By Nika Shakhnazarova
Not all heroes start out wearing capes. And not all warriors are flexible at first, either. Sometimes, the cape needs to be earned to be able to wear it, and sometimes the warrior needs to learn how to be flexible. Karen Dubs earned her cape before helping others earn theirs, and consequently, became her very own flexible warrior.
“My journey was a unique one,” Dubs said. “I decided to make a health change not only because I wanted to, but because I had to.”
When Karen Dubs was diagnosed with Lyme disease, she decided it was time to take control of her mind and new body.
Dubs graduated from Towson University in 1991, with a major in mass communication and no plans of becoming a wellness advocate and health coach.
“I started watching my diet very closely, and monitored everything that went in my body,” Dubs said. “I started meditating at least twice a day; once in the morning and once at night. That helped me gain control of my emotional wellbeing an unbelievable amount.”
She started teaching yoga and helping others find inner peace through meditation.
“I taught some classes on the side,” she said. “It was more of a hobby at the time, just seeing people become a better version of themselves was rewarding to witness, because people only came when they were either sick or unhappy, so I wanted to help.”
Dubs’ experience grew and she landed a job with the Baltimore Ravens as the team’s yoga instructor.
“That was such an extraordinary experience,” Dubs said. “It was funny, because I took a chance and applied online, and kind of forgot about it. Then two weeks later I got a call saying they want me. I couldn’t believe it.”
Working with the Ravens gave Dubs a new challenge. She had to adjust to coaching large, not-so-flexible men how to stretch.
“I was definitely skeptical about this position before trying it,” she said. “My husband was more skeptical than me for sure. But the amount of respect and obedience these guys have is incredible. It was an honor to work for them.”
Dubs made her way to London for the 2012 Olympic Games as a wellness coach for pentathlete Suzanne Stettinius. She helped her stay recovered and flexible during competition.
“That’s probably one of my favorite memories of my professional career,” Dubs said. “Going to London as a coach to see Suzanne compete was a dream come true. I’ll never forget it.”
Dubs then decided to grow her personal brand “Flexible Warrior” by publishing a book. Her plans of the brand’s expansion happened quickly and spontaneously.
“I didn’t ever think I’d publish my own book,” Dubs said. “I mean, I have been through a lot and my journey hasn’t been easy, but I never thought I’d share it with the whole world, you know? Publishing my book was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
In addition to her Flexible Warrior work, Dubs works with charities, donating yoga classes to raise money for them on a weekly basis.
“I’m obsessed with dogs, and am strongly against dogs being bought from breeders instead of rescuing them,” Dubs said. “I am a big part of the charity Maryland SPCA, which helps to rescue thousands of dogs in Baltimore.”
Dubs is also passionate about donating to Believe Big, a non-profit Christian organization founded by one of her friends who battled with Stage IV colon cancer.
“I was there when she had plans to start this, and I’ll always be there donating in every way I can,” she said. “This is such an intimate organization, and I only want the best for it because the work that they do is outstanding.”
Dubs hopes to expand her brand by looking to publish another book soon, however she is not in a rush to make any big changes yet.
“I’m very hands on with Flexible Warrior,” she said. “I take care of everything. I don’t have an assistant because I like doing it myself, and yes at times I think to myself ‘what am I doing?’ but it’s always rewarding at the end of the day.”
Dubs said that with commitment and discipline, anyone has the power to find the Flexible warrior within them.
“It starts with you, and it ends with you,” she said.