Yoga Teacher Certification

  •  200 Hr. Basic Level Kripalu Yoga Teacher Certification, all requirements met, March 2004.
  •  500 Hr. Professional Level Yoga Teacher Certification, all requirements met, January 2007.
  • 1000 Hr. Advanced Level Teacher Training, currently accumulating credits.  
Advanced Pranayama, Yoga Philosophy, Meditation Techniques, Vinyassa, Restorative Yoga, Basic Aryuveda, Yoga for Pregnancy, Pranakriya Yoga, Conscious Communication, Energy Anatomy/Chakras, Yoga Nidra, Science of Yoga, The Jaguar Path.
I’d like to acknowledge three Kripalu Master Yoga Teachers that I trained under while earning Professional Certification. I was also a Core Assistant to them, helping them train hundreds of students, in 200 hr and 500 hr YTT’s, Specialized Courses, and Kripalu Yoga Teacher Conferences:
Vidya Carolyn Deluomo, Pioneer of Kripalu Yoga Center, Yoga Teacher Training: 
My Mentor and “Dear Friend.” I cannot put into words all that she taught and affirmed in me. She carried and lived the message of Swami Kripalu that “love is the first lesson.” She exuded compassion and gave me ongoing heartfelt support and guidance. I miss her huge smile, letters, and Shaktipat, transmission of spiritual energy. I am humbly committed to carrying on her legacy. R.I.P. Vid, I love you.
Sudha Carolyn Lundeen, RN, ERYT 1000, Kripalu Center: An Exceptional Master Teacher who both models and guides her students in how to take care of their physical bodies, busy minds, and crazy emotions using both ancient and modern healing techniques. I feel healed and whole just being in her presence. I have had “peak moments” with Sudha as well as deep, serene, restful experiences. She officiated my 500 Hr. graduation. She is my forever Sister and lifelong confidant.
Devarshi Steven Hartman, Pranotthan Yoga, former Dean Kripalu Yoga YTTs: Before I met this icon Yogi I was often told “you remind me of Devarshi.” When we finally met at an airport I had been picking up my broken mala beads which were all over the floor. He said, “Oh they’re supposed to break, mine have at airports too.” Devarshi models living authentically and being in "lifes mess". Hearing him teach the Gita makes me cry, practicing yoga with him blisses me out. I have a place in his heart and he'll always have a place in mine. 
Sudha picked out the Sanskrit name that I chose to go by, Vidya and Devarshi “christened” me Ambika. It means “generous heart, mother, compassionate woman.” I strive to live up to the name and am deeply honored for the talika I received from them. 
Other Kripalu Instructors/Masters I studied under include Yoganand Michael Carroll and Rashmi Sue Jenkins; 200 hr certification. Yoganand was my teacher for several profound advanced courses. Megha Nancy Buttingham, Steven Cope, Todd Norian, Rudy Pierce, Sudhir Jonathan Foust, Shoban Richard Faulds, Grace Jull, Naresh Ron King, Ray Christ, Dr. Lisa Nelson, and Chris Holmes. 
Other notable Teachers I practiced with (some in a large mass), studied with, or heard speak: Shiva Ray, Sean Corn, Sharon Salzberg, Krishna Das, Angela Farmer, Dr. Maria Sirois, Janice Clairfield, Amy Weintrab, Sheika Khadja, Deva Premal, Amba & Don Stapleton, Sat Bir S. Khalsa PhD, Bessel Van Der Kolk MD, Swami Pajamayama! And the 14th Dalai Lama. I am also inspired by and follow the work of Resmaa Menekem MSW.
I trained alongside and am highly influenced by: 
The beyond-gifted Jovinna Chan, Little Sis, fellow movement artist and conscious communicator. Bro Rouben Madikians, we are bonded by our love of vibrant health, healing, and the absurd. Joan Stenzler in NY, and Devi Annette Baltich in MN. They've kept (keep) me real. Seeing, accepting, and loving All of me, validating that I Am Who I Am. Swami Kripalu said "finding happiness alone is not much." I am never alone. 

Other Education/Employment

I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Psychology/Community Service. I held licensure in Pre-K and Parent Education. The following fields of work greatly influence how I teach Yoga:
Program Director, providing supervisory care for the elderly. 
Lead Counselor, providing individual and group outpatient therapy for the chemically dependent and survivors of sexual and/or physical abuse. Continuing Education: Diagnostic Training, Intensive Training for Professionals Working with Trauma, Aftercare, Ethics, Grief Counseling, Compulsive Disorders, Co-Dependency, Cultural Diversity, Gestalt Therapy. I also worked as an Independent Contractor for a public high school on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation leading groups for high risk teens as part of a Chemical Dependency Prevention grant program.
Parent Educator, providing public school classes for families. 
Providing Community Empowerment and Parent Education to people living in low income housing and in the greater Bemidji area. I taught how thinking impacts all human psychological functioning, ran groups, and organized events that helped reduce separation and crime in high risk neighborhoods. I participated in a year long monthly program geared for helping professionals learning to implement HR, also called the 3 Principals of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought. Joe Bailey, M.A.,L.P., and Mavis Karn, M.A., L.S.W. led the resiliency approach Training for Trainers that I completed. I also had additional coursework with Dr.Jack Pransky Ph.D. I have participated in Healing for Healers workshops and am committed to teaching others how to live a calmer, less stressed life through deep listening.
Teaching children beginning ballet and creative movement, Artist in Residence in schools, choreography for theatre and schools. I wore a hole in the carpet dancing in front of the hi-fi when I was a kid so my mom enrolled me in dance classes and I learned basic ballet and tap. I performed in recitals and often went the wrong way, preferring improv. to the hi-fi. I was in a Modern Dance Troupe in college and gyrated at dance caravans led by the then Ozone, now Zenon Dance Co. in Mpls. As a young adult I began learning pointe technique and later danced with my daughter at a studio for a decade. I have danced in productions at our local Professional Playhouse, my favorite role was as a Tormentor in JCSS. When I got to Kripalu Center I was inspired by Master Dance Leaders; Megha Buttingham, Dan Levin, & Toni Bergins. I’ve gone on to lead my own drum, dance, and yoga gatherings. Bemidji is a haven for artists and musical talent and I continue to be involved when opportunity arises.
Sokuji Zendo began in Bemidji in 2002 and shortly after I began sitting with Rev. Shoshin Bob Kelly. He led our small sangha and encouraged us to practice meditation at home. This is truly how I began to watch my thoughts without reaction, by returning to my cushion over and over again and simply sitting. Zen compliments my yoga practice and enables me to become more selfless. I took my Jukai, formal initiation, into the Zen Buddhist way in 2004, acknowledging the sixteen bodhisattva precepts as an ongoing natural and true path, and I was named Gendo. I do not teach Buddhism, I practice it. I am influenced by the many quotes of Pema Chodren, and special friend TaiJu, Geri Wilimek. R.I.P. dear Shoshin.

Yoga Teaching Experience

I owned a small space until I outgrew it. I taught All Level Classes (beginning/gentle, moderate, advanced/vigorous) and Specialty Classes; e.g. Mom/daughter, Yoga for Dancers, Teen Yoga, Posture Training. 
YOGA BEMIDJI “Skylight Studio”: 10 yrs full-time 
5 weekly All Level Classes and Work-shops; e.g. Pranayama, Posture Training, Self-Care, Chakras, Partners, Props. In 2011, I became a certified Yoga Teacher Trainer and led one 200 hr YTT with some of my students; Ambi Yoga Teacher Training. We formed Yoga Bemidji, a network of local teachers committed to spreading their love of Yoga.
Bemidji Community Ed./ Leech Lake Tribal College Community Ed: 10 yrs
All Level Classes and Speciality Classes; e.g. Yoga for Pregnancy, Yoga for Depression, Mens Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Family Yoga. 
Short & Long Term Contracts Teaching: Ongoing
All Level Classes and/or Restorative; Charter Schools, Massage Center, Wilderness Retreat Center, Technical College (Massage Therapy Students), University Nursing Faculty, University Nursing Students, Diabetes Prevention Program(s), Native American Reservation School(s), Home School Families. 
Kripalu Immersion Guest Teacher: Ongoing
Classes and/or Workshops for; Yoga Studios, Businesses, Public Schools, Dance Schools, Health Expos. I have taught at large venues, eg: Hazelton (Center City) and The Marsh (Minnetonka), both gold star centers for recovery and health. And small venues, eg: bridal showers, private retreats, clinic staff, my bank! I love to teach when I travel and continue to do so (see Services.) 
Designed for: Beginners - Advanced Level students including those with special needs such as; chronic stress, depression, Parkinson's Disease, Lyme Disease, arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia, blindness, physical disabilities. 
About 10 years ago students asked me to make a guided audio for them, so I came up with sequences of synchronized movement, breath, and sound and made a CD (Moderate-Advanced level) in my home studio on the Mississippi River. It combined my personal and Kripalu Approach style instruction with music and song spontaneously composed by my muse-ician, mega talented Caleb Fricke. He used my childhood piano, and our good friend, artist Mitch Blessing designed the cover. I had 100 copies made and it was kind of a hit! It ended up in several gift shops including Kripalu's. I’m out of copies but all the work is still on my old laptop. 
I am a registered member of Yoga Alliance and Kripalu Yoga and Ayurvedic Association. 
I have been featured in Kripalu Catalog Photographs and Advertisements (my favorite one is with Jovinna Chan.) Recently I saw myself in one where my pose is slightly out of alignment. Proper alignment is physically and metaphorically a lifelong process!
Karen Filardo: 218-760-9642 (YOGA)
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