Karen Blackman, director of The Sangha Trinidad, has been instrumental in the evolution of yoga in Trinidad. When she returned to Trinidad after her Moksha yoga teacher training 11 years ago, things were much different. “A lot of people didn’t have a space where you just walked in and did yoga. It was mostly smaller groups, ashrams,” she says. There was one other yoga teacher in the big city of Port of Spain, and her classes were waitlisted.
“So I tried to bring an open door. Anybody could walk in. And it was the craziest thing. People were like, ‘Really? You just do yoga all day long?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’” Eleven years later, there are more studios and more styles available to yoga students. “We’re still growing,” Karen says. “It’s nowhere near like North America, where there’s a yoga studio on every corner.”
I got to meet Karen while I was attending a Society of American Travel Writers meeting in Trinidad. The wonderful conference organizers hired her to come to the Hilton to teach our members. A poolside Caribbean yoga class? Count me in. Even at 6:30 in the morning.
Karen says her yoga students first come in looking for exercise, then open their minds to meditation. “I’m always a believer in get people in the door first, and then you show them the way. And eventually everyone develops their own practice and gets where they want to be or where they need to be.”
The Sangha Trinidad offers the only 500-hour Yoga Alliance-certified teacher training program in the Caribbean. And lots of drop-in classes.