Step into your light by Jody Okabe

Step into your light by Jody Okabe
blog entry by: jody okabe #karmarevolution
tuesday april 8th (happy birthday mom)
i called emerson today and wanted to talk about this block i have about teaching. as tears were streaming down my face he says to me, “you are teaching at 5” i spent the next few hours crying, freeking out, and pulling a sequence out of my ass.
i arrived at the studio and began playing my uke to get into my heart. i was tripping that i didn’t have enough material, that i didn’t know what i was doing…i even asked julien if he was interested in teaching half of the class haha.
as people started coming i was sweating…and thinking of how i could get out of it. and the people didn’t stop coming! i don’t think we could have fit another mat if we tried. 32 people!!!

aww my heart is truly lit up. so many smiles and laughs carried me through this first class, and i feel so incredibly grateful and have overcome one of my biggest fears.

moral of story: step into your light. feels dam good.

 — 984044_10152014142701709_3511055204603658595_n

Ecstatic Yoga: Tapping into your Ray of Light


Ecstatic Yoga: Tapping into your Ray of Light

By: Susana Abreu

Philanthropist and founder of Karma Yoga Teachers, Emersom Lim, has created an invaluable experience through his Ecstatic Yoga classes at Karma Yoga on the Vancouver East Side.  Ecstatic Yoga is a combination of traditional Asanas (yoga poses), meditation, chanting, singing and intuitive dancing. This mixture of energetic components allows each yogi to tap into the freedom of fully embracing the Self, regardless of age, gender, social status, sexual preference and/or fitness level; No restrictions or judgements.

It was not long before I entered the studio, that I felt the essence of Yoga through Emerson’s loving embrace of every individual who joined this incredible and most uplifting practice. His compassion, guidance, openness and kind spirit are the embodiment of unity and connection; the true meaning of Yoga.

At the beginning of the class we sat in a big circle and were led into a meditative state through breathing, chanting and words of wisdom led by Emerson. The studio became a sanctuary where we were all one; A Co-Unity. The meditation was followed by traditional Asanas to prepare the body for over an hour of movement. The music set the mood for freedom and enjoyment. The more we danced the more lack of restrictions was felt across the room. Singing and laughter came naturally and before I knew it, I was a member of a community of fun, loving people supporting each other in the process of Om Swaha; let go and let God.

We ended the class in a circle were a domino effect of Asanas represented the connection that we had created throughout our practice. Once we made our way to Savasana, we were all singing Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” The inspiration and joyfulness was unanimous. There were no differences between any of us, because we were in a safe environment where being one Self, celebrating our Light and honouring the Light in others was the purpose and the definite end result.

I believe wholeheartedly that this class possesses healing powers that go beyond cognitive understanding, and what enhances the meaning of this gift even more is the fact that everyone is welcome. Classes at Karma Yoga are free or by donation. The city of Vancouver is blessed to have this movement be a part of our community. There is no doubt that Karma Yoga will continue to touch the lives of thousands of people across the globe. Join this movement and become a part of this positive change!

July Month Long Teacher Training Intensive is now OPEN!

Due to popular demand. We are adding our third 200 Hour Teacher Training this year. Our April training filled up really quickly and we have been inundated with emails and phone calls requesting for another one.

Are you ready to take a journey towards your Self? A teacher training like no other. Canada’s first non-profit yoga studio.

FULL and Partial Scholarships are available. Apply by sending an email to or call 604-700-6489 to reserve your spot. We have a feeling this will quickly fill up quite fast.

200 Hour Teacher Training Certification is based upon our intention of promoting acts of selfless giving. From a balanced perspective, we will provide students and aspiring teachers with a solid foundation in both yin and yang yoga. New teachers will graduate with ample skills to bring their unique voice to teaching. Karma Teachers College will support graduates to teach yoga in studios, fitness and community centers, beaches and parks of their choice – anywhere in the world!

We have added Sandra Sammartino, Tina Pashmuti James and Kevin Naidoo to our guest teachers.

The Karma Teachers College 200 Hour Faculty and Guest Teachers (from our ongoing January 2014 YTT)

Lead Trainers: April Kuramoto + Emerson LimKarma_02_nodate

Faculty: Michael Olivotto(Vinyasa), Ryan Stevenson (Ashtanga, Sivananda) , Stephen Fazzari, Raelene Hodgson, Whit Hornsberger (Vinyasa Krama Mini Teacher Training), Amanda McFadyen (Rainbow Kids Teacher Training)
Guest Teachers: Tianne Allen (Restorative Mini Teacher Training) Danielle Hoogenboom (Yin Mini Teacher Training) Shannon Cluff (Sequencing Workshop + The Business of Yoga), Reno Muenz (Dharma Yoga Workshop) Farah Nazarali (Seva Workshop) Kyira Korrigan (Adjustment Workshop), Community Yoga Vancouver(Andi and Kandace) Sacred Justice Workshop.

Program Investment

$ 999 (With 30 karma hours) Partial Scholarship ($1,400)
$ 1,700 (With 15 karma hours)
$ 2,400
Payment plans are available, with full payment received by June 30, 2014. or apply or nominate for FULL Scholarship (5 Spaces)

Our training will meld a powerful Vinyasa flow with both Yin and Restorative Yoga.



Sandra Sammartino joins Karma Teachers College as a special guest teacher.

We are over the moon excited and deeply honoured that Sandra Sammartino is joining Karma Teachers College as a Guest Teacher.
Sandra Sammartino has been passionate about Yoga for over four decades. She has taught Yoga in classes, through the media and in workshops and retreats. She has trained hundreds of Yoga teachers, co-founded Unity in Yoga, which morphed into the Yoga Alliance of America and founded Yoga Outreach (teaches Yoga to those who might not otherwise have access.)

At 72 years young, Sandra is a continual student, who wishes to share everything she has learned about Yoga with you.

S 060

Karma Teachers College ( 200 Hour Teacher Training – Part Time Studies )

It takes a yoga community to raise a Karma Teacher.

 Karma Teachers College’s Revolutionary 200 Hour Teacher Training starts  April 05, 2014

10 Weekend Immersion (Saturday + Sunday)

“Life-changing” “Surpassed all of my expectations” “Broke me open in a beautiful way” “I am ready to teach and serve the world” “The best thing I have ever done in my life” – from current Karma Teachers trainees.

It takes a village (yoga community) to raise a Karma Teacher. We are so proud of our Faculty and Guest Teachers. Featuring Vancouver’s most respected, inspiring and well loved teachers. Teacher training designed workshops and mini-teacher training to aid you in your journey. Plus free or by-donation continuing education. Opportunity to teach at our studio. Karma Seva project to help change the world.

Our training will meld a powerful Vinyasa flow with both Yin and Restorative Yoga. Students will have a thorough grounding in asana, anatomy, alignment, sequencing, and philosophy. Also, meditation, mantra, pranayam, and study of the subtle body will be explored thoroughly. Yoga as a healing practice is experienced throughout the duration of this training.

FULL and PARTIAL SCHOLARSHIP are now open. Email to request for an application and information sheet.


Letting your branches grow by Ljudmila Petrović

121201_Karma_Yogathon_11I’ve been practicing yoga for the past eight years. I must have been to hundreds of classes, but I’ll always remember a specific class I went to at a time when I was feeling emotionally unstable, vulnerable, and uneasy. I kept beating myself up over my lack of balance and my inability to maintain control – both in my practice and in the rest of my life. I don’t remember the studio, the instructor, who was next to me, or what time of the year it was, but I remember the tree pose we did in that moment.

“First find your roots, and then you can let your branches grow,” said the instructor.

It was a poignant moment because it made me realize that I was rushing myself, that I was pushing myself to be better, and in the process, was getting further and further from self-acceptance. Of course, change takes much longer than an “aha moment”, but yoga has been a catalyst for this over the years.

In recent years, with yoga’s growing popularity, there has also been an influx in research surrounding yoga’s benefits. It has been used more and more with survivors of trauma, as a stabilizer in mental health, and as a healthy way of coping with addiction. Yet, considering the number of yoga studios that have been popping up around the city over the years, yoga is not nearly as accessible as it should be. Many studios are so pricey that even students can’t afford it, let alone low-income individuals. Karma Teachers is the most accessible yoga studio that I have found in a city filled with them. It is accepting of all, and it has a mandate that reaches out to women in the DTES and to populations that really need this healing.

American author and poet Maya Angelou once said: “As soon as healing takes place, go out and heal somebody else.” And this is exactly what Karma Teachers is to me. It is passionate instructors, an accessible space, and a safe environment to find my roots and eventually let my branches grow. Having this opportunity allows me to be in a place where I, in turn, can give others and help others. – Ljudmila Petrović

8 Free (or almost free) Things to do in Vancouver this Month


Stretch out holiday kinks strainsdefault – Earlier this year I wrote about all the ohm-tastic places to practice karma yoga. One such magical studio is Karma Teachers. If you want a break from shopping downtown, then head to the backdoor of 45 West Hastings.  Bring a yoga mat, comfy clothes, and your best, most loving Namaste to attend one of Karma Teacher’s four to six karma yoga classes each day. While classes are free donations are welcome. Cost: By donation

The holiday season can be hectic. It can also be pretty pricey. Having fun in Vancouver through the Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa season doesn’t have to break the piggy bank though.

If you’re pinching your loonies for that perfect gift or saving your bills for a mid-winter trip to the tropics, then finding fun, thrifty stuff to do is a priority.

I’ve compiled a list of free or almost free Vancouver activities this December. Grab a handful of change, bundle up and explore the budget-friendly activities on offer in chilly Vancity.

1424392_10151705560327142_1538817683_n Kirtan Vancouver presents
.. Sat Dec 14th – 7:30pm – 11:30pm ..
Celebrating the sacred through dance, yoga, and mantra.

Featuring a live set by electronic / acoustic kirtan group AirAnanda, a special dj set by Raghunath Ritch with guided journey facilitated by Lucy st John, and an ecstatic yoga session to kick off the evening led by Emerson Lim.
Join us for a bhakti-filled evening of sacred sound at the multi-roomed Karma Teachers studio located in downtown Vancouver. The night will be rich with euphoric mantra-based music, sumptuous vegetarian snacks, and many wonderful friends.

Jy Lawrence’s Karma Teacher Story – Finding her Voice as a Yoga Teacher

I am a mover. I am constantly fidgeting, adjusting, shifting my gaze. When I discovered that through the practice that is commonly referred to as yoga I would be able to not1394803_615047028541255_927927636_n only find stillness while practicing, but the quiet in my mind would continue off the mat, I knew it was for me. I also knew that I needed to share this amazing practice with the world.

So, without knowing a word in Sanskrit, other than Savasana, I embarked on the 200-hour teacher training that fit within my schedule. The group of yogis that I had the honor of sharing my training with helped to shape my practice and opened my eyes to the various types of practitioners I would encounter as an instructor, and to be quite honest I was in awe of each and every one.

We began to near the end of our training and started to talk about the apprehension we were experiencing regarding teaching an actual class, not just one on the weekend for family members. This is when Emerson came to speak to our class about Karma Teachers. Having the attention issues I do I honestly could not tell you what he said in the first half of his presentation, but his energy was infectious. I knew instantly that that was the positive energy and attitude I needed to surround myself with as a new teacher.

The second I got home that night I sent Emerson an e-mail. He responded right away and next thing you know I was at the front of a mat. Fresh out of teacher training and beyond thrilled. I think I stumbled over every single left and right I had to cue that class and by the time the class settled into savasana a huge sense of relief filled me. A feeling I have never experienced since. Now when my students snuggle their shoulders onto their back and let go of all awareness of their breath I feel momentary sense of disappointment that this class and experience has come to a close, and then joy takes over. Joy for being able to lead these awesome people through something so personal as their practice.

I came to Karma Teachers completely green, so green in fact that I may have been lime green. Through the support of Emerson, the other teachers, but most importantly my students I grew so much. I am now a multi-coloured/multi-patterned yogini.

Teaching at Karma allowed me to find my voice as a teacher. At no point did I try to put on someone else’s voice. If the students wanted something different they went to another class. My students came to smile, to move, to fidget, to breathe, and most importantly to find stillness. Just as I had intended initially, I was able to share the joy I experienced (the quiet I experienced) in my practice.

I went from my one class at Karma, then added one class at a studio closer to home, then another and another and the list continues. Without the energy, smiles and open arms of Emerson I am not sure what my journey may have been. Would fear have kept me from trying?

What I do know is that now I am very happily teaching 10 regular classes a week and could not be happier. Keep up with my schedule at


Tanya’s Journey – From Karma Teachers to Full time Yoga Teacher

What Karma Teachers means to me – Tanya Skok Hobbs (From Karma Teachers to Full time Yoga Teacher)

I remember moving to Vancouver just 10 months ago, January 9th 2013. It was a big step for many reasons, but I had also just completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training in December and I was really eager to start teaching. I knew that being in Vancouver would make it extra difficult, not only because that is what everyone says to you all the time, but also it was a new city for me. Also Vancouver is the mecca for yogis in Canada – if you wanted to practice and teach with some of the best teachers in Canada, get exposed to the most variety of practices and grow your personal practice all at the same time then Vancouver is and was the place to be. I had set the goal for myself at teacher training that I would teach one class a week for the first six months out of teacher training. Shortly, after arriving in Vancouver I realized that despite my “go get’em” attitude, achieving the goal was going to be something very different then setting the goal.
I had been back in the city a month and had taught one “karma” class at Exhale and was really itching to get teaching more. All I could think about was if I wasn’t using my teaching skills, then I was losing them and that in order to get better at teacher I needed to practice, practice, practice. Oh and practice, practice, and practice some more.
A friend of mine, a fellow Karma Teacher (Jakub), told me about Karma Teachers and how it was a great place for teachers getting started and that I should check out their website and send in an application. So that is what I did – my first yoga resume. I then went to Karma Teachers one chilly Thursday night in February, took Jakub’s class and met Emerson.
I remember being extremely nervous!! Emerson was so warm and welcoming and asked me if I could sub for a class that coming Saturday, I immediately said yes, without really even thinking it through. I spent the next 2 days lesson planning and being nervous as Emerson had told me that he was going to come to the class and I really wanted to make a good impression, as I realized that it would be kinda of like an audition. My nervousness in that first class is something that Emerson and I both laugh about now. Despite my nerves, after subbing that class Emerson offered me a regular weekly class at a prime time and I was able to achieve the goal I set for myself in teacher training. I was also able to practice my teaching, start getting regular students and build confidence as a teacher. Karma Teachers was exactly what I needed. It gave me a home, a community.
Karma Teachers gave me the opportunity to grow teaching yoga beyond just a dream and make it into a reality. I am now teaching two classes a week at Karma teachers. Emerson has also provided me the space to grow as a teacher promoting my classes and workshops. Now I am subbing at different studios in the city, which feels incredible.
I have recently quit my job and I am off to take another teacher training with Shiva Rea in Costa Rica in December and then teach a retreat of my own in Nicaragua in January. I am now pursuing my passion, yoga as a full-time career, something I have dreamed of for some time. Karma Teachers gave me the space to grow as a teacher and Karma Teachers will always be my home. What Emerson and Karma Teachers offer to the yoga community in Vancouver, to new and up and coming teachers and to yogis throughout the city is truly a unique and beautiful thing. I am filled with so much gratitude.
I look forward to reconnecting with my students in February – look for a workshop coming your way!!
“Act without Expectation.” Lao Tzu
Follow me on my travels: