By Karuna (Karen Kreps)

Karuna Kreps met Sri Gurudev Swami Satchidananda in 1967, while she was in high school. She wanted to become his secretary, but her parents wanted her to go to college and have a career. Sri Gurudev told her to go to college and then decide what to do. She went to New York University so as to not leave the New York Integral Yoga Institute and lived in the IYI for Freshman and Sophomore years. She went on to work in publishing, first in print and then online. She continues to serve Sri Gurudev to this day, through her work and life’s example. Here, she shares reflections on this journey.

For me, as a child of the ‘60s, I often felt torn between the material world and spiritual growth. Before Yoga was in vogue, I felt the business world shunned those like me who followed an alternative lifestyle and who didn’t chase the almighty dollar. I didn’t talk that much about Yoga early in my professional life, but kept it private. Yet, it was my involvement in Yoga that gave me the sharp focus that made easy the tasks of entry-level publishing—Xeroxing, collating papers, proofreading. When I could sit and meditate for an hour,  it was nothing to collate papers. Yet, much of business involves socializing and networking, so not drinking and eating meat could bring scrutiny. Thankfully things have changed massively. Yogis today can be more open, and Yoga may become an asset, if you can work it into a resume or a job interview—because it shows a certain moral fiber, character strength and discipline.

A lot of the business world is about self-promotion and prestige, but I think there’s a place for a yogic approach in business, for being a team player and having the spotlight shine on someone else. As a Bhakti Yogi, I can choose to be, not necessarily worshipful of but dedicated to serving my clients. As a Web developer, I enable people to communicate clearly, organize their ideas and use new technology in ways that helps them market and reach their customers. When I step out of the selfish need to promote myself, I can get behind a figurehead and be a Shakti force, playing the backstage role while my clients use social media tools to say what they need… .

Read the rest of this article in the Winter 2011 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.