Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reflections on 2010 at the studio

What a year phew!  This year at Yoga Prairie, our studio has seen some tremendous growth.  It is great seeing many new faces and the others who have been with us from the beginning still coming to classes.  In May after my biking accident, my teaching took on a new dimension.  Learning to teach with injuries and vertigo has taken the level of teaching to new dimensions too.  I am focusing more now on meditation and going deeper into the mind/body connections of the practice.  The accident was a blessing even though it has been painful both physically and emotionally.  Right before Christmas I found out that my medical bills were not going to be paid for by my auto accident insurance.  It was a traffic accident caused by me trying to avoid a bus.  The bus may have hit my bicycle, but I was not conscious - I was knocked out.  There was a witness who called the accident in on 911, but police will not release the record because of a law that protects 911 callers.  The caller told the police that a bus hit a bicyclist.  I now am dealing with the not knowing and letting that go.  Another opportunity to release attachment.  I do hope that motorists will be more watchful and careful around bicycles.  Share the road.  I have taken my attention more to the business of running the studio and also to providing a deeper and more authentic experience for all who walk in the front door at Yoga Prairie. 

This winter we did a 40-day yoga challenge and those members who participated took on a whole new level of practice for themselves, seeing first hand how a yoga practice supports not just the physical, but also their mental and emotional lives as well.  This has been a very successful result - I could not have asked for more from this challenge.

The studio continues to be behind on paying our rent and slow on paying other bills, but we are slowly catching up in that area.  It is interesting to note that how I run my business is perhaps unique.  Each day I meditate and focus on allowing the real boss to dictate things.  I am a steward of this space for the community.  The Master - God - holds the reins and steers the business.  It is a joy to be taken along for this ride.  Thank you to all of you who are riding along with us.  Happy New Year!

40-Day Challenge - Reflections from Participants

Karen Kinnard - I am moved by you all. . . .

Angie Perschnick
The yoga challenge was a really good experience for me. I feel like I've gotten a lot stronger during the challenge, and my mind is less scattered (more able to calm down & focus) overall. Going to the studio 3 days a week was difficult at times with children and scheduling conflicts, but it was a good chance for me to figure out how to prioritize my health goals that can so often be pushed aside when I get really busy or feel others need something from me at the time.

I'm looking forward to doing the Weight Loss/Wellness Boot Camp starting in January too. I love yoga practice and want to combine that with my efforts to lose weight. I did lose several pounds during this challenge and would like to continue on that journey and become healthier in the new year. I hope some of you join me in that challenge as well!
Enjoy the holidays and congratulations on taking on this yoga challenge!

Aimee Jackson
The challenge has been great for me. And a true challenge. The "why" is what I continue to still work on. I love yoga--it restores me--it makes me feel more connected to everything and everyone around me--so why do I let it so easily go by the wayside? What this challenge did do for me is at least put it in my mind every day, weather or not I practiced, I thought about it. And often my practice wasn't asana at all, but trying to focus on a principal of the yamas and niyamas, which really is the point of it all anyway.

Practicing asana more often gave me more opportunity for insight into the poses so that I could be in them more deeply, find my balance, my center. Explore those poses that are restrictive for me with curiosity instead of resistance. Practicing in studio several days a week reminded me how much I love doing yoga with others, and how much I benefit from letting the teacher guide me because I almost always will go deeper into a pose when someone else is guiding me.

I certainly wasn't perfect and did not achieve daily practice. I tried to blog through most of it, but really only blogged daily for about the first 20 days. But what I found was that I didn't need it so much after that. The blogging was what helped me stay on track and focused on daily yoga, but once it took hold and become more a part of my daily consciousness, I didn't feel the need to articulate it out loud so much. As is always the case with deeper yoga practice, my mind finally turns off; my words lose their usefulness; and I simply move and breathe and am--and that's enough.

Thank you Karen for this opportunity, and everyone else for being part of the journey.

Mona Lynn
Gracious Greetings to all,

I reside in Missouri and went to high school with Karen. We recently reconnected via Facebook. I have heath issues, and was so inspired by reading Karen's blog posts about her recovery from her recent bike accident, that I decided to attempt yoga again after a not so good experience several years ago. Thus, I decided to take the 40-day yoga challenge virtually so to speak. I live in a rural area where there are no yoga studios. So, I dug my yoga mat and a couple of DVD's out of the closet and decided if I committed to the challenge online, then it would make me accountable for following through to the goal line.

When I began my practice it was physically painful due to my body's de-conditioned state. But each day it seemed to get easier and the pain decreased. Until I attempted a new pose the first week of December, when I experienced a new "opening" sensation in my lower back that I was uncertain about. Karen encouraged me via e-mail. I was feeling improvement, and my posture was improving. I was on track with the 6 days practice, 1 day rest from Nov. 14th thru Dec. 11th. and must say, I was feeling proud of my goal accomplishment.

And then...on Dec. 11th my husband was in a serious accident with a big tree while cutting firewood. That brought my yoga challenge to a screeching halt! I wasn't sure how I was going to get though caring for him as a result of my own health challenges. However, we experienced a Christmas Miracle! He is recovering very well! I have no doubt the time I had spent practicing yoga prior to his accident had strengthened me both physically and emotionally so that I was able to deal with the whole traumatic event and care for him and take care of everything for 2 weeks.

What I learned was I had not practiced yoga long enough to remember to breathe and calm myself while my body was in a full blown adrenaline rush. I instead reverted to my old habits and paced for hours on end like a caged animal. I was however able to remember to breathe and remain calm, thus keeping my husband calm until the ambulance arrived for him. So there was some benefit from my practice.

While I was very disappointed not to be able to complete the challenge. I am feeling good about my physical improvements that I can see in retrospect. It was indeed a powerful time! However, as a result of the positive improvements I've experienced during the challenge, yesterday, Dec. 27th, I chose to begin practicing gentle yoga as a 5 day a week habit.

I wish you all a healthy and Happy New Year!  Namaste, Mona

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

108 Sun Salutations

Last night, the darkest night of the year, also of the last 360 some years (because of a lunar eclipse!), I hosted a 108 Sun Salutations event.  What is it about this name that keeps people away?  Okay, well, I think I understand.  If you have never done 108 Sun salutations, you have nothing to compare it to, and you have no expectation of what you can get out of it.

In the beginning, there is comararaderie - you are there with friends who also love the yoga practice.  Then you begin to move with the breath, it may seem odd at first, everyone doing that and no one talking.  Then you begin to go deeper into concentration - on breath, body, moving efficiently.  You may notice others around you, yet it almost seems like once more, you are alone. 

Last night only one other person showed up to do this with me.  Kim has been a student of mine for several years, she wants to teach yoga, she loves yoga, she has a great career and family and she doesn't live in Minnesota right now - she lives in California.  So Kim - who now lives in California - is the only student who showed up to participate in the 108 during a Minnesota snow storm.  How appropriate!

Back to the experience...we were moving together, completely breathing as one and counting together.  About number 35 or 38, I realized I was starting to warm up and sweat, and the poses felt really great.  I began to feel all the connections once again re-connected (I don't feel that daily since my biking accident).  We kept going, we never stopped.  At one point I got a side ache, and it is likely from that cup of coffee and christmas cookie I had an hour before we started....  Around number 90, I realized we were going to keep going with out stopping - I think the first time that has happened for me.  It was easy!  I had to move a little more mindfully and slowly from 90 to 108 because my right elbow was hurting a bit - my right side is weaker since my accident (concussion on left side of brain).  All in all - it felt really great to loosen up my body that much and to sweat - a rare thing these days with near zero temperatures outside!

Thank you Kim !  Next 108 will be on March 21, 2011 at Yoga Prairie,  my wish/dream is that the studio will be packed for this event!  (6:30 p.m. on a Monday night!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

40-Day Yoga Challenge is coming into final weeks

This has been a challenging time to do 40 days of yoga.  With the darkest part of winter also come dark days in the way that you will be challenged to stay positive in your outlook.  It may be really tough now to step onto your mat to practice.  Know that all of us who are participating in this challenge are experiencing this.  Know that the darker days will be moving towards lightness once again in just one more week.  Hold on - you can do this.  Step onto your mat with the intention to move - just move your body with the breath.  Move into a pose and stay there until your body intuitively tells you to move again into another pose.  Give yourself time to pause in between poses in Tadasana (mountain pose) or Sukhasana (easy pose-also known as the seated cross-legged pose).   When you move intentionally with your breathing and when you hold a pose with your focus on your breath, you are practicing yoga. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Deepening the Practice

Committing to a 40-day yoga challenge takes you beyond, deeper than the physical.  You begin to gain the strength and courage to dive deeper.  You learn to control and strengthen the breath, the life force becomes stronger and the power of this burns away illusion.  The first step in this burning away is that you begin to actually see it for what it is.  You realize the discomfort or the choking effect of putting up with the illusions you have created around you in your life.  It is then you begin to loosen the chains that bind you into that illusion.  It can be a struggle or it can be as simple as shrugging of a bathrobe.  The harder one resists, but more it is a struggle and it seems you have to fight to have it change.  However, there is another way. . . surrender and relax. 

Notice your desire to make it a struggle and keep surrendering and relaxing.  Powerful work.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Good Monday

I began the day meditating and dozing.  This is my favorite way to start my week.  It is like creating my world for the week inside of a relaxed morning meditation.  I am able to imagine fun things to create for the yoga studio, for my family, for my life and travels.  I am able to connect and reconnect again and again to the pure love that is inside of all of us, to drink of that until I am that.  All beings are that too.  Enjoy your week, enjoy your life.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

2nd week already!

That was fast! What happened to the second week of our yoga challenge?  Thanksgiving Day was in there.  I did yoga all but 2 days this past week!  I think that yesterday, when it was my 6th day to practice and I was very tired I was actually doing yoga by listening to my body.  The body was not into anything but rest, so rest I did.  After completing and mailing the yoga school renewal application, all systems said "down".  Some of the group have asked about rest days and they feel like doing something so they do "is that alright?"  Yes!  you are listening to your body, that is the point.  Part of the point of the 40-day practice is to get really connected mind-body-spirit.  If your body needs to rest so that you can actually listen to the mind and spirit, do that.  If your body is restless even though it is your rest day - do something.  I am inspired by the responses I have had from the group of yoga practitioners on this journey with me.  You are all practicing your yoga challenge mindfully - it has been a succesful challenge so far.  Now what is going to happen with the 3rd week?  As the energies of the earth go more & more inward and darker, our energies also go within and slow down.  The challenge this week will be to honor your inner needs without honoring the mind-chatter.  What do you really need to do?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

1st week is complete!

We are ending the 7th day of the 40 day yoga challenge!  It was so exciting to see the challengees showing up for more classes at the studio this week!  Today I took a day off of yoga!  I am really surprised with myself.  It is yoga teacher training weekend at the studio and I expected I might be doing poses along with students today, but I sat out even the fun YogaKids demo class that Rebecca did for the teacher trainees.  (It was so tempting to do the kids poses because it look like fun!)  I did however, growl like a lion, and do a couple of restorative poses - that counts as rest!  Only 33 days to go!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


If you read Aimee's blog (prior) you would see her talking about rest - I wonder how many of us in the challenge have had the same thought?  I did in a different way, I was wondering if I could actually get in a day of rest!  I usually take Saturday and Sunday off of teaching yoga, so then I have an option of having at least one day of just practice for me.  I have lately taken advantage of that by meditating rather than asana practice.  However, since beginning the challenge I have not yet had a day of rest!  I stole a nap out of my schedule on Tuesday though - we hoo  that was so great!  I slept about 2 hours Tuesday afternoon and it has made my last two days much easier now.  So don't forget to rest!

Aimee: Day 5—Day of (much needed) rest

Aimee: Day 5—Day of (much needed) rest: "When I started the challenge and Karen said that we should practice 6 days and rest 1 day each week, I thought, no...I'll just practice ever..."

Aimee: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I.15

Aimee: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I.15: "On non-attachment and purpose: 'It is not only saints but everything in nature—trees, birds, animals—they all live for the sake of others. ..."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aimee. . .

My mission is simply to feel better in body, mind, and spirit. For my first asana practice I focused on balance poses because restoring balance is what I need: in body to feel energetic but not frenetic during the day, calm and at ease at night; in mind to feel focused, less scattered, present, and even; in spirit to feel more connected to my Divine Source and therefore more connected to my Self and everyone around me. Every day I will end my practice with this mantra: May my heart be filled with Divine Love. May I be an expression of Divine Love. Aimee J

Mona - welcome to the Challenge!

Mona said...

I'm in! virtually since I live in MO. Karen, you've inspired me

(Okay, Mona, that is a good excuse - you live in Missouri!)  Yippy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

40 Day Yoga Challengee - Paula writes...

For me, the 40 Day Yoga Challenge is two-fold. The first reason I am doing the challenge is because I have never fully committed to any type of workout schedule and stuck to it, EVER! Since I have been coming to Yoga Prairie in October, I have seen a huge transformation in my life; mentally, physically, and spiritually. I love the family atmosphere and the others who come to the studio motivate you to keep coming regularly. Along with yoga, I have also committed to better nutrition and healthy supplements. Usually, by this time in the season I have a lingering cold/cough or sinus infection. Just by staying with yoga 4-5 times a week and eating organically, I have been able to stave off any infection so far this season (this includes taking a good quality multivitamin, fish oil supplement, and vitamin D3 daily). I also want to be in the best swimsuit shape I can be before taking a tropical vacation in January where I will be able to realize one of my dreams – doing yoga every morning on the beach! I have already lost 3 inches in my waist in just one month of regular practice.

I guess my mission statement is: A good diet and plenty of yoga to stay healthy & strong.

Thanks and good luck to everyone doing the challenge!
Paula Leen

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why I'm doing the 40-day challenge

All I don't need is one more thing to do, one more challenge.  I am a business owner, I have been feeling overwhelmed lately - teaching several yoga classes per week, planning and scheduling yoga teacher training, the paperwork, the accounting...all the things a business owner does...and I am supposed to embody what I am teaching as well.  That is my challenge.   ( )

Someone asked me a couple of weeks ago how the yoga studio was doing...I don't know what I answered, but it came out like: I haven't made any money for 3 years AND I work all the time.   They then asked me:  WHY are you doing it then?

I have been thinking about that question for the past 3 years - ever since I began working 10-12 hour days.  Why ?  This week I came to a really interesting conclusion.  Everyone that walks into that studio to practice and learn yoga is expecting the doors to stay open, and I am doing that.  Whatever...I could explain for hours why I am doing this.

I'm not going to.  I'm going to tell you what my guru/teacher Ishwar Puri says.  "How do you know if you are serving God's will? - What IS God's will?"  "All you have to do is look at your circumstances...if there is a shovel in your hand - dig.  If there is a pen in your Hand, write".  Whatever circumstances you find yourself in, God's will is for you to serve in that way.

So the 40-day yoga challenge is, simply for me,  to do God's will.  Practice yoga.  That's what yoga teachers are supposed to do : ).  Namaste, Karen

Friday, November 12, 2010

40 Day Yoga Challenge! Nov. 14-Dec. 24th 2010

Oh no!!not again!  Yes! You cannot fail - you have support through the most tempting holiday!  If you want to join our 40-day yoga challenge, respond here and let me know you are in!  What:  Promise to practice yoga 6 days a week for 40 days.  How much yoga?  45 to 90 minutes 3 days a week (preferably at a Yoga Prairie studio class - 8783 Columbine Rd., Eden Prairie, MN  55344) and 3 days a week at home a minimum of 20-30 minutes and one day of rest (yes you must rest!). 

Support can be found right here, check in with me daily or every couple of days - we can do this!  Why?
Here are the possible benefits:  relax, peace of mind, lose weight, better digestion, better sleep, better sex, be happier, be healther. . . did I miss anything?! 

Monday, April 19, 2010


Today is a great day! It's Monday, I had a very slow start and I borrowed motivation from my friends!  Every Monday morning we have a call and create our week.  We create it as who we are "being" this week.  Not what we are "doing"!   So this week I am being "fully engaged", "complete", "alive" and "being my word".  This call had me wake up to looking at my day and my life from the perspective of "who am I when I am being fully engaged"

Coincidentally, this day has been really great.  I haven't had a day like this in a very long time.  Thank you - universe of people - thank you for the grace you are sending my way!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Today I was woken up by the cat alarm. Toby knows when its time for me to be out of bed and will not allow me to stay late. Got up, put water on for coffee, checked my online checking account coffee, went upstairs to meditate and say a groveling prayer (help!), felt amazingly better and got on with my day! Teaching Yoga! I am so happy, it is an amazing life that I get to share with others - teaching yoga.