Channeling Good Karma 

Yoga in the Park offers the chance to stretch for a good cause.

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What comes to mind when you think of Detroit? Be honest. Crime? Abandoned buildings? Corrupt leaders? Katherine Austin, owner of Karma Yoga, is one of many who are trying to change that.

In Austin’s case, as a certified yoga instructor, she’s channeling providence through Karma Yoga in the Park, an event that allows first-timers and yoga veterans to come together in slow-flowing poses, surrounded by the great outdoors, while also experiencing a “vibrational upgrade” during the middle of their work day.

“It’s all about uplifting and rebuilding the energy field of [Detroit] because we know it’s been struggling for a long time, and it’s coming on back to the rebound,” Austin says. “Yoga is a beautiful system to uplift everybody. When people are practicing yoga or meditation, they immediately affect the energy fields around them — not just themselves but the environment.”

Since 2003, Karma Yoga in the Park has been an annual event and has always taken place in the suburbs, until recently. Austin says she decided to bring the event to Detroit with the hope that attendees realize they have the power and strength needed to turn the city around.

“We have the power to change anything once we tap into our own energy and realize how powerful we are, and yoga and meditation is a tool for that,” she says. “It empowers people. They tap into a creative power source inside them they didn’t even know they had.”

Austin is a firm believer that yoga and meditation can help solve some of the issues that Detroit faces by bringing positive energy and enlightenment into the community — and lowering the crime rate as a result.

“The more elevated and uplifted and inspired people are in their community, the more productive [and] creative they are,” she says. “We’re so unhappy and we’re stuck in these lower energies all the time. Yoga is the way to show people how simply and quickly we can shift them and make them feel better, and then they make better choices in their lives.”

City issues aside, Austin says her biggest goal is to have attendees walk away from the event with a greater sense of themselves, as well as the inspiration to eliminate any negative energy from their lives and begin reaching their full potential.

“It doesn’t take rocket science,” she says. “It’s an ancient practice. It doesn’t take a lot of money. You need bare feet and it’s not like you have to [purchase] this expensive gym membership.”

The event is donation-only ($10 suggested) with proceeds going to Urban Farming (, an organization that teaches city dwellers how to turn vacant lots into community gardens, allowing them to grow their own food and gain access to healthier food options.

For those who remain a bit skeptical, Austin says yoga newbies can rest assured the event is fun and beginner-friendly.

“It’s so easy,” she says. “We’re going to be moving the body to feel good [and] to open up tight areas with easy, accessible poses for all.”

Karma Yoga in the Park will take place at noon-12:45 p.m., on July 23, July 30, Aug. 6 and Aug. 13 at Milliken State Park, 1900 Atwater St., Detroit; 248-723-9168;

Princess Gabbara digs downward dog, and is a Metro Times editorial intern. Send comments to


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