Karl Straub Returns To Teach At Telluride Yoga Festival

Karl Straub

Karl Straub

Too aggressive in your yoga practice?

That was Karl Straub‘s story until he met his eldest teacher, Swami Bua, who told him not to struggle because “Yoga is a gentle art.”

At the 6th annual Telluride Yoga Festival (Thursday, July 11 – Sunday, July 14), Karl Straub, a popular, regular guest, pays that idea forward. In his workshop, “Yoga is a Gentle Art,” Karl will lead a well-rounded vinyasa class with attention to sensitive use of power without aggression even in challenging poses.

The workshop reinforces one underlying myth and two of the key principles of the yoga tradition.

Ananta is King of the Nagas, giant snakes. His big job is to carry the world on his hooded head and the embodiment of the creator on his lap. The image symbolizes the goal of a yoga practice: the ability to take full responsibility for being a healthy human being in the context of our personal, social, and physical environment, at the same time being relaxed and at peace in our body, mind and heart. In other words, our asana practice should mimic the work of Ananta: meeting our challenges with full attention, while providing a comfortable resting place in our hearts for whatever we call the Divine.That idea is summed up in the qualities of sthira (to be conscious, alert, present, firm and stable) and sukha, (to be relaxed, comfortable, at ease, without pain, agitation or aggression.)

Sthira-sukha. Strength from softness. A new way to live in the world.

Karl Straub is an American-born certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher, graduate of Duke University, former competitive swimmer, IT consultant, and dolphin communication researcher. In 2004, he left his apartment and IT job in New York City and began an odyssey of eight years in which he studied, traveled only with what he could carry, and kept no apartment anywhere. He met some wonderful yoga and meditation teachers, and eventually began teaching too.

This is a guy who knows how to go with the flow.

images-1In his second workshop, Karl invites his students to jump into the “current of life, the river that runs through us” (with apologies to Norman MacLean). Through a combination of asana sequences, pranayama (controlled breathing) and nature-inspired meditations, the goal is to achieve focus on our inner terrain.

“The cascade of benefits from regular practice include physical and emotional well-being,” explains Karl.

And to bring the idea of yoga as a gentle art home, Karl will also teach a restorative class. Using special breath awareness (pranayama), guided imagery, and deeply restorative poses that allow your body to let go, students are offered a chance to assimilate all the good work they have done the festival.

Over the past six years of Yoga Fest, Karl Straub has also led morning meditations.

To learn more about the man and his classes, click the “play” button and listen to my interview with Karl Staub.

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