years of practice and teaching of the more physical forms of yogasana, which slowly dissolved when she encountered the expansive, contemplative, and, carefully choreographed Vinyasakrama teachings of S T Krishnamacharya, here she found her passion and became devoted to this far-reaching and systematic Nata practice that strengthens and inspires pranayama while including the applications of movement, mudra, and bandha.
Studying with Kara you will get detailed, unyielding and trustworthy instruction of all things Yoga, it will change your life.
Founder/Artistic Director Breath the Pulse of the Universe
Founder/Heights School of Yoga