Archive for the ‘Asana’ Category

200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Program 2016

Monday, February 29th, 2016




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!


B.K.S Iyengar Instructing a Class- 1977

Monday, September 22nd, 2014


Friday, September 19th, 2014

“Balance does not mean merely balancing the body. Balance in the body is the foundation for balance in life. In whatever position one is in , or in whatever condition in life one is placed, one must find balance. Balance is the state of present–the here and now. If you balance in the present, you are living in eternity.”

B.K.S Iyengar


Partner Yoga Workshop

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Sutra 111.35: hrdaye cittasamvit

B.K.S. Translation:  “By samyama on the region of the heart, the yogi acquires a thorough knowledge of the contents and tendencies of consciousness.”

Karuna Yoga 200 Hour Teacher Training student Anna Hansen and her daughter Heidi practicing partner yoga

This Sunday, February 16th at Karuna come join Eileen Muir as she guides you through a series of partner assists that will strengthen and open your standing poses, backbends, twists and forward bends. You can come with a good friend, a partner, a daughter, son, or anyone special! If you do not have a partner we will find you one.

Sun. Feb. 16, 2014
1- 4 pm

The Art of Observation

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

A student recently snapped this shot of a class observing Eileen doing a pranayama demonstration. The practice we do at Karuna is a mindfulness practice of seeing, hearing, feeling, and doing. Doing from a place of being. As an aspect of the Iyengar practice students learn the art of observation; we observe actions in each others bodies and try to translate these actions into our own bodies. One may wonder how it is possible to observe the breath. This photograph is a great example of the subtle awareness one begins to gain through the yoga practice. Watching pranayama is another aspect of meditation on the breath. Here each student is able to witness the movement of the breath through the body and become more familiar with the sound of the different methods of breathing as well as the quality of softness in the muscles and skin. Observation throughout the class not only illustrates the physical qualities in each posture and method, it also becomes a practice in quieting the mind and turning one’s attention to dharana: fixing the consciousness on one point.


Monday, June 10th, 2013

Slow down and surrender to the joy of the present moment

Restorative yoga, longer held poses supported with blankets, belts, and blocks, provides the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate and refresh from the summer heat.  Holding poses longer in restorative yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows the heart rate, dilates the blood vessels, which increases the flow of fresh oxygenated blood, and relaxes the overall nervous system. The practice is slow and cooling and it is appropriate for almost everyone.  Don’t fight the heat. Lie down and enjoy it.

Here are 3 poses to open the body and to relax in the heat that surrounds you.

Supta Baddha Konasana/Supported Bound-Angle Pose

This pose allows for a deep opening in the chest, abdomen and pelvis. Soles of the feet press together and are held with blanket. Stay here for 15 minutes.


Seated Forward Bend

This pose stretches the lower back while relieving tension in neck and shoulders. But best of all, it quiets the mind. Stay in this pose for 5 minutes-switch the feet-remain for another 5 minutes.


Stonehenge Savasana

This is a Savasana appropriate for all. It is a wonderful tonic for a day in the garden. Relax in the pose for 20 minutes.

Eileen Daneri teaches the restorative class at Karuna on Friday nights. She also frequently offers wise assists in Eileen’s classes and greets us all as we check in for class. Her beautiful smile is always a nice start to practice.

“My Body is a Temple, My Asanas are My Prayers”

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

The following is an extended exerpt from a documentary on B.K.S. Iyengar that is now in post-production. Currently the producers of the film are raising funds in order to release the full 90 minute documentary. Donations can be made at this website:

Development Screener1 from Lindsey Clennell on Vimeo.

Beginner’s Course, Beginner’s Mind

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

For the last 6 weeks students have been participating in an 8 Week Beginner’s Course at Karuna, taught by Paul Menard. With just two weeks to go participants have been experiencing remarkable changes in their own practice while witnessing and cheering on their peers as they grow and learn together. While many in the course are true beginners, having done little or no Yoga before, several participants are seasoned practitioners and teachers. Among the qualities of the course that are being celebrated by the students is the space that is being held to be a beginner. Those who are coming across the materials, movements and terminology for the first time have a space to do so safely, without judgement, inhibition or self consciousness. They have a space to cultivate curiosity and attune to subtlety. Those who are revisiting the fundamentals have a space to practice as though they were beginners. This opportunity not only benefits their practice to continually keep the mind open and willing to learn, it also enriches their teaching. The beginner course gives all students an opportunity to  practice “always being, always becoming”.

The 8 Week Beginner’s Course is an ongoing series at Karuna. The next series starts Friday April 5th and continues through the end of May. Both seasoned practitioners and  new teachers are welcome to join to brush up on their fundamental knowledge. All will enjoy the benefits of detailed slow instructions, supplemental materials and assignments to support a home practice, and carefully planned incremental learning.

See you all there!

Candlelight Yoga

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Flickering Warmth & Nurturing Relaxation

4th week of every month

Sunday 5:15 pm and Monday – Friday 5:30 pm classes

Come feel the cozy and nurturing environment of soft candlelight, glowing and flickering its way into your heart.  Karuna is a temple and the sacredness of our space, while lit by candlelight, will melt your day away and return you to a state of release, surrender, and calm.  Each restorative pose opens you for the next pose, gradually inducing complete emotional, physical, and mental relaxation.  Unfold into the deepest layers of the body and enjoy the most exquisite guided savasana with soothing sound accompaniment.   Join Karuna for these intimate classes on the 4th week of every month. Pre-register by signing up online, these classes fill up!  All levels are welcome. No experience needed just come, wear something comfortable, and enjoy the benefits of letting go.

Sign up online: Karuna Class Schedule Sign-in

Yoga For Gardeners

Thursday, August 9th, 2012


We are so lucky to live in an area that allows us to delight in the pleasures of growing endless varieties of food and flowers in our gardens. For many of us gardening is a practice like yoga; it is an opportunity to enter into communion with the same energy we find in asana, in pranayama, and in meditation. There is satva, lucidity, in the sweetness of a tomato off the vine, still warm from the sun, or in the vibrancy of lupines or the sweet scent of peony. Our practice as gardeners is much like our practice as yogis; we are nurturing and supporting vitality, protecting it and nourishing it, and cultivating space for it. It isn’t difficult to relate the experiences of our yoga practices with those in the garden yet often we loose sight of our physical bodies while in the garden. In order to give support to our plants we sometimes forget to support our muscles, bones, and joints. Much of the work we do in the garden can cause soreness in our bodies. Luckily it is possible to bring your yoga practice into the garden! Jo Schneiderman, a teacher at Karuna, has put together the following recommendations to help you support your body before, during, and after your time in the garden. Here are her recommendations for both reducing gardening’s strains on your body and relieving pain if it does occur:

Before you go into the garden do this one minute sequence:

From Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
1. reach your arms out the sides, roll them so your palms face the ceiling, inhale and lengthen
from the center of your chest to the pads of your fingers.
2. Repeat but add lengthening from the space between your shoulder blades to your fingernails.
3. Lift your arms into Hastasana (arms overhead, palms facing one another), inhale and lengthen
from your feet to your fingers.
4. Hold a railing or the kitchen sink. Walk out so you come to a flat back. Then bend your knees,
continuing to maintain a flat back. Then walk in slightly and bend more so you lower your
buttocks move toward the floor and round the lower back. (Malasana). Repeat in reverse to come up.

Recommendations while gardening:

Sit in Upavista Konasana, Sukhasana or Vajrasana – kneel – on knee pads whenever possible.
Use a wheelbarrow.
Ask someone else to help with heavy lifting.
Avoid bending forward with straight legs – and especially avoid doing this while lifting.
When carrying liquid like compost tea, many small trips are better for your knees and back

After gardening regardless of whether or not you feel sore – attend to your tender areas.

Back – Lie in Savasana resting your calves on a chair seat ( The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health,
Patricia Walden and Lisa Sparrowe pg 186), or a bolster under your knees.
Shoulders – Supported bridge on a bolster or blanket pile. ( BKS Iyengar Yoga pg. 219)
Knees – Virasana on two bolsters (BKS Iyengar Yoga pg 188)
Hamstrings – urdva prasarita padasana ( The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health, Patricia Walden and
Lisa Sparrowe pg 164 only closer to the wall depending on hamstring flexibility) against the wall or
viparita karanii (BKS Iyengar Yoga pg. 216-217)
Hips – Supta Baddha Konasana with a lot of support under your thighs and a sandbag in each inner

Sequence by Jo Schneiderman. Illustrations by Erin McNally.

Jo Schneiderman teaches Yoga Level 1 and Specific Needs on Wednesday nights from 5:30-7 at Karuna. She is a seasoned Iyengar Yoga teacher and an avid gardener.