Kären Anderson Zabé
radiates good health, excellent fitness
and positive energy in addition to sporting a trim figure and a glowing
complexion. Ask her the secret of the glow in her eyes and she has no
hesitation in attributing it to Yoga—the
age old practice of holistic care that retains the fountain of youth and energy
in an ardent practitioner of Yoga.
Medindia interviewed Kären Anderson Zabé, a Yoga teacher in Mexico, who began her tryst with Yoga very early in
life and went on to share the benefits of this great art of living after
experiencing the fullness of life through a diligent practice of Yoga for many
Q. How did you get
interested in Yoga in the first place?
. I chanced upon
a book by Richard Hittleman Yoga: 28 Day
when I was a teenager. It is a do-it-yourself guide —one if
the earliest of its kind in Yoga published in the West. I studiously practiced
as outlined in the book for nearly 18 years. There was
very little awareness about Yoga in the southern region of United States in the
70's and my parents were initially apprehensive that I was leaning towards some
weird cult! But I continued practicing Yoga with the book as my only guru and
experienced great benefits in the body-mind-spirit areas that got me hooked to
it forever. I have to underline the fact that I didn't take to Yoga as a form
of therapy in the first place. I built a constant practice of Asanas into my
daily routine and it gradually started impacting my behavior and attitude, and
eventually brought about lifestyle changes.
Q. Could you
elaborate on the 'change in attitude and behavior' that you credit to a
diligent practice of Yoga?
The time I
spent on Asanas made my body flexible and buoyant but I gradually realized that
Asanas are only a part of Yoga. I started studying more on the principles of
Yoga as way of living that balances the increasing dichotomy between the body
and the spirit. I started meditation alongside and made changes in my diet,
leaning more towards vegetarian food.
I started becoming more aware of myself, how I interacted
with the world around me and how my behavior impacted those with whom I came
into contact. I was less stressed, less anxious and less irritable.
from my self-observation, people close to me started bringing to my notice the
positive changes in my life.
Q. Did you ever learn
Yoga under a guru's supervision?
Lessons on Yoga are never complete unless you are tutored by a 'genuine' guru.
I'm saying 'genuine' because, Yoga is becoming more of a fad or a fashion
statement these days and there are teachers who just offer a short therapeutic
course or Asanas practice and certify that you've learnt Yoga. People who are
unfamiliar with the deeper aspects of Yoga or want to learn Yoga as a
therapeutic practice tend to think Yoga can fix us from 'outside in.' Yoga
actually works on us from 'inside out.'
I believe Yoga is a great
opportunity to explore what it means to be a 'light unto yourself' and that we
should go beyond using Yoga just as a form of therapy, health and fitness at
the superficial level.
In 1979 I moved to New York City where Yoga classes were
more accessible and the level of awareness about Yoga was much higher than in
other places in the US. I learnt and practiced Yoga in a more systematic manner
in New York.
Several years later I went on to complete a Yoga Teacher's
certification from the Sivananda International Yoga Vendanta Centers and in the
late 1990's a certification by Herta Rogg in the Iyengar yoga method. In February of 2010
I completed a one thousand hour Teachers Training in Yoga and Yoga Therapy with
Dr. Krishna Raman.
In my mid 40's, after moving to Mexico City, I developed a
problem in the lower spine and all the neurosurgeons and other specialists I
consulted could offer only major surgery as a permanent cure for Spondilolisthesis
Some doctors who didn't know about the therapeutic effect of Yoga even
suggested I stop Yoga altogether. It was too big a risk.
At the time I was attending classes offered by a teacher
certified in the BKS Iyengar method, and when I told her about my problem in
the spine she mentioned Dr. Krishna Raman, a Yoga expert who is also a doctor
in Western medicine. Though she didn't feel comfortable instructing me because
of the problem, she lent me a copy of his book, A Matter of Health: Integration of Yoga and Western Medicine for
Prevention and Therapy
. I became
engrossed in reading it. I emailed him seeking his help and direction for my
ailment. He said an online consult would not give the desired result and
invited me to India, advising me to come prepared for a month's stay. My
"month" stay in India turned into a three-month treatment program under Dr.
Raman and was an eye opener for me in many ways. I came to India in severe
physical pain and returned to Mexico fully relieved of the pain by just a
diligent practice of yoga under Dr. Krishna Raman's guidance.
I had a great opportunity to learn more about Yoga in India
and now I make it a point to come to India every year and study to constantly
improve my yoga practice and understanding of therapeutic yoga. I feel
rejuvenated after each trip to India. I am now a Yoga teacher in Mexico City
and I love to share the benefits derived from my yoga practice with so many
Q. What is your
advice to others in the West who maybe contemplating Yoga Teaching as a career
crossed the initial fancy or rush to learn Yoga and settled down to a dedicated
yoga routine everyday, then you are in a good place from which to move
forward. As you grow and mature in your
Yoga practice, you might consider becoming a Yoga instructor, at least to share
with others the great benefits of Yoga that you've experienced. There
is an increasing awareness and popularity of holistic health and wellbeing in
today's world and I'd say teaching Yoga is a good career plan.
is important to bear in mind that Yoga is more than physical exercise and
training. It is a path, a lifestyle. The purpose of Yoga is to rise to higher
levels of attention, a path towards self-knowledge and finding our true purpose
in this life.
Select a good Yoga school and teacher training program,
practice diligently till you learn its nuances, before you begin to teach
others. If you want to make bags of money, I suggest you look elsewhere. The
goal of Yoga is personal transformation that will bring us closer to our true purpose
of being, to serve something higher in this life. You'll find that health,
fitness and healing are only collateral benefits and it is the lasting changes
that Yoga brings within you that ultimately matter.
Medindia wishes Kären Anderson Zabé all success in her pursuit of mastering Yoga and taking the knowledge and experience to others for overall health and wellbeing. Hopefully this ancient and complete system
that promises wellness, restoration and rejuvenation will trigger a personal evolution in others which in turn will prompt a social evolution making this a happier and healthier world for everyone.