November Teacher of the Month: Dr. Shari Becker

We are delighted to share that Dr. Shari Becker is not only our “Rising Star” Honoree at our 10th Annual Gala on Nov 6th, but she has also been named Teacher of the Month for November!

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Shari Becker is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified yoga teacher who has spent the last fifteen years integrating her two professional passions. In her work as a psychologist, she brings the wisdom of yoga philosophy, as well as mindfulness techniques, meditation and breath work to her patients.

Shari became a certified yoga teacher and began teaching for Kula for Karma in 2014. She has been teaching a weekly class in the partial psychiatric hospitalization program at Christian Health Care Center since 2015. The “consumers” in CHCC’s partial program struggle with various mental illnesses, including psychotic, mood, anxiety and personality disorders. They come from a wide range of age groups, and vary in physical health and fitness level. Many are on medications that have side effects impacting their energy and balance. Every Tuesday, these individuals come together to practice yoga in a class designed to address their emotional vulnerability while accommodating their physical challenges. Most consumers at CHCC have no prior experience with yoga and some are reluctant to participate.

“Once assured that the class is taught to be accessible to everyone, we begin with a dharma talk incorporating strategies based in yoga philosophy for coping with life’s challenges,” says Shari. “The rest of the class varies from week to week and includes breath techniques, meditation practices, linking simple movements with breath, gentle stretching and playing with balance. Our class favorite is the practice of ‘Breath of Joy,’ in which we inhale to lift our arms overhead and exhale to bend forward and swing our arms down and back with a vibrant ‘HA,’ releasing tension and anything else that no longer serves us.”

Shari has a special interest in the therapeutic application of yoga to issues related to food, eating and body image. She co-wrote Kula for Karma’s manual for our advanced yoga teacher training for disordered eating and body image issues, and co-taught that training in New Jersey and New York City. Shari was Kula for Karma’s “Ask the Yogi” webinar expert on yoga and mental health and spoke at a Kula fundraiser for medical and mental health professionals about self-care for women.

Shari says she is very grateful to be part of the Kula for Karma community, to teach yoga to the special population at Christian Health Care Center, and to share the wisdom she has acquired from her yoga practice with her patients and students. But we are even more grateful to Shari, in return, for the support and kindness she shares with her students, the wisdom and leadership she shares with Kula’s teachers, and the generous Benefactor-level donation she and her husband Dan Becker made in support of this year’s 10th Anniversary Gala. Thank you, Shari, for everything you do for Kula.

Get your Gala tickets now, and come toast our Rising Star and Teacher of the Month, Dr. Shari Becker.