• Congratulations Karen Choy!

    What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?

    I see yoga as a tool in helping us discover our true nature, in uncovering our purpose, and in aiding our growth of becoming the highest forms of ourselves. I believe this ultimately leads us to become a more collaborative and compassionate community.

    Yoga has inspired me to continue this path of personal growth and search of my dharma that has opened my mind to greater perspective and possibilities. I want to be able to share this experience with others through the practice of yoga. I want to be able to assist in one's journey to contentment and greater happiness.

    In the type of environment we all live in today, the world can definitely use a bit more yoga.

    This month we are focusing on the importance of Asana and Pranayama. Can you share your personal technique for pairing the two to improve a (power yoga) practice?

    My favorite way to sequence an asana practice is based on a constant ebb and flow of the breath and allowing it to guide me into my next posture: building internal heat, maintaining that fire, finding a steady constant breath, cooling down, letting go of breath control.

    I find that the synchronicity and harmony of the two creates a meditative and balanced experience that builds endurance through the rhythm of your own breath. How beautiful is that!

    I also believe the breath is a great tool in understanding our bodies and checking our egos on the mat. If the breath becomes labored and inconsistent during a pose, I take a step back. I let go of that ego that is telling me to compare myself to those around me, how I'm not pushing hard enough, and how I need to look like that cover girl on the latest issue of Yoga Journal. Letting go allows me to practice honesty. It forces me to be present with my body and to meet myself where I am in my practice that day.

    Working in a corporate environment presents a unique set of daily challenges. How has your teachings and personal practice assisted in coping within that environment?

    Yoga has provided me the tools to better deal with constant challenges and changes in the corporate environment. My meditation and pranayama practice has taught me to direct my focus and energy on what truly matters - the greater purpose of my projects, campaigns, and team.

    Non-attachment (vairagya) is a constant theme that I carry with me at work. Believing in and aiming for a goal is great but I've learned to remain flexible when it comes to expectations of results and outcomes. When things don't go as planned, I've learned to carry through my meditation practice by observing thoughts and emotions that arise and not attaching myself to them. I then allow them to fall away as I breathe out.

    I am more empathetic, less reactive, and more observant because I've learned patience through breath and understanding through non-attachment.

    Being a yoga instructor has also taught me to grow personally and professionally in the corporate workplace. I can come prepared to a class I'm about to teach with a "flawlessly" planned sequence, but after gauging the individual level of the students in class that day I often end up throwing out my plan entirely. Adapting based on the current environment, focusing on the greater good of the whole, being empathetic and attuned to those around you, and remembering to stay present are all learnings that I've taken with me from the studio into the workplace.

    Please tell us a little about yourself: career, family, background and anything else interesting you would like us to know.

    I am a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Davis, and I've been working in the digital marketing industry for over 7 years. I'm a huge animal lover. In my spare time I work with a few animal rescues in the development of their digital marketing strategies. I have two senior dogs and a bunny named Eve van Winkle. I am always open to trying new things. I'm a self identified serial hobbyist who has picked up the electric bass a few times and played in a band, knitted scarves as christmas presents, scuba dived in caves, made jewelry that actually sold on Etsy, completed a triathlon, and most recently am trying to perfect the art of copperplate calligraphy.

    I also think I may have been a mermaid in my past life.