Yogis of Karma - Keren Starnes

Karma Yoga is made up of a community of some pretty rad individuals. Keren constantly amazes me with her dedication to her practice, her passion for helping others, and how mature and grounded she is. She has been with us for over a year, and I can honestly say I don’t know what we would do without her. She is always lending a hand, making us smile, and reminding us to keep our chins up and our hearts full. 


I found Karma Yoga when I was at a place in my life I desperately needed personal healing, growth and community more than ever. I was a hot mess, to put it lightly.

Over the course of a year, I have learned so much. I rejoice in my growth but am incredibly humbled that I still have so much journey ahead of me.

These are the top five most precious lessons a year of yoga has taught me:

1. Honor your body. I walked onto my cheap little 5 dollar mat last year with a severely rocky past with my body. I spent a long 8 years terribly mistreating it, and many painful days being fearful of the mirror. I couldn’t dare insinuate beauty with something so insulting as my body. The complete 180 mental transformation my practice gave me, leaves me looking back to year ago seeing a stranger. Yoga filled my soul with wonderment about my form, how it moves me from one pose to the next, to be overjoyed when I move gracefully and tickled when I do not. Human bodies are remarkable, gorgeous in all their forms, and are all awkward at times. This is so entirely fine. I was overcome with emotion at how much my body does for me. It is my home, my temple, and is always fighting for me, even if I’m not fighting for it. My body keeps me healthy, it propels me towards my passions, and is my gateway to love. Thanks human bodies, for doing your thang.

 2. Let go of everything that no longer serves you. This was a statement that was said in my very first class with Karma Yoga. Like every aspect of yoga, it reflects both something occurring on your mat, as well as your life. A many varied situations in my life ultimately brought me to my mat. So, to hear this repeated, that nothing truly had power over me and to release its weight was a simple breath away, was one of the most freeing aspects my practice has brought me. Letting go of everything that no longer serves me has brought much needed patience, peace and dedication, on and off the mat. When you let go of things that aren’t serving you, it leaves more room for love, my friends.

3. Breathe. Simply breathe. Everything is happening as it should, nothing lasts forever, and you’re doing a fine job, champ. Growth cannot happen without discomfort, breathe through it. I know I’ve taken my breath for granted far too long.

4. Be present. Life is passing by rapidly. Fiercely commit to every moment you find beautiful and painful, embrace it. Fully, wholeheartedly inhabit it. Let us not dare forget that every aspect of our existence is poetic, from that first sip of coffee in the morning, to the breeze on your skin giving you goosebumps, to the sweet swell of emotions our fickle hearts have. Be aware that your breath and heartbeat are collaborating to make one sweet mixtape to your existence. Notice it, feel gratitude for it.

5. You can do more than you think. This one was huge for me. I was riddled with self-doubt, but my body and mind have managed to prove me wrong every time. I’ve gotten into some goofy poses I never imagined myself accomplishing, and fallen out of twice as many. One of the loveliest feelings is watching the beautiful sea of yogi’s let go of their mental barriers and step up to the challenge and totally crush it. I’ve also realized everyone is 100x cooler than they give themselves credit for. I am so grateful for what falling out of poses (Constantly, might I add) has taught me. Because it provides even more opportunities to laugh, start again, and kick ass.

 

I am speechless when it comes to this tribe. It is filled with some of the most beautiful, genuine, and supportive and accepting human beings I have ever met, and the support I have found in this community overwhelms this little heart of mine.

Namaste, Keren