In addition to bettering herself, Karen Peterson regularly endeavours to brighten the lives of others through her teachings, yoga classes, and personal support. Octavia Cosman photo.

Recovering out loud: yoga teacher spreads positivity by “returning to love”

Yoga provides platform for healing: ‘We’re all recovering from something, we really are’

In times of adversity, some flounder, while others fly.

Karen Peterson is a woman who soars, despite encountering her fair share of difficult experiences. Within each of her life’s challenges, Peterson has managed to discover the silver lining, and in doing so, she has succeeded in sharing her positive energy throughout the community she now calls home.

Peterson owns Blissed Out Yoga and Fitness, a popular yoga studio situated in downtown 100 Mile House. She is the owner and sole proprietor of the business. She currently rents the studio that Blissed Out operates within, but hopes to one day build a studio completely of her own, from the ground up.

“I love it,” she said. “I love serving my community.”

Blissed Out has been open for two years, but prior to that, Peterson was teaching free yoga classes in the local art gallery and also taught in the 108 Community Hall.

She has only been in business since 2017 but has consistently received community recognition in the time since then.

“I won two awards last year,” she recalls, referencing the South Cariboo’s Annual Business Excellence Awards. “I won Best Age-friendly and Best Sports and Recreation. Then the previous year I won Best New Business and People’s Choice.”

“I’m actually heading to Costa Rica on Wednesday to take another training so that I can host my own training and teacher training, registered with the Yoga Alliance.”

In addition to bettering herself, Peterson regularly endeavours to brighten the lives of others through her teachings, yoga classes, and personal support.

This spring, the Blissed Out Yoga and Fitness studio raised more than $2,500 to assist one of their members who recently left an abusive relationship and found herself in a tough position.

“It’s changed her entire life and her children’s lives,” Peterson recalls of the studio’s choice to step in and hold a fundraising class for the woman. “There’s no greater contribution to the world than being of service to our fellows.”

Related: Yoga studio raises $2,500 for woman leaving abusive relationship

Peterson’s own journey to recovery was not easy, but now that she’s here, she wants to continue helping others.

“I sobered up six years ago, but I was in drug and alcohol addiction since I was 11 years old,” she explained. “I scratched and clawed my way out of hell and never looked back. I found yoga when I was in a treatment centre in Abbotsford. They brought a woman in to teach us yoga once a week and I fell in love with it. The first time I did savasana (corpse pose) I bawled and bawled. It was like the first time on my mat that I could feel like a real human being and feel real forgiveness for myself and I just wanted so badly to share it with others.”

“It really is one of the key pieces to my sobriety today. I definitely choose to recover out loud,” she added. Peterson has created a safe, sacred space where she feels that everybody can just be themselves. “No masks, no judgement.”

“When I share about recovery, and when I share about my journey to sobriety and the hell I came out of, I’m hoping that—and it has— it’s resonated with so many different people that are struggling with addiction privately and secretly all alone.”

Many individuals who have attended Peterson’s yoga classes have approached her afterwards seeking support or advice. She has been happy to help guide them, bring them along to meetings, and be a part of their own journey to recovery.

Peterson recently led a goat yoga class outdoors in Centennial Park. The class was held in collaboration with Maverick Farms. Raven Nyman photos.

“I sponsor women today and help them on their journey to sobriety. So it’s like a perfect platform for healing. It’s for all humans, though. We’re all recovering from something, we really are,” she said.“This community has been so generous and loving to me and accepting of where I came from and forgiving.”

A year ago, her daughter was in a gun-powder explosion that forced the pair to leave the community for extended, but necessary medical care.

Read more: South Cariboo girl burned in science project is back home

“The whole community reached out and supported us with prayers and donations and their love,” she remembers. “And that’s all because I built this tribe of men, women, and children that can truly come together and heal together as a collective. No shame, just masks off. The universe will always serve us, all we have to do is be ourselves.”

Feeling accepted and valued in her community is great, said Peterson.

“My whole life I felt like I didn’t fit in. I felt like I was uniquely different. I never felt a part of. Then when Blissed Out Yoga and Fitness was born it was like I was birthing this baby into life. All I wanted it to feel like was all-encompassing love. Where people could let go of fear and remember that we are born of love.”

So much happens in our lives to challenge us, but Peterson believes that returning to love might be the key to keeping on. In the meantime, she will never stop helping out her community.

“If we can just keep returning to love and have a safe place to come where there are no expectations, no rules, [that’s it]. You just roll out your mat and do that sacred work.”

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