There’s nowhere to get to, just a series of moments which will teach you everything and nothing. Make learning to love every part of yourself the priority and enjoy the decadence of being.
What does ‘flow’ mean or feel like to you? When was the last time you felt ‘in flow’?
Sweet, sweet flow. Flow is our natural state of being.
To be in flow means to get out of our head and to be embodied in the physicality of the moment. Scientifically what happens is that we deactivate our animalistic brain (the amygdala) and activate the pre-frontal cortex (PFC), responsible for creativity, decision making and imagination. When this shift occurs we are able to respond to our environment rather than react to stressors. This means that the days events/stressors fall from us like water off a ducks back. Suddenly we can respond and interact with our world from a place of creativity; challenges become exciting because we are so connected and at ease. Our energy moves freely through the body and with the universe. We are able to effortlessly manifest our desires and participate in the co-creation of our dharma (calling/duty).
Flow feels like a deep, delicious exhale, it feels like the softening of the body, surrendering into the unknown with ease and trust. Flow feels like bliss and sounds like the ceaseless crash of waves. Flow is when living has become meditation.
Flow and I have become good friends and her and I visit frequently, however when moments arise where we feel disconnected it’s a beautiful reminder for me to come back to my practice, to spend time with myself tapping into source.
If you can only preserve one memory from your childhood, what might this be?
I think back to my childhood with a fog of fondness. The first memory which arises is of my Father and I peering into endless rock pools in Cape Town, South Africa. The water is cold on my toes and the sun warm on my back, the pool is dark blue with floating bits of coloured seaweed. It looks like a portal to a new world filled with alien creatures. He picks up a red starfish and places it on my hand, I remember the flutter of butterflies in my belly as the little creature began to gently grip onto my palm. I remember kind eyes and patient explanations to the thousands of questions which constantly poured from my lips. I remember the smell of the sea, the salt on my skin, my wild tangled hair and sandy everything. I’ve saved this memory because it is one I can still touch as if I were there.
The essence of childhood is that we are effortlessly present, we are embodied and connected to our world and those around us so much so, that a moment can last forever.
Share with us your first experience of yoga – as a physical practice or as a deeper energetic experience. What influence did this have on you?
I had been going through one of the darkest periods of my life when a good friend dragged me to my first yoga class. I was adamant that I didn’t need to go somewhere “to stretch and breathe, that I could do that at home.” Nonetheless, I went. It was a heated class in a spa type studio in Edmonton, Canada. Amidst the sweat and the poses which seemed impossible, I somehow found space to begin to release all I had been holding onto so very tightly. I kept coming back, those walls quickly became a place of healing and connection to something higher. To try to explain the influence this initial experience with Yoga had on me seems impossible, however the way I’ve chosen to live my life is a direct reflection of what began in that little sweaty room.
What is your favourite sound, smell, or sight to wake up to / fall asleep to?
Definitely the rain. There’s nothing that can compare to being beneath warm blankets while the rain pelts against the roof and windows, a cup of tea and snuggles are welcome additions.
We all meet moments or even days where things feel way out of our control. How do you respond to this? What techniques or habits have helped you recently?
I often speak to my students about having a “toolbox” of strategies from which to pull from when the day has left you feeling as if you are lacking.
For me, feeling out of control is an indication that I’m operating from my animalistic brain, or fight and flight response. In these moments I look into my toolbox and choose one or a series of strategies depending on whats going on for me. My instant go-to’s include my Vedic meditation practice, self care strategies such as a warm bath and a Yin yoga class, beautiful nutrient rich food and special friends who help put everything back into perspective. After all, our reality is based on our perception of our reality, having a toolbox to draw from helps me to recognise when I am allowing the mind to spin stories around a situation and helps me to remember that it’s all imperfectly perfect.
Where is your favourite spot in your home, and why?
In the corner of my living room, beside the window is an extra wide armchair with a squishy knitted pillow, a giant Fiddle Leaf Fig tree and a reading lamp. This is my favourite spot to sit with a highlighter and a cup of something warm while I devour as many books as I can. It’s one of those spots which I try to visit frequently even if it’s between classes or while dinner is cooking.
What are you reading right now?
I usually read 4 or 5 books at once, as I like a mixture of fiction and non-fiction and think of books like a box of chocolates. Variation is good.
My current list is:
‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara
‘Mindfulness for Creativity’ by Dr/ Danny Penman
‘The Rig Veda’ translated by Wendy Doniger
‘The Way of Zen’ by Alan Watts
‘When the Body Says No’ by Gabor Maté
What’s something you would say to your 20 year old self?
Hey baby, don’t be so hard on yourself there’s no rush to grow up.
There’s nowhere to get to, just a series of moments which will teach you everything and nothing. Make learning to love every part of yourself the priority and enjoy the decadence of being. See the Earth, fall in love with people and landscapes and learn to let go more than you ever hold on. You don’t need to believe everything or anything society has told you about life and love, and nothing is as serious as it feels.
Most of all thank you. Thank you for the tremendous strength and courage you will find for us, for being so brave, determined and full of magic. I love you, you are so much more than enough.
What does it mean to be a great teacher? How has your perception of teaching changed since you started?
I’ve learned that teaching is far less about doing and far more about allowing. The role of teacher is fluid and we share it with one another.
To be in the role of teacher is to share and give permission for others to be curious, to allow space for learning to occur. Much like being the curator of a space in which knowledge and understanding can flow, where questions can grow into new types of bigger and more intricate questions.
Teachers welcome those whom are seeking, sometimes offering warmth and comfort, other times, the most profound of times, providing discomfort and friction to shake us up enough for transformation to occur.
At the end of our Yoga/Meditation practice we bow our head toward our heart space in honour of the greatest teacher of all: the Guru within.
Guru means ‘remover of darkness.’ If we aren’t willing to look, to really look at what is being revealed, then learning has not and can not occur.
I suppose to be a great teacher, means that this person has done the work, they’ve looked into the darkest parts of themselves and found that light resides here too. In discovering this light of consciousness within themselves they are able to share this light and how to find it with those who are ready to learn.
What does it mean to be a real life yogi?
To be a yogi means to actively seek and be truth.
For me, the shift occurred when I felt a calling toward something higher, something that I thought was outside of myself before I realised that it was in fact me.
This innate calling has led me to change my life completely, it has awakened within me a thirst for knowledge, a passion for practice, a connection to stillness and a desire to care for our Earth as an extension of myself.
I’m not sure there is such a thing as a real-life yogi. I think we are all Yogi’s, we are all little earth seedlings who innately know the true essence of who we are and why we are here.
I think to practice Yoga means to remember how to come back to this knowing, how to come back to the infinite place of wisdom which resides in the delicate stillness of being. To consciously be a yogi, we make the decision to revisit this place each and every day, whether through asana, meditation, bhakti, puja, the food we eat, how we care for the Earth, care for each other. However we connect, we make the nurturing of this divine place within ourselves a priority.
To teach is to become the eternal student, constantly exploring, evoking, and evolving.
Lauren is a Yoga, Meditation and art teacher with ten years of experience worldwide. She’s a Deeksha practitioner and has studied various forms of Meditation including Mindfulness, Chakra and Vedic meditation. Lauren’s dharma is to teach through the mediums of art and yoga (eight limbed path) to awaken and connect students to their innate creative intelligence. Lauren founded and owns NamARTste which explores the transformative power of Conscious Creativity through the unity of the arts and yoga.