Batavia yoga teacher Linda Karl believes that yoga can help a person in every part of his or her life.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Karl about the book.
Eric Schelkopf: You had your first public OM in 1973 with beat poet Allen Ginsberg. Can you tell me about that?
Linda Karl: Well, I was in junior college in Chicago. At the time it was called Southwest College, but now it’s called Richard J. Daley College.
Allen Ginsberg came to do a reading of his poem “Howl.” He was a Buddhist, and we all just kind of sat around and chanted.
Schelkopf: Was that a life-changing experience?
Karl: I don’t know about changing my life. But it was interesting. Allen Ginsberg and his writings were very popular with the counter-culture at that time.
After the poetry reading, a bunch of us went out to a party with him. Everybody just kind of sat around and hung on his every word, so to speak. It was pretty cool.
Schelkopf: Of course, you are featured in this book, “Conversations With Modern Yogis.”
Karl: About three years ago, I got an email from the book’s author, Zubin Schroff, saying that he was interested in interviewing me because of my yoga blog. He wanted to get different voices that are kind of outside of the status quo of yoga, as it’s currently taught.
He liked my voice. He’s actually the director of a yoga studio out in California, and what he did was drive cross country to interview everybody in the book.
Schelkopf: What did he like about your approach to yoga?
Karl: Because I’m not the status quo, and he said that what I write about needs to be heard.
He also called me a “fierce voice in the yoga blogosphere.”
Schelkopf: What do you try to do with yoga? How do you think you are different than other yoga teachers?
Karl: For one, I teach out of my house. I’ve also been to India eight times, and I study at a particular school in India that was started by the son of the father of modern yoga.
The style of yoga I teach is classical, traditional yoga. It’s all about changing your life. So it’s not gym yoga.
It’s not just about the physical postures. It’s about becoming healthy and having a clear mind, quieting the mind.
I work with trauma survivors, from soldiers to sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. I used to teach at the Mutual Ground domestic violence shelter in Aurora for about 10 years.
I believe that all yoga is therapeutic, if it is applied correctly and beneficially.
Schelkopf: It sounds like you believe that yoga can touch all areas of one’s life.
Schelkopf: How does yoga change a person’s mindset?
Karl: Authentic yoga helps you change your view of yourself and your life.
I work with people who may have anxiety attacks, or may be depressed for whatever reason.
A consistent practice of yoga and breathwork and meditation absolutely changes their lives. They are not as stressed or depressed any more. They can handle things a lot better.
More information is available at Metta Yoga’s website, www.metta-yoga.com.