A Q&A with newly qualified yoga teacher Lauren

Meet Lauren, my good friend and a newly qualified yoga teacher

I met Lauren through Instagram and our friendship grew through our love of running and vegan food, searching for the best almond croissants in Edinburgh (Black Rabbit) and doing well to avoid the club training sessions in favour of a weekend plod around the hills.

Last week she celebrated becoming a yoga teacher, completing 200 hours of teacher training despite lockdown and no yoga studios being open – oh the wonders of Zoom, we’re so over it now.

As well as running and vegan food, Lauren and I share a long love of yoga – I’ve been practicing on and off properly since I got into it in London 5 years ago – but Lauren took it a step further and has now earned her badge to teach yoga classes. I’ve already joined her classes via Zoom and I can’t wait to meet her in the studio soon, but for now, I thought I’d let her share her yoga teacher training (YTT) experience with us.

Hey Lauren, how are you? Have you practiced yoga today?

I have! After I taught a class, I did a lovely yin class with Paula, focused on the spine.

Do you meditate daily?

I try to! I do better with guided meditation, so I use the Calm app a lot. My meditation practice is always a work in progress.

Why did you decide to take on the YTT course, and why now?

I’ve been practicing yoga for quite a while, but last year was a particularly difficult year for me in a lot of ways, and my yoga practice was something I really leaned into to help me get through it. I had to take some time off work, and my Friday morning yin yang class was about the only thing that got me out of bed. I really appreciated having the space to just be in those classes. I believe that yoga can so beneficial for so many people, and I want to help people in the same way yoga’s helped me. I also left my full-time job in August last year to become self-employed, so it was the perfect time to fit YTT and teaching into my new flexible schedule!

What did your training look like? Was there a typical day in the life of a YTT student?

The days were intense! Without revealing the secrets of Mudra’s training programme, the days began with meditation and yoga practice, followed by asana study and learning about the history and philosophy of yoga, ethics and lifestyle, anatomy, the business of yoga, and other essential subjects for budding yoga teachers to know. It was really in-depth and it was no different when we had to move our training sessions to Zoom because of lockdown. Although we weren’t able to physically practice together, everything else remained the same, and I’m so glad we were able to continue learning together virtually.

Was there anything else you discovered about the practice or yourself that surprised you?

Yes! It was such an emotional journey, and there were many tears along the way. Studying the yamas and niyamas (essentially ethical guidelines) leads to a lot of deep introspection. I also really enjoyed delving into the history and philosophy, which isn’t something I knew very much about at all before I started training.

What’s one lesson you’d like future students to take away from your yoga classes?

I want everyone to feel like they’re welcome in my yoga classes. I know there’s a perception that yoga is only for a certain ‘type’ of person – that is, slim white women who are super flexible and have enough disposable income for Lululemon leggings and a membership at a nice studio. But yoga is for everyone, regardless of race, size, flexibility, gender identity or income, and I want everyone who comes to my classes to feel like they belong on the mat.

Share your favourite –

Yoga pose – We were all asked this on our first day of YTT and I said savasana! I stand by it – there’s nothing better than a sweet, sweet savasana after you’ve put in all the work of a hard practice.

Inspiring yogi – I’m really inspired by both of my teachers, Helen Gillespie and Demelza Feltham. I have endless amounts of respect for them and all the knowledge and love they passed onto us over the course of our training. I’m so thankful for them both!

Yoga studio – I can’t choose between The Movement House and Lane Yoga, both in Leith. They’re two fantastic studios with wonderful teachers.

Intention – It varies. It depends on what’s going on in the world and in my life at the time. Often, my go-to intention is ‘calm and focused’. It stems back to those times last year when I was struggling, and those two words got me through a lot.

Time for a quick fire round!

Yoga or running – TOO HARD! Running is my first love, but I’m doing an awful lot more yoga than I am running these days.

Yin or vinyasa – These questions are too hard. I love them both! I think both are needed for a rounded practice. I’m starting my yin training next week and I can’t wait to start teaching yin as well!

Handstand or headstand – I can’t do handstands! So… headstands.

Edinburgh or Glasgow – Edinburgh! Which is something I never thought I’d say after years living in Glasgow, but Edinburgh’s got my heart now.

Cats or dogs – Both!

Tea or coffee – Coffee, definitely coffee.

Chocolate or crisps – Chocolate! No, crisps. No, chocolate!

Staying in or going out – Staying in. Which is handy since it’s all we’ve been able to do for a couple of months!

Congratulations again Lauren, you’re a fantastic teacher and I can’t wait to join you for a class in person soon! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions too.

You can follow Lauren on Instagram here and keep up to date with her current online weekly yoga classes. See you on the mat!

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