I want to share a story with you about how I came to be a yoga teacher and what it means for me to teach yoga now. It’s so much deeper than I can even share, but I am going to try.
(lauren here, by the way)
When I was 17 years old I thought my life was over (as one does when they are 17 and something seemingly catastrophic happens). It was my senior year of High School and I had just broken my talus bone and torn my achilles tendon on Thanksgiving Day. After my rehabilitation I could no longer run a few miles with my family dog, Molly, so I decided to try a Jiu Jitsu class. I arrived late to my first class and they wouldn’t allow me to jump in since I was a newbie, but there was a yoga studio next door that had a class starting just a few minutes later. I took the yoga class and I was hooked...
I went back the next day - and basically every day following. I started to pack a yoga bag when I would go to high school, and quickly scarf down dinner in the moments before class on my mat (I can’t do this anymore, btw, who was I?) I was surrounded by women and men in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and beyond. I was surrounded by some of the most inspiring people I’ve met in my life and still have the pleasure of knowing. I was already extremely flexible, but I lacked strength. I would come home from yoga classes and my upper body would be so sore I wouldn’t be able to lift my hands to wash my hair in the shower. I started practicing yoga before school and after school, as often as I could. I would be the first person in the yoga studio to “Get my spot.” Strength came quickly for me with regular practice.
Yoga was such a rock in my life during hard times. Through break-ups, family loss, meaning-based-questions, and searching for my purpose in life. It was a bridge that appeared when i needed it most.
When I was 18 years old, I took the yoga teacher training program at this studio and quickly began teaching shortly thereafter, which further drove my own personal practice. After my accident, for many reasons, my path changed from pursuing the musical theater arts to pursuing a career in social work. I graduated high school and started college at the University of Pittsburgh. I was teaching first thing in the morning at 6am, working at an animal shelter during the day, taking college classes in the evening, and practicing after school late at night. I was so lucky being that I was a student that I had the time and youthful energy to practice daily even with the demands of a grueling college schedule (I took more credits every semester so that I could graduate in three years). I found myself in Philadelphia via Bryn Mawr College's Graduate School of Social Work and today I work as an Oncology Social Worker when I am not on my yoga mat.
I am so grateful that yoga found me early on in my path. I just turned 29. I took my first yoga class 12 years ago, and there have only been a number of weeks when I haven’t practiced or taught due to vacation or illness. The best part is that, even after 12 years, I STILL feel like I am early on in my path as a yoga student and teacher. This is thrilling to realize that it is still just the beginning.
I have spent thousands of hours teaching, and it has become as much of a practice as the asana practice itself. Over the years my practice has changed. I’ve had the opportunity to learn with so many renowned teachers and have been blessed with living in a city with some of the finest teachers around. I met David Garrigues who introduced me to Ashtanga and Joan White who introduced me to Iyengar. Philadelphia has really come into its own with the yoga community and offerings since I moved here in 2011.
I met my husband doing this practice, and we’ve developed a business together which has been both terrifying and thrilling. To run a yoga business is hard because you have to balance offering what is essentially a spiritual practice with what the majority of the population wants - exercise, for low prices. I want people to know that we take our business and offerings about as seriously as one can. It is an honor and a privilege to be in the role that we are. Every decision we make about classes, our teachers, our workshops and offerings, is strategic.
In building a Teacher Training Program I have had to seriously discern my role in perpetuating a cycle of watered-down-programs that help keep many yoga studios afloat financially. This concept kept us from hosting a teacher training at our studio for a long time, until we really felt like we could offer the best program from the right place in our hearts. After I hosted my first teacher training on my own in 2012, I knew I needed time to refill my cup and focus on my own learning until I could truly give all of myself to a training again. I re-focused my studies on my own learning for 5 years! And now, with my co-anchor Erik, we are about to offer our second Teacher Training Program. This training comes from the deepest reservoir of who I am, my history of practice, and I am eager to share it with those that desire to teach yoga.
Please join me and Erik tomorrow, August 25, after morning classes to learn more about our Teacher Training Program which begins September 22. This is where my story continues and where you become a part of it.
Photos: Joe Longo Photography
Join Lauren & Anika this Sunday evening for a Yin Yoga class, with an opportunity to write/share poetry. Regular passes accepted.
Roots Fall Outing
Saturday, october 13 @ 2:30pm
Meet at Treetop Quest a few minutes before 2:30pm, we will have 2.5 hours on the ropes course (51 Chamounix Drive). After the ropes course, gather at Shelley’s house for pizza. $50 includes ropes course & pizza!
Calm body, clear mind
A mindfulness series with Brandon Everett
Sundays: 9/23, 10/7, 10/21, 11/4, 9:00-10:15am
True peace of mind isn’t something you can buy or accumulate, but it is something you can learn to recognize and connect with from moment to moment. Mindfulness meditation, the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment and then sustaining that attention, has been proven to support a number of benefits, including reduced stress, greater focus, better sleep, and a general sense of connection, meaning, and deep well-being
During this four-class series Brandon R. Everett will share foundational mindfulness meditation practices for connecting with breath and body along with key concepts for establishing and deepening a meditation practice.
All classes will be recorded and the audio made available for streaming/download.
Who doesn’t love a small-world story? Shortly after Peter began practicing at Roots, he and Erik discovered a connection from their childhoods. Growing up, Erik’s family would rent the upper level of Peter’s grandparent’s home down the shore in Sea Isle, NJ. Peter and Erik would often be there at the same time on occasion.
Peter has been practicing yoga for about five years. He started because he felt it could be instrumental in his life. Physically, yoga helps prevent injury and keeps him in shape for his active job as a tennis pro. His practice helps him clear his head and find calmness. He enjoys being curious about the body and loves when he masters a new posture. A goal of his is to drop back into back-bends. Peter commented that he appreciates the community that has been created at Roots Philly Yoga. Roots Philly Yoga is honored to have Peter as a student!
Peter has many interests ranging from tennis and animals to comedy and acting. Peter lives in the Fairmount area with his wife (Kerry) of eleven years this coming November. He was born in Philadelphia, but grew up in Crofton, MD with his four younger brothers. In 2001, he returned to Philly after getting a job teaching and playing tennis. Currently, Peter is a Racquets Professional at Huntingdon Valley Country Club. Peter was named the best actor in a short comedy film at the Playhouse West Film Festival for the past two years. He fell into the performing arts after trying stand-up comedy. His most recent role was Paul Whitaker in “So You Want To Be A Politician?” Peter plans to continue pursuing acting in some form.
Break a leg, Peter!