Karen Brar is the passionate Founder of Nourished Union and our expert Head Wellness Practitioner.
Her path to wellness started with a career as a professional contemporary dancer and producer. After her dance career, professionally she transitioned to producing events in the corporate world and personally she began looking for ways to heal her body from old dance injuries. This is when she found yoga…
My Story: The Power of the Practice
I had a different kind of childhood; it wasn’t bad, but it was painful. Two weeks before my 10th birthday, the person I was closest to in the world – my father – had a massive stroke and he spent the next 25 years fighting for his quality of life. In a matter of seconds, he went from being a sharp, strong and boisterous man to not being able to speak in complete sentences, walk without support or do much independently anymore. Our lives were changed forever.
I grew up watching my dad struggle and while there was plenty of love and support in my family we missed out on many important father-daughter moments. I often daydreamed about conversations with my dad where he would share his wisdom, give me advice and even get upset at me for typical teenage things like cutting class. While I wasn’t aware of it at the time, these missed moments impacted my mental and emotional development in those formative years and I ended up building a thick wall of armour around me for protection.
I further reinforced this hard exterior with a negative attitude and a great deal of sarcasm to just get through my days and survive. Friends would warn others not to dare touch me and I developed a reputation for being aloof and super serious. It took years of an eating disorder, body dysmorphia, depression (including plans of suicide) and anxiety before I realized I needed help and started on my journey.
At first, I didn’t know how I was going to get out of my dark place but I knew I had to. So, in my mid-20’s I got myself into therapy and a yoga class. The therapy was to help pull me out of the darkness and the yoga was to help heal my body from over 20 years of dance injuries. But the power of the practice soon took over in ways I never expected and I kept returning to the mat not only for the positive physical affects but also for the mind-body connection. By applying the tools learned on the mat to my daily life, I was able to undo old patterns and develop new pathways in my brain, helping me to overcome my depression and anxiety.
I have come a long way from the teenage girl dressed in all black not allowing anyone to get close to her. I now see the world through a much brighter lens; I enjoy connecting with people and nature, I express gratitude and on most days I feel happy and peaceful. I’m still real with my emotions and it’s not all roses and sunshine but now, because of the practice, I have so many more tools to help me get through the not-so-good days that they don’t hit me so hard.
I wanted to share my story because I know each of us has our own story. We are all experiencing this thing called life and sometimes it can feel so overwhelming we can’t imagine making it through the battle. But the good news is we can and with a new, deeper awareness we can even thrive. I experienced the power of the practice first hand and what has followed has been an unexpected and ongoing journey of healing – a journey that motivated me to pursue in-depth studies in the philosophies and practices of Yoga, Ayurveda and Energy Healing, and impassioned me to share those teachings with others to help them find balance and meaning in their lives.
Vision & Approach
As a wellness practitioner, Karen takes a truly holistic approach to balancing the mind, body, emotions and senses that is based on leveraging the ancient practices of Yoga and Ayurveda, and applying them in the context of our modern world. She leans on scientific backing to further reinforce the efficacy of the practices and translates all this knowledge into wellness programs that people can integrate into their daily lives and immediately feel the benefits of by way of reduced stress, a balanced nervous system and more conscious living. Karen’s teachings are not only rooted in a strong physical practice, she focuses on connecting the mind and one’s whole self to every challenge in order to uncover everyone’s deeper potential to live a more healthy and connected life. Her vision for Nourished Union is to build an enlightened and experience-focused company that brings together a community of holistic health experts dedicated to guiding people through their life-long wellness journeys.
Education & Qualifications
- Yoga: 300hr of Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) training, plus additional certifications in Chakra Balance, Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, Pre/Post Natal Yoga, Nada Yoga and Yoga Nidra
- Ayurveda: 100hr of Ayurveda Yoga Specialist training, Ayurveda Yoga Therapist and Ayurvedic Practitioner with a specialization in Ayurvedic Psychology
- Meditation: 100hr of Registered Meditation Teacher (RMT) training
- Reiki: Usui Reiki Master
- Health Coach: Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with a specialization in Gut Health
- Mental Health: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Practitioner Certification
- Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance: Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
Faculty Teacher for Jai Wellness, facilitating Yin Yoga Teacher Training