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  • Writer's pictureR. Gurley

Linda Karl: A Woman Stretching for Change

Yoga has metamorphized the journey of Linda Karl. Karl first encountered yoga concepts in 1971 when she attended a poetry reading led by Allen Ginsburg, the famous Buddhist Beat poet. Ginsburg invited the audience to chant OM, what yoga practitioners refer to as the primordial sound. This OM stayed with Karl although she didn’t immediately become a practitioner herself.

A bone spur poking into her rotator cuff called Karl back to yoga in the mid-1990s. She found that after shoulder surgery yoga not only improved her injury, it “affected my attitude and my whole life.” She explored yoga’s healing for herself for nearly a decade until her teacher encouraged Karl to pursue becoming a yoga teacher. Karl points out this was during the early 2000s when yoga was not as common as it is today. She says, “I ended up interviewing some of the yoga studio owners. I chose the one who was the first studio in Chicago to offer training.”

Karl continued to pursue her studies as a yoga teacher, which led her to a workshop on the teachings of Sri Krishnamacharya.Krishnamacharya is often called “The Grandfather of Modern Yoga.” He believed and taught that every individual would walk different paths of yoga, as the practice meant different things to different people at different times; however, he also believed that yoga was both a spiritual practice and a practice that led to physical healing. His underlying principle was to

“teach what is appropriate to the individual.” These teachings stirred something in Karl She says, “When I drove home, I was weeping. I went back the next day when we did the physical

practice. I knew I needed to go to the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, India. I studied there for 10 years.”

These studies inspired her to teach trauma-sensitive yoga at a domestic abuse shelter. She, having been a victim herself, said, “I volunteered at a domestic shelter for ten years because I thought this would be perfect for the women at the center.” She used the techniques she’d learned, which gave her students flexibility on how to adapt yoga for their personal needs. She says, “What was so amazing to me was that they just got it the first night. They knew this would help them. I can’t explain it. They completely understood how they could help themselves with yoga and meditation. Meeting the person where they are is the secret.” Karl is honored to share moments like this with her students. She says, “Yoga reconnected me to my true self. Whatever kind of trauma someone goes through leaves them shattered but yoga can bring these pieces together…it may not be perfect like a

broken vase but it still works.”

For more information on Linda Karl, please check out the following websites: and (Her yoga blog “Linda’s Yoga Journey.”)

To hear Linda's full podcast interview, please go to:

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