Welcoming the Karuna Community

Posted January 17th, 2012 by Karuna under Chants.

Welcome to Karuna’s blog page! Our intention is that this blog will become
a forum for the larger Karuna community to share their thoughts, inspiration, and
philosophical insights. We are excited to have this new tool to reach beyond the studio

May the information that shapes our ever evolving practice integrate into every aspect of our waking life. Our hope is that the blog can be an opportunity for everyone to swim in the ocean together towards the light.

The content of this blog includes:

  • Student and teacher writings
  • Yoga Philosophy Discussions
  • Resources for the enrichment of practice
  • Health and wellness tips
  • Events and Class Information
  • Healthy healing vegetarian recipes

Read the rest of this entry »

Yoga Haiku

Posted June 7th, 2018 by admin under Poems, Student Writings, Writings.

Yoga Haiku

Recently a few members of the community were inspired to share haikus inspired by their practice and their experiences in the teacher training program. If you are interested in writing one yourself, please share it in the comments section below.

Heels root to the earth
Spine long, chest wide, shoulders back
Remember to breathe.
– Gaylien Chun

Concerning Utthita Trikonasana (triangle pose):
Suddenly I find,
In my dream, I’m stuck between
Two panes of glass. Help!
– Gaylien Chun

Scraping the sludge away
Allows me to see through the
Heavy dark my heart
– Kirsten Livingston

Video Blog: Relieve Sinus Pressure this Allergy Season

Posted May 18th, 2018 by admin under Recommended Materials.

Natural Remedies to Combat Seasonal Allergies

Posted May 9th, 2018 by admin under Health & Wellness, plant medicine, Recommended Materials.

Allergy season is upon us. How can we use natural methods to combat seasonal allergies? Here are a few quick things that we can do in our daily life and practice:
  1. Avoid foods that create histamine. Foods like dairy, alcoholic beverages, and fermented foods (even vinegar, Kambucha, soy sauce) help the body to create histamine and therefore can make allergy symptoms more prevalent. So, if you are affected by seasonal allergies, you may want to lay off the pickles for a while.
  2. Eat foods that are natural antihistamines like  garlic, onions, citrus, and broccoli.
  3. Commit to a yoga practice that utilizes plenty of inversions such as headstands and shoulderstands; Forward bends like uttanasana, prasarita  padottanasana, and downward-facing dog.
  4. Herbs like stinging nettle, echinacea, sage,  horehound, goldenrod, and reishi mushrooms can also be helpful in treating allergies and their symptoms.
 Enjoy an allergy free spring.

The Benefits of Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana

Posted April 19th, 2018 by admin under Recommended Materials.

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana is believed to symbolize saluting of the divine force within us all, as stated by B.K.S. Iyengar.  As you can see in both the supported and classic version of the pose, this backbend is fairly intense. The shoulders are very open, the spine is in full extension (including the cervical spine of the neck), and the hip flexors are getting stretched as well.


Why should we do poses like this inverted stick pose?

Back bends are performed in our yoga practice to keep the spine erect and supple.  By working against gravity, we are also working against the rounding of of the spine that comes with age.  Because backbends open the chest and the heart, they’re also thought to ward off depression.

We can make this pose more accessible by using props such as chairs and bolsters so that these incredible benefits can be shared with everyone.

Shiatsu & Body Work Menu

Posted April 3rd, 2018 by admin under Recommended Materials.

Karuna offers Shiatsu and
Body Work Services


The translation of the word Shiatsu is “finger pressure.” In addition to applying pressure with fingers and thumbs, Paul will utilize other techniques such as stretching and joint mobilization. He leverages the weight of his body to apply pressure to acupuncture points and meridians with his palms, elbows, knees, and other body parts in addition to his fingers. This pressure relieves tension and pain while improving body functions throughout the organ systems.

Shiatsu is often used as a method to enhance health and can be used as preventative care treatment. Shiatsu addresses imbalances of the vital energy of our body or Qi (pronounced “chee”).


An ancient form of therapy in which a local suction is created on the skin, mobilizing blood flow in order to promote healing. Suction is created using heat (fire) or a suction pump. Cupping helps to treat pain (especially around the joints), deep scar tissue in the muscles and connective tissue, muscle knots, and swelling.


A traditional Chinese medicine therapy utilizing burning moxa made from dried mugwort near the skin. Paul will use moxa to warm regions and meridian points with the intention of stimulating circulation and inducing a smoother flow of blood and qi. Moxibustion can treat conditions associated with the “cold” or “yang deficiencies” in Chinese Medicine.

Gua Sha

Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is scraped to produce light bruising. Practitioners believe gua sha releases unhealthy elements from injured areas and stimulates blood flow and healing.

Facial Gua Sha

The facial application stimulates blood circulation and detoxification, while relaxing tense muscles that cause wrinkles to form. The “Eastern Face Lift” smoothes fine lines and wrinkles, plumps, tightens and rejuvenates skin; even decreases dark under-eye circles and puffiness.

Full Body Stretch

Are you feeling sore? Stiff? The Full Body Stretch softly opens and warms the body to release tension and stress while relaxing the brain and nervous system.


Cost of Services

60 Minute Shiatsu / Combination Bodywork Treatment: $65

60 Minute Couples Shiatsu: $80

30 Minute Cupping and Massage: $35

30 Minute Facial Gua Sha: $35


  • 5 60-Minute Shiatsu Sessions: $300
  • 10 60-Minute Shiatsu Sessions: $550
  • 5 30-Minute Sessions: $165
  • 10 30-Minute Sessions: $300

To make an appointment, call 413.584.5054 or email info@karunayoga.com. 

Karuna is a Fragrance-Free Zone

Posted March 28th, 2018 by admin under Recommended Materials.

Karuna is a Fragrance-Free Zone

Karuna Center for Yoga and Healing Arts is a place where all can enter safely. We request that you make an effort to refrain from using scented products. We understand the challenges of this request; please know that we are all in the process of increasing our awareness and sensitivity.

Please refrain from using any perfumes, colognes, scented oils (even natural ones), or aftershave—when coming to be a part of the space. Less obvious sources of fragrances include cosmetics, laundry detergent, fabric softeners, drier sheets, soaps, shampoos, hand lotions, face creams, deodorants, and sunscreen. Even air freshener, incense, and scented candle aroma can be absorbed in clothing and hair. Sweaters, jackets, and fabric purses will also pick up fragrances.

Thank you for being mindful and making Karuna a welcome space for everyone.

Facts about Chemical / Fragrance Sensitivity:

One in five people experience health problems when exposed to fragrances.

These include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Central Nervous System Dysfunction
  • Asthma
  • Coughing
  • Cancer
  • Mood Changes
  • Difficulty Concentrating

Did you know?

  • A single fragrance can contain anywhere from 10 to several hundred chemicals.
  • 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and have not been tested for human toxicity.
  • EI (Environmental Illness) is widespread and increasing rapidly.
  • Anyone can develop EI or MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). Fragrance Exposure is hazardous to everyone.
  • A person with EI or MCS needs to avoid personal use of scented products, but also needs to avoid other people who use scented products or who may have picked up scents from places they have been.
  • Second-hand fragrances are as toxic as second-hand smoke.
  • Once sensitivity has occurred, even small exposures can trigger debilitating conditions.

Twist Your Way into Spring – Detox Diet

Posted March 27th, 2018 by admin under Recommended Materials.

Register today for the TWIST YOUR WAY INTO SPRING workshop with Paul Menard
April 15, 2018
1pm to 4pm
$45 in advance / $50 at the door

Click HERE to reserve your space in the workshop

Twist  Your Way into Spring – Detox Diet
Courtesy of Acadia Herbals

Detox Diet: Get everything you need for this 3 – 10 Day Detox from Acadia Herbals!  Please call ahead to purchase a bag of the herbs ($7/bag): Acadia Herbals 413-584-8198  (Shop is open Tues – Sat, 11 – 6.)

A Gentle Spring Fast
When you embark upon a detoxification program to restore your body, always follow the recipe as given. The information that follows is in no way considered a substitute for consultation diagnosis and/or treatment by a duly licensed physician or other health-care professional. Children under the age of 12, pregnant women, and underweight people should not fast. Those with medical conditions, such as diabetes, low blood sugar, cancer, and drug or alcohol abuse, need supervision.

Detox Diet
Time frame: 3-10 days
All of the fruits and vegetables needed to stimulate the body to cleanse and eliminate in spring are contained in this simple fast based on the Chinese Five Element theory. Choose the foods that are readily available in your area from the list below. A three-day fast helps the body get rid of toxins. A five-day fast starts the healing process. A ten-day fast completely cleanses and renews your bloodstream and should take care of most problems before they arise. A ten-day fast is beneficial to do twice a year, particularly in the spring and the autumn.

8 a.m. to 12 noon
Kiwis, oranges, limes, grapefruit, lemons, apples, applesauce (no sugar), apple juice, filtered water, herbal teas (such as red clover, dandelion leaf, and peppermint). The above foods can be taken in solid or liquid form. Choose one or more and eat and drink as much as you like until noon. To strengthen the optic nerves, combine freshly squeezed lemons with grapefruit and limes with an orange.

12 noon to 8 p.m.
Asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, leafy greens and dark green vegetables, carrots, dandelion leaves, parsnip, potatoes with skins, garlic, olive oil, parsley, sprouts, apple juice, pure water, and herbal teas. The above foods can be taken in solid or liquid form. The vegetables can be raw, steamed, baked or roasted, and a simple dressing can be made from the garlic, lemon, peppermint, olive oil, and parsley. It is best to have a combination of cooked and raw foods at each meal to supply the live enzymes needed for proper digestion.

Buckthorn Bark Tea
6 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons red clover
2 tablespoons milk thistle
2 tablespoons dandelion leaf
2 tablespoons peppermint leaf
3 tablespoons buckthorn bark

Buckthorn bark is a mild laxative herb, safe to use over an extended period of time. When combined with blood-purifying herbs, buckthorn bark helps to carry blood and liver toxins out of the body. On the first day of your fast, make this tea and drink one cup in the morning and one cup before bedtime to maintain regularity. The tea will keep refrigerated for three days and may be gently warmed; boiling the tea will destroy the medicinal properties of the herbs.

Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and add all herbs. Cover and allow to steep for 30 minutes to one hour. Strain before using.

**A note on the buckthorn bark tea as mentioned in the Yoga Journal diet: I couldn’t find any buckthorn, which is a gentle laxative. I made the tea without it because the remaining herbs are reputed to be liver-cleansing agents. The herbal compound Swiss Kriss may be helpful.

Liver Cleansing Drink (Spring version)
2 pieces fresh ginger, chopped (each about the size of a 50-cent piece)
1 orange peeled and divided into sections
1.3 cup or less organic apple juice
1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon organic flax seed oil
½ lemon, juiced
3 or 4 frozen unsweetened strawberries (or ice cubes)
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Place first three ingredients in a blender; blend on high until ginger is pulverized. Add rest of ingredients and blend again.

Cook’s notes:
This drink can be altered to taste, however, the lemon, ginger, orange, pepper, and flax seed oil are constants. It is helpful to drink two glasses of water upon rising, and then have this drink for breakfast. When it is not spring cleaning time, you can add 1/3 to ½ banana (or more) for a little more staying power as well as a bit of protein powder. The drink can be used in combination with the Yoga Journal cleansing diet. (I stayed on the diet for five days. For the following two weeks I will modify the diet by adding  legumes and salads. I’m not sure what else but will avoid wheat, dairy, meat, etc. and will do my best to avoid sugar and caffeine).

Simple, meditative yoga exercises will help to balance and stimulate your inner organs while fasting. Heavy exercise is best kept to a minimum as your body does its work internally. Yoga also enhances the calm, balance, and peaceful state of mind the fast produces.

Super skin
The skin is the body’s largest organ of elimination. Dry skin brushing benefits the lymphatic system and stimulates your whole body. With a long-handled, natural bristle scrub brush, stroke the skin gently in the direction of your heart, much like you would use a brush to stroke your hair. Use the dry skin brush everywhere except for your face, which requires a smaller, softer brush. You may enjoy dry skin brushing enough to make it part of your daily routine. Avoid using non-biodegradable soaps and lotions containing mineral oil on your skin.

Time, peace, and privacy enhance a fast. This is a good time to reflect, meditate, and be in nature, as you become aware of what does and does not nourish you. If you find it difficult to retreat altogether, be creative. Plan carefully. Ask yourself what you want to achieve in this fast, then begin in full acceptance of yourself.

Menu to break the fast
Build on the detox diet by adding spring grains such as barley, quinoa, wheat, millet, and rye. Eat plain goat’s milk yogurt flavored with apple juice and spices. Goat’s milk cheeses and fish or free range poultry can be eaten once a week.

Plant Medicine

Posted June 9th, 2016 by Erin under Five Element Shiatsu Program, Health & Wellness, plant medicine, Recipes, Recommended Materials, shaitsu.

The following information was submitted by Eileen Daugherty, a student in Karuna’s 500-Hour Five Element Shiatsu Program ,as a part of the Local Herbs and Plants as Medicine component of the training. In this elective to the shiatsu program, students study with local herbalist Chris Marano, RH of Clearpath Herbals. Students take herbal walks and forage indigenous herbs to learn to make medicine in the form of tea, tinctures, glycerin, oil, and liniments.

Dandelion Root Tincture


Dandelion Root Tincture

For years, dandelion has been used as a blood builder, detox and liver cleanser, especially in the spring – after the dormant winter months.  All parts of this ‘weed’ can be used as medicine – the leaves, the flowers and the roots. 

Dandelion is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese pharmacy of herbs.  It also appears in the US National Formulary and in the formularies in Hungary, Poland, Switzerland and Germany. 

The health benefits of the Dandelion root include:

  • one of best known blood builders and purifiers
  • safely reduces blood cholesterol
  • Contains Vitamin A, C, D and B complex
  • Contains iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper and calcium
  • one of best liver cleansers
  • supports digestion of fats
  • speeds breakdown of various steroid hormones
  • helps flush out urinary tract between kidneys and bladder
  • helps build energy and endurance
  • good for use in hepatitis
  • increases activity of pancreas and spleen
  • strengthens female organs – excellent to prepare for pregnancy and estrogen balance
  • helps clean skin disorders.

What you need:

  • 2 year old, actively growing dandelion roots dug from a spray-free, pet-free  yard
  • spade to loosen soil from the roots
  • canning jar with a tight fitting lid
  • vodka, 80 proof


Harvesting Dandelion Roots:

  • to dig roots, use a dandelion digger or a sturdy fork.
  • you want to break/damage the root as little as possible so you don’t lose much sap, which is where the medicinal properties lie.
  • Deep, rich soil will produce the thickest, easiest to harvest roots.

To Prepare the Tincture:

  • wash off the soil thoroughly
  • remove any crushed roots, leave root hairs
  • cut the roots into ½” sections
  • place roots in the canning jar, cover with vodka plus an inch or so, cap jar
  • steep contents for 3-4 months, in a dark cool place to full extract medicinal properties
  • when finished, strain off the tincture with a coffee filter, into dark bottles and label
  • discard the used root pieces.


  • ½ teaspoon 3-4 times a day
  • can be taken directly under the tongue and held in mouth for awhile and then swallowed.
  • can be placed in a small amount of water and swallowed
  • can be placed in a small amount of hot water, to evaporate off the alcohol.

Label and Date your final product.  Store in a dark place, out of direct sunlight.

  • use dandelion tincture with caution if you have gallbladder disease. 
  • Never use dandelion if you have an obstructed bile duct

Benefits of Dandelion Leaf

One of the main benefits of the dandelion leaf is the way it supports liver function.  Research has shown that dandelion leaf can promote healthy lipid profiles, reduced insulin resistance and suppressed fat accumulation in the livers of mice.  These benefits are likely due to the antioxidant content and the ability to calm systemic redness and irritation.

Some research suggests that dandelion leaf may protect the liver from acetaminophen toxicity.  Acetaminophen can produce oxidative stress which is especially hard on the liver.   Antioxidants like those within dandelion can be one of the best alternative therapies. 

Dandelion leaf can benefit the liver — and can also benefit other parts of the body:

  • Normal bile production supports efficient digestions which utilizes nutrients and purges toxins
  • Encourages fat metabolization, which helps achieve normal lipid levels
  • Helps to purify the blood.
  • Promotes normal blood sugar levels.

Dandelion leaf can be used as a green in salads, although it is bitter.  It is also offered in dried, loose leaf to be used as a tea. 

Plantain Salve


Plantain Salve

Plantain, is sometimes called the band-aid plant.  Plantain contains iridoids, which have a very soothing, anti-inflammatory affect on the skin.  It also contains aglycone and aucubigenin, which have antimicrobial properties and allantoin, which support skin healing. 

Plantain is helpful for:

  • bee/wasp stings
  • spider bites
  • mosquito and other bug bites
  • poison ivy / poison oak/ sumac
  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • sunburn
  • diaper rash

Ingredients – makes about 1 cup

  • 1 cup fresh plantain leaves (from an area with no chemicals), chopped  – use only very dry leaves.
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp grated beeswax, tightly packed
  • ½ – 1 tsp tea tree essential oil, optional

Quick Version:

Harvest leaves on a dry, sunny day.  Pull off any distressed parts and brush off dirt.

Chop leaves or grind in a food processor.

Place leaves in a clean, dry pint mason jar and cover with oil.  Oil should completely cover leaves.

Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of your crockpot and place jars inside.  Add enough water to cover about half the jar.  Set crockpot to lowest setting for 12-24 hours.

If desired, give the oil a quick swirl with an immersion blender to release more of the plant into the oil. 

Strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve.  Let the oil sit for several hours.  If there is any water in the oil, it will collect in the bottom of the jar.  Removing water extends the shelf live of the salve.

Gently heat the beeswax in a double boiler.  When it is melted, add the plantain oil – taking care not to pour in any of the water that may have collected in the bottom of the jar.

Stir until thoroughly mixed.

If adding essential oils, wait until the mixture has cooled a bit and then stir them in.

Pour salve into clean, dry container and allow to cool. 

Slow Version:

Harvest leaves on a dry, sunny day.  Pull off any distressed parts and brush off dirt.

Chop leaves or grind in a food processor.

Place leaves in a clean, dry pint mason jar and cover with oil.  Oil should completely cover leaves with room for the leaves to expand a bit and go to the top of the jar.

Let jar sit for 4-6 weeks at room temperature.

Strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve. 

If there is any water in the oil, it will collect in the bottom of the jar.  Removing water extends the shelf live of the salve.

Gently heat the beeswax in a double boiler.  When it is melted, add the plantain oil – taking care not to pour in any of the water that may have collected in the bottom of the jar.

Stir until thoroughly mixed.

If adding essential oils, wait until the mixture has cooled a bit and then stir them in.

Pour salve into clean, dry container and allow to cool.

Label and date the salve.

This comprehensive information on dandelion and plantain medicine is one example of the wonderful resource  the 500-Hour Five Element Shiatsu Program is to the Karuna community. Another great resource are the Shiatsu clinics coming up this August, September and October. Practitioners in the Shiatsu Certification Program will be offering 45 minute full body treatment for $25! For more information and to reserve a session click here


Poetry from The Shiatsu Training

Posted March 13th, 2016 by Erin under Poems, Recommended Materials.

I feel lucky.  I feel grateful.  I feel.
I struggle with balance.  I struggle with weight. I struggle.
I love my friends. I love my family. I love.
I worry about gaining. I worry about losing. I worry.
I experience joy. I experience grief. I experience.
I encounter fear. I encounter anger. I encounter.
I sense peace. I sense energy. I sense.
I find balance. I lose balance. I rebalance. I continue.


I continue to feel lucky and grateful because I have freedom. Freedom to feel. Freedom to struggle. Freedom to love.
Freedom to worry. Freedom to experience. Freedom to encounter. Freedom to sense. Freedom to find. Freedom to lose.

by Michelle Eastman


200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Program 2016

Posted February 29th, 2016 by Erin under Asana.




Ella Maria Ciccone:

I graduated from the 200-hr Teacher Training program at Karuna Yoga in 2010. This training has been fundamental to my spiritual journey and confidence as a yoga student and teacher. Enrolling in the program, I knew that yoga was “for me,” but what I did not realize was how deeply that training would reach me—how much my heart would “crack open,” as Eileen says, and launch me into new dimensions of being. Eileen teaches with heart, from the heart, and she teaches with her eyes open. She watches and responds to her students and shows us that yoga is for every body, as well as a personal journey. Eileen’s program offers all students—regardless of body or age or experience– a technique and method for studying the art, science, and philosophy of yoga so that they themselves can learn better self-care and discover joy upon their path. She and the Karuna Yoga studio and community is there to support us on the way. The physical studio is completely beautiful: the energy and light of the space makes training feel delicious, safe, and welcoming–full of Light and Love. My heart sings at the health, joy, and good work that Karuna Yoga continues to inspire. Eileen’s teaching models lightness, clarity, insight, and intelligence. She inspires through her technique, her lively personality, her poetic presence, and her devotion to practice, scholarship, and the foundational principles of Yoga as an art, philosophy, and science. I’m grateful and devoted to the compassion that inspires our connection.


Karuna Center for Yoga and Healing Arts is happy to offer another 200-hour yoga teacher training program. This training is recommended for any serious yoga student who wishes to deepen his or her practice through this intensive and supportive study, or to explore yoga as a life-transforming path.

This year we will be exploring the teacher training differently, with a shorter program timeframe and a more intensive schedule. The program will run from March 19, 2016-October 2, 2016. There will be an online component, a required number of classes to attend, and an outside teaching requirement in order to fulfill the certification requirements. The program will meet for 6 weekends with one 5-day intensive. The 5-day intensive provides a chance to immerse yourself in the practice of asana, pranayama, meditation, and teaching, while working closely with a network of teachers to hone the craft of instruction.

The 200-hour course has a standard of excellence, and by the end of the training you will be confident and very well prepared to teach Yoga. It is in compliance with the standards of the nationally recognized Yoga Alliance.

The training dates are as follows:
  • March 19-20
  • April 2-3
  • May 2-6 (Week Long Intensive)
  • June 18-19
  • July 30-31
  • August 27-28
  • October 1-2

Please let us know of your interest.

Call 413-584-5054 to schedule an interview for the program or if you have any questions or want feedback as to your eligibility for the course.


Chris Marano

Chris Marano is the founder of Clearpath Herbals and he completed his 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification with Eileen Muir in 2013.  Here is his final essay/talk to Eileen and the rest of the class on our graduation day, 11/24/13:

“I decided to do YTT for a few reasons. For one, two years ago my friend, Adam, collected on a promise and reminded me I would attend to my physical well being again after a quarter century of not paying attention.  I was ready for a solid gym workout, but when I walked into the space of Karuna a couple of years ago, I was transported to a younger time when I was deeply devoted to spiritual life, and I knew I was “home” again and started to remember why I incarnated.  And I found a teacher in Eileen worthy of my Chinese Chan master, Shifu Sheng yen. I won’t even begin to tell you how high a compliment that is.  I also am a proponent of the idea that if you really want to know something well, then learn it to teach it. And really, in the end, I also freely admit that I am a people person, and I love and trust my friends Adam and Owen, and I wanted to hang out with them doing something amazing together in addition to the many amazing things we already do. Other than that minimal expectation, I was psyched when the year began and I knew even more people in the class. It felt like being with family right from the start.

After a year, I’m humbled and truly grateful. I realize I’m a card-carrying beginner, and I am proud of it. I find myself at the starting line every day I open my eyes, and this is a wonderful thing. Every day I do yoga, every minute of the hour I return to yoga. Not necessarily asanas.  My asana practice is still solely what I do when I come to Karuna and what I do spontaneously when I am hanging out sitting, standing, walking, lying down doing other things. Embarrassed to say, I do not at this point have a home personal asana practice.  But yoga as spoken by Patanjali:  THAT is happening almost every waking moment. And although I am impressed by the physical changes that I have experienced – like shedding a forty-pound meat suit of narcotic-ifying comfort and resignation and becoming spry again – I am even more amazed by what I’m starting to feel under the surface. I feel like things are really starting to happen. I’m transforming, metamorphosing, really starting to feel better, not just less worse. I’m curious – like a wide-eyed seven-year old holding a chrysalis – wondering what could possibly happen next and being open to any of it.

It’s Central Channel all the way, and I ’m diamond hard sure and clear that I am walking the Central Channel of my life, destiny driven not fate driven, fully embracing Sign and everyday miracle as the natural order of existence. I get to play in limitless fields of possibility, dancing with qi, breathing the universe into existence. And it’s happening by way of the Eight Limbs. And for me, maybe most important, I don’t feel like I’m walking a mostly empty path anymore like I did all those years ago. I’ve got a growing community of younger folk to walk with.  I’m Italian, what can I tell you? Family is important to me.  I’m happy you all have arrived. I’ve been waiting 25 years for you all to show up. Not you Eileen, we came in on the same transport half a century plus ago. So. Ready? Now we can get down to the irreverently reverent business of enlightenment, for the individual and the collective.  It’s a New Dharma Age and we are breathing it and being breathed by it into existence.  We bought the ticket, let’s play the game and get our money’s worth.”

-Chris Marano

Sarah Berquist

Sarah Berquist completed the 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2013

“From the deepest place of my heart, I highly recommend this training! This last year has been abundant with learning, love, laughter, wisdom, grace, and growth. I will forever be a student of Karuna and am so grateful to smilingly share and practice these transformative tools learned under the patient and loving teaching of Eileen Muir. If you’re interested or have questions, I’d be happy to chat! LOVE & LIGHT :)” – Sarah Berquist

Chloe Rombach

Chloe Rombach playing guitarChloe is a graduate of Karuna’s 2014 200-hour teacher training program.

During my last semester at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, I embarked on a yoga teacher training at Karuna in Northampton. My school gave me credit to complete the training as an independent study. If I hadn’t been able to get credit, I couldn’t have done the training at this time. I’m so grateful I was able to, because I feel much more prepared to go forth from college and chose paths that nourish me. My training at Karuna has helped me find my joy, heal my body and strengthen my practice. I’m only in my 5th of 11 months, but my growth is dramatic. Growth may not be the right word. It’s more like a shedding of things that are not serving me to find everything I need inside.

While my comfort and truth lies within, the right teacher has been essential to my discovery. Eileen Muir is one of the best teachers of my life, and I’ve been blessed with great guides. She holds her students to a high standard, but is always forgiving. She is spunky and fun and amazingly wise all at the same time. She is a true friend who is always there to listen to me (even if its just via text ) The loving community at Karuna is a reflection of her leadership and is unlike anything I’ve experienced at other studios.
My main goal entering this training was to heal my back. I had scoliosis and sciatica and had injured my low back in the month prior to my training. After the first training weekend, my low-back (which had plateaued at about 50% after rest) felt better than it had before my injury. My scoliosis is completely gone as of a month ago. Iyengar yoga brings compassion that is deep, true medicine. These amazing physical changes, which were all I wanted in the beginning, don’t compare to my spiritual, mental and emotional changes and I almost forget about them sometimes.
While we spend a lot of time on the asanas (postures), we meditate, practice pranayama and read a lot of texts as well. The moral guidance of the Sutras helps me heal emotional pain and unbalance. The meditation and pranayama practices have allowed a sense of calm and well being to slip into my life, like the comfort of having your hand held. Most importantly, I have found devotion and opened my heart to God. I hadn’t prayed since I was a child and wept when I did. There is debate over whether God is necessary to achieve enlightenment or liberation, but for me I know it absolutely is.
I can’t speak highly enough of Eileen and Karuna. I am so grateful for this experience and for this community. And getting credit to do this is a really awesome cherry on top. If you are a student in the area interested in doing a yoga teacher training, I urge you to do it at Karuna and to ask your advisor if you can get credit!