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!