Dr. Karen Pascoe and the Mind-Body Connection

“Off the mat and into your life.”

That’s how Dr. Karen Pascoe hopes her yoga students – and her counseling patients – will use their training to attain a happier, calmer, more present state of being in all aspects of their lives.

A Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Addiction Counselor, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Therapeutic Yoga Teacher, and a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, Karen is also the owner of the Mind Body Life Transformation Center in Highlands Ranch. Her own path taught her early on that emotional wellness is not a one-sided approach.

We caught up with Karen at her studio between a yoga class and a therapy session, her sweet spot. “This is a place for mind-body-life transformation, says Karen. “There are a lot of different dynamics going on here.”  

Regardless of why or how a person finds Karen’s studio, whether it’s for mental health counseling or yoga (or both), “everyone who comes here ends up with breathing strategies, yoga poses, mantras. A mantra is an affirmation, so that connects right back to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT),” says Karen. (Long considered the gold standard in the psychotherapeutic treatment of anxiety disorders, CBT focuses on the development of personal coping strategies by changing unhelpful patterns, thoughts, behaviors and attitudes.)

“It’s just a natural link. I just highlight it more because I have the skill set to do that.”

In addition to the diverse menu of yoga classes you might find on the website of a traditional yoga studio, Karen offers sessions in MindBody Therapy for Adults, Yoga 101, Private Yoga Sessions, Aromatherapy Bracelet Sessions and Mala Bead Consultations.

“I’ve always known that our bodies are affected by what goes on in our mental health system as much our mental health system is affected by our bodies,” says Karen. “To offer effective treatment we need to be addressing both simultaneously. We can’t put them in silos — they’re not exclusive of each other. I offer both, and together at the same time.

“I thought going for 
a long run was the 
solution to everything.”

“I always knew I was going to do some kind of counseling profession, even as a youngster.” In high school Karen got heavily into fitness and exercise, while also suffering depression. ”I noticed that when I exercised I could control my depression. When I didn’t, I couldn’t.” Karen knew heading into college that she would double-major in Exercise Science and Psychology and that she would combine the two in her career.

“I used to think that going for a long run was the solution to everything,” says Karen. “That if i could just get people fit enough to do that, we’d have no depression.”

At the time, not a lot of people stateside knew what yoga was all about. “Any idea I had about yoga was not what it became for me. Yoga was this weird thing that weird people did.”

Karen learned about yoga when she was told by her boss at her first job that she had to teach it. “I got a video and a book and I studied and I prepared a class. I fell in love. I could not believe the effect it had on my wellbeing.”

“Yoga teaches you about you.”

Karen is passionate about teaching. “Yoga teaches us all these cool things. Did you know your breath can create this effect energetically for you? Let me teach you how to do that. Let me give you the time and the space to feel that so you can access this.

“I love helping people to understand and know about their bodies. That’s within you. It’s not outside of you. That’s your birthright — your ability to meditate, to move your body—that improves every system within your body.

“When they’re stressed in line in the grocery store, losing patience, they can tap into mountain pose and energetically feel the peace and calm and stability. They can feel the benefit of letting go. That calms their anxiety and stress so when they go out into traffic they’re not already loaded up that things aren’t going their way. It’s a guiding back to the mind-body connection.”