Strong, healthy, and wise are the words I choose to describe Karen Gnat (@karengnat) perfectly. A yoga teacher. Nutritionist. An advocate for mental health.
However, getting to this point wasn’t easy.
A great deal of emotional work, combined with painful experiences has created a path to where Karen stands today. Strong, healthy, and wise.
With a resume like this, how could I not ask Karen to be one of the mentors in my book Get Up? When I asked her the question:
“WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR 13-YEAR-OLD SELF?”
She came back with words that were so good, I don’t blame you if you write it on a piece of paper and stick it on your bathroom mirror so you can see it every day.
The fridge works too.
Yes, it’s that good.
But I’ll let you be the judge.
Who is Karen Gnat?
A strong yet soft woman who has overcome childhood trauma. I developed a resilience that has allowed me to support others during my career and in my relationships with great empathy. In terms of my career, I am a yoga teacher, and nutritionist and I am currently working towards becoming a psychotherapist.
What lead you into practicing yoga and eventually teaching it?
As a teenager I suffered from anxiety and yoga was recommended to me to manage my emotions. Connecting to my body is something that I love. As someone with a trauma history, experiencing feelings can be a challenge. Using the body as a tool to feel and regulate my emotions helped me tremendously and became a gift I wanted to share with others.
Share your journey to desire to be a Psychotherapist.
I have always worked in jobs that serve people. One of my favorites was as a nutritionist for those suffering from eating disorders. I loved understanding why people react in different ways. Throughout my career, I always have tried to listen to and understand people. Mindfulness, yoga as well as talk therapy have helped in my own journey, and I want to serve others in their healing.
What lead you to cooking events?
Again, I love to serve and nourish others. One of my favorite ways is through food. I have taught adults as well as children how to cook and plan healthy meals that nourish one from the inside out. Many people struggle with the choice of what to cook and I love to share how to meal plan with people to make their lives easier.
How do you relax?
I have lots of different things that relax me, all year I do yoga, hike, and read. In the summer I love to paddle and be by the water. In the winter I love to bake, ski, and have long baths.
What does a friend mean to you?
A friend is there for you when you need them but will also hold you accountable to be your best self. As a teen, I depended on my friends to be my family and I am so grateful for the friendships I have cultivated over the years. Some friendships are for a lifetime, and some may not be but all friendships will teach you lessons.
Let’s dive into your quote:
“Your feelings are valid and real. Everyone makes mistakes, that’s how we learn and grow. Listen to your heart.”
Everyone is unique and has their own stories, while we all feel similar feelings, we all feel them at different times and with different intensities. It’s ok to make mistakes, that is where some of our biggest lessons come from. But the most important thing you can do is honour yourself. Learn to listen to yourself and be guided by your own unique wisdom, feelings, and lessons you have learned along the way.
I am so grateful that Karen has shared her strong, healthy, and wise quote with me and everyone who has the chance to read Get Up. And I so appreciate this deep dive into her advice to her 13-year-old self. It’s no surprise that Karen is here to guide others toward a safe and healthy place in their lives.