The inner being brings the benefits of yoga to various populations

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Karen D’s mission is to make yoga “available, affordable and accessible” to everyone.

Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, a lookit is Karine D. (founder and CEO of Inner Being LLC and organizer of April 2022 Wellness Awareness Festival at Esther Street Park), moved to the United States when he was 15. She studied dentistry for 27 years, building her career from chairside assistant to dental assistant school owner in Cortlandt Mansion. While dental consulting offers Karen a rewarding career, she found she needed something else to awaken her spirit.

In 2015, at age 40, Karen turned to yoga. She says the practice quickly became “a source of relief and liberation, spiritually and mentally.” The mind and body exercise helped her overcome fear and “face herself” at a time when she felt overwhelmed. Because yoga had such a lasting and noticeable effect on her own mind, Karen felt she had to share it with her community — if you want to make a change, “home is the place to start,” says- she.

In November 2017, Karen began her journey to becoming a yoga teacher, which she proclaims to be the most physically challenging thing she has ever done, second only to volunteering with the Mohegan Volunteer Fire Association. Four years ago this month, Karen completed Vinyasa training to become an RYT 200 yoga instructor (a certification meaning 200 hours of training to become a certified yoga teacher).

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While yoga made her “a better listener and a better mother,” Karen also noticed a change in her children when they joined her in the practice. They were calmer, more present and had better control. Seeing these results as something others could benefit from, she sought a way to make yoga “available, affordable and accessible” to everyone.

For his first post-graduation class, Karen has opened her Peekskill home to friends, neighbors and families. Her basement became a yoga studio, and she offered the local community a free class — “just show up and do yoga with me,” she says.

That first free course turned into a passionate movement that swept through the community, especially the younger generations. With the support of his sons (Jordan and Joshua) and partner (Annette Kirlew), Karen opened her business, Inner Being.

Karen and her team of yogis have affiliations that include Peekskill City School District and International School of Shrub Oak. Inner Being instructors work with students to be more spiritually open, “giving them tools to release anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness,” Karen says. Karen says, “It’s something all schools can make available to their students.

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The studio also serves the Drum Hill Senior Living Communityhosting weekly workshops on Fridays that include 20 minutes of journaling and 30 minutes of yoga instruction.

Karen provides internship and community service opportunities for high school students who want to learn the trade. Inner Being is sponsoring two students with tuition, books, and supplies to become RYT 200 instructors, in part to help Karen grow her team of teachers who can work with Inner Being’s diverse customer base. To request more information about community service opportunities, contact [email protected]

Karen’s goal is to make yoga accessible to everyone, which often means free classes – or almost. She strives to get her message across to influential people in the community, including the Mayor of Peekskill Vivian McKenzie and Peekskill City School District Ellen GeraceLCSW.

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Karen got a spot at Peekskill Riparian green To park for the fourth consecutive summer for yoga classes in July and August. For Inner Being’s paid courses, the first course is always free and each subsequent course costs $10.

Inner Being offers free chair yoga on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at Peekskill United Methodist Church. To reserve a spot, contact AnnetteK[email protected]

A bench by the Peekskill River dedicated to Inner Being reminds the community to “slow down, pause and reset so you can start again”, one of Karen’s signature mantras. A plaque describes the bench as “A place to be easy”.

With all the opportunities and appreciation she has received from the local community, affordable yoga classes are Karen’s way of giving back. “I was a caterpillar before yoga,” she says, “but I finally feel like a butterfly.”

Stéphanie Conte is a resident of Peekskill.


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