Featured Teacher of the Month: Sunaya


June 2017

Sunaya Peter Karow

Interview by Sara McElwain

Sunaya Peter Karow, a longtime practitioner of Yoga and meditation, is certified to teach Level I Integral Yoga classes. In addition, he is a licensed physical therapist and health care administrator who has worked in the health care industry for many years. He is particularly interested in Yoga as a vehicle for self-knowledge, healing, and inner balance. He is a certified Yoga for Arthritis teacher and has completed the Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness (YCAT) Level 1 training, training in Therapeutic Yoga, and the Therapeutic Applications of Integral Yoga training

What is your definition of Yoga?

Unity: the unbroken awareness of the oneness of all people and objects in our practice and in our daily lives.

What do you love about Yoga? 

I love everything about Yoga, but in particular its explicit focus on the mind‒body connection. I love that in Yoga the mundane leads to the sublime; that the physical practice leads to the spiritual; that we practice in the realm of both the immanent and the transcendent. I love that a rigorous Yoga practice can be gentle and mindful, slow and easeful. I love that in Yoga the breath is the ever present thread connecting our inner and outer worlds. I love that non-striving and acceptance of what is right now in this moment can lead to attainment.

Why do you teach Yoga?

Although I was in the midst of a busy and fulfilling professional career, my first love was always Yoga. The desire to share that passion with others was always in the background, calling me. So, when the opportunity to take the teacher training at IYI presented itself, I jumped at it. Integral Yoga has always felt right for me: right for my body, right for my mind, and right for my soul. Training and teaching here at IYI has been and is like coming home to family.

I teach to share my love of Yoga, especially Integral Yoga and its many benefits, with others.

What are the particular areas of Yoga you are teaching in now or in which you have created your own, special offerings? What attracted you to those areas? 

Two of the classes I currently teach are Yoga for Arthritis and Chronic Pain and Deep Relaxation. I have worked in the health care industry my entire adult life, so it is very meaningful for me to offer the practice of Yoga to students who are dealing with the challenges of living with arthritis and other health conditions.

Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation) is my passion. For me, Yoga Nidra has been a profound, life-changing practice, so it is a great joy to be able to share its benefits with others.

What do you hope students will receive from you as a teacher, and what do you hope students will get out of your coming offerings and workshops? 

I want to serve as a guide for my students, helping and empowering them to get to know their own self and to trust in the power of that self to learn to listen to their own body and treat it gently; to learn to open, easily and quickly, the door to deeper spiritual states; and to get in touch with their own inner powers to transform, rejuvenate, and heal themselves.

I also want my students to have fun while they practice. Life is too short and Yoga practice is too joyful that one should approach it with grim determination. A lighter, more relaxed (and detached) approach will bear sweeter fruit.

Do you have a favorite book or Yoga mat or product that you like, something you sincerely enjoy and wish to share with the teacher sangha? 

Yoga Nidra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. I love tha book. I would recommend it to any Yoga teacher or student of Yoga. It provides a wealth of philosophical knowledge, research, and practical guidance about this wonderful practice. It could change your life.

Ongoing classes at IYI: Deep Relaxation on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.

Rotating class: Yoga for Arthritis and Chronic Pain