Take a sacred sabbatical from your busy life and the cold winter weather. Join Karina Ayn Mirsky on the Pacific shore of the lush Costa Rican Rainforest. This retreat offers an opportunity to restore your vital energy, revitalize your life, and reach into and out from your Heart. Learn more about Karina’s retreat and register here.
1. What does it mean for you to “be something more” as part of your yoga practice, teaching, and your intentions for your retreat?
The mainstream objectives for yoga practice often center on health, wellness, and physical fitness. Though this is useful, it is also a limited understanding of the more intrinsic value of yoga. My aim is to offer people a glimpse into a broader scope of what yoga is, and what it can do for them; like observe and transform patterns of suffering, know who they really are and what they really want, and experience deep and lasting contentment. In my seminars, trainings, and retreats participants learn to do self- inquiry, manage life force energy, connect to internal resources and guidance, and courageously live in the world from an authentic ground of being. We also emphasize the importance of selfless service and connecting to spiritual community as means to success on the yogic path.
2. Who has been your greatest influence and why?
I’ve been blessed to have several exceptional teachers and mentors influence my world view, language systems, and lifestyle. I often profess my devotion to these teachers, and honor their names as the source of my knowledge. But after 20 years of spiritual practice, I’ve learned whose voice should “most” influence my thoughts, speech and actions. In the stillness of my body and deep silence of my mind, there is an inner guide, a direct connection to Source. When I hear the whisper of that guidance, there is no hesitation and no doubt. This is why it is the greatest influence. It is clarity. It is compassion, acceptance, and peace. The direction it guides me in is always in high service, it has no other agenda.
3. If there was a yoga pose or mediation practice that described you – what would it be and why?
Praying Child Pose: to me, this posture embodies humility, devotion, surrender, turning inward, receptivity, quietude, and a yielding to the sacred. It withdraws focus from external matters and attunes the mind to the heart. It relinquishes the need to be seen, to be big, to be anyone or anything “special.” It embodies a longing to be in service to that which is higher than “I.” ￼
4. Other than yoga, meditation, nutrition – what are some of your passions?
I have loved to sing and dance since I was a child. But nothing makes me come alive more than sitting with others as they become present to what “is” – what they really long for or what is really true. I thrive when holding space for people to be curious, accepting, and compassionate with themselves and others. Nothing brings me a greater sense of purpose than watching someone’s breakdown turn into a breakthrough. I truly live for the moments when a heart is opened to loving kindness, or a mind is freed from a painful bondage. I‘ve dedicated my life to uplifting and empowering people to think, speak, and live from a place pure equanimity, a space I call the core “Self”.
5. What is on your “Costa Rica Bucket List?”
In all the years that I’ve been visiting Costa Rica and running retreats there, only once have any of the local Ticos joined us for practice. My retreat groups do service projects in the regions we visit every year, but I’d love to empower the locals to practice and teach yoga. I’d love to find a way to gift yoga to the aboriginal Costa Rican population, and show them that yoga is as much for them as the Americans who come to their country to do fancy retreats. Any Spanish speaking yogi’s out there up for the task?
Karina Ayn Mirsky (Devidas), is a widely sought after Yoga and Meditation Educator. She is the director of Sangha Yoga in Kalamazoo, MI, a faculty member of the Himalayan Institute, and an adjunct professor at Antioch University Midwest.
Karina has been teaching yoga since 1998. She was one of the first certified teachers of Rod Stryker’s ParaYoga®. She also holds a Master’s degree in East-West Psychology. Her decades of work with individuals and groups, as well as her own experiences with injury and illness make her a deeply empathetic guide to others. Karina’s depth of wisdom and light-hearted nature have inspired and uplifted thousands of lives.
Karina is a regular contributor to Yoga International, of which she graced the Winter 2012 cover. She has also been featured in publications such as the Huffington Post, and Origins. In March 2008, Yoga Journal named Karina as one of 21 teachers under the age of 40 who is shaping the future of yoga in America.