I began meditating in 1999 as a way of coping with the stress of my job as a lawyer in New York City. I have studied and practiced meditation in a yoga tradition for over 10 years, and spent 2002 to 2003 living and working at the Siddha Yoga ashram in South Fallsburg, New York. In 2010, I began work with Alan Chapman, whose Deep Humanism project addresses spiritual awakening from a western contemplative perspective. I later started teaching with his encouragement.

I approach meditation and related spiritual practice with a strong focus on meditation as a means to better understanding the mind, the nature of reality and our connection with others, and with a view of enlightenment as a realistic and attainable goal. My approach is "non-denominational": I work with all established meditation traditions, as I believe the fundamental questions that we try to answer through spiritual practice are universal. So while I remain a dedicated student of yoga, I have experience with other meditation techniques and enlightenment traditions, including Christian and Buddhist traditions.

Alongside developing my meditation practice, I’ve worked as a lawyer and as a consultant to banks and other financial institutions; I’ve raised children; and I briefly ran a business with my husband, importing eco-friendly furniture from East Africa to the U.S. I am an avid reader, a passionate cook and I practice hatha yoga and Qigong. I hold a J.D. from Yale Law School and an A.B. from Vassar College.

Karen Gifford