5 Minutes With... LAUREN BURLES - Our Beginners Yoga Teacher

This month we spend a bit of time with Lauren, our Beginners Yoga Teacher. You can catch Lauren every Monday & Thursday at The Yoga Factory. Read on to get to know Lauren a bit better...

1. What led you to become a yoga teacher?

Yoga has been in and out of my life since I was young. I’ve practiced on and off from the age of about 16. It really clicked for me though when a colleague and friend of mine, Martha, began training to be a yoga teacher, around 2010. I watched her transform, spiritually and mentally, into this completely calm, grounded, centered person and I was fascinated by that. I wanted it for myself!

She then went on to become my teacher and she really helped me understand what it means to practice yoga, beyond the obvious physical benefits, in a way that was accessible and relatable. That was the start of my serious interest in yoga and it built from there.

I think I’ve always known I would teach yoga, it was more a case of me not believing I was good enough! Martha was always really encouraging of me becoming a teacher. Very sadly, she passed away in 2013. A few years later I took the plunge, left my stressful office job and went to India to do my teacher training. It was the hardest and most rewarding I’ve ever done, and I’ve never looked back.

2. What's your favourite yoga pose right now?

I’m going through some transitions at the moment so I’m really loving restorative hip openers, like pigeon or Agnisthambasana. Anything that help me to stay open and calm is really serving me at the moment.

My all-time favourite yoga pose though is Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose). It’s such a fun shape and feels so freeing!

3. What's your least favourite yoga pose right now?

Headstand! Inversions (other than shoulderstand) terrify me…even after all this time! I had a bad habit of avoiding poses that I was scared of…but over time I’ve learnt that’s not the answer. So, I’m slowly tackling it now. Arm and upper body strength has always been a weakness of mine and self-belief, so it’s been a long road to build it up and just keep showing up for the pose.

I also have a love / hate relationship with Urdhva Dhanurasana (upward facing bow pose). It took me such a long time to build the strength to get there. For many years I couldn’t do it.  And even now, every time I do the posture I still have a moment in my head where I wonder if I’m going to make it all the way up...the journey continues!

4. How has your yoga practice made you stronger on & off the mat?

It has given me the ability to approach things from less of a reactive place. I can catch myself much more easily now if I feel like I am responding to something in a way that perhaps isn’t very productive. I’m not perfect of course and I still struggle with things, the world we live in isn’t easy but my life would be very different indeed without yoga. The practice has put me much more in touch with my body too – I know now when I need to rest

5. What or who inspires you?

I’m inspired by so many different things! Music is a big one for me – I tend to look at the world through the lens of whatever music I’m listening to at the time, it helps me make sense of things.

I’m hugely inspired by my teachers, Jo Kemp and Claire Missingham and by my teacher friends and colleagues. For a few years, I didn’t have a regular teacher or any friends who practiced yoga so I really value having that connection in my life now.

I’m inspired by anyone who has the courage and bravery to try something new, to push forward in the direction of their dreams and just go for it. It can feel like all odds are against us sometimes, so I’m really inspired by anyone who has the faith, discipline and determination to keep going even when it gets hard!

6. Do you have a favourite quote?

‘How wild it was, to let it be’ – Cheryl Strayed, from Wild

7. What are your 3 rules to live by? 

Be yourself, everyone else is taken.

Don’t trouble yourself with what others may think of you – it’s their stuff, not yours.

You are ENOUGH!! 

8. What's your go-to self-care routine?

My yoga practice is a big cornerstone of my self-care routine. I do struggle with routines and discipline as I get distracted easily and seem to spend a lot of my time rushing about, but yoga is the one constant I have in my daily life.

Otherwise, I try and have a digital detox in the evening, switch off any tech by 9.30pm…not always easy but it definitely helps. I am also just getting into Ayurveda at the moment…I’m a Pitta-Vata type, I get anxious quite easily. A big theme for me is trying schedule regular time out to sloooooow down. I’m really bad at it though! Watch this space!

9. What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

Different things have resonated for me throughout the years. But a big one at the moment is something I heard my teacher Claire Missingham say - ‘this is temporary.’

Life goes in cycles. Things come and go. Things change. Everything is just temporary. When you’re in the eye of the storm, it’s not always easy to remember that. But everything will eventually change. The good stuff, the bad stuff. It’s just about being present in the moment and keeping a healthy sense of perspective.

10. Describe yourself in 3 words...

Fun. Passionate. Creative.

11. Are there any good reads that have helped in you life or in your practice?

I love to read, so how long have you got?! Lol…here’s a few:

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne – cheesy for some, but a good book on the power of positive thinking which was probably my first foray into spirituality, personal development…it all spiralled from there.

The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte – a really great book about approaching things from the angle of the way you want to feel, rather than in terms of outcome-oriented goals.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – this really taught me a lot about being present and trying to let go of the past and the imagined version of the future, which really is the cause a lot of our suffering. 

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – bit of a marmite read, but I resonated with it a lot!

The Wisdom of Yoga, A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living by Stephen Cope – a wonderful book about yoga practice, very accessible and easy to understand

12. What do you like to in your spare time?

Well, I’m a big music fan, so you’ll often find me in my own little world, rocking out with my headphones on. I listen to everything - from classic rock, to dance, to indie, to chilled and hip hop...Travelling is a big passion of mine too. I love to cook for myself, family and friends, especially food from my travels. I also love to read and have a massive pile of unread books in my flat that is almost as tall as I am!

13. What's your favourite thing about being a yoga teacher?

Being able to do something I love for a living is pretty cool! But the biggest thing for me is seeing the transformation in my students - not just the short-term effects of how you feel immediately after a class, but the longer term effects that build up over time the more you practice. It’s a privilege to be able to give that to people and to help them find the answers in themselves. When a student can achieve a pose they couldn’t at first and seeing the sense of accomplishment they feel, it’s the best feeling ever.

14. Whats your style of teaching?

It’s a bit of a blend between a number of different styles I think. My practice for many years has been vinyasa yoga and more recently Mysore ashtanga so I’m really inspired by that and there’s a flavour of that in my classes. For my beginner’s classes though, I teach with a real alignment focus as it’s important to build body awareness and for students to understand the postures in the context of their own body.

Overall my classes are light-hearted, inspiring, informative and gently challenging -  I try to encourage students that anything is possible, and not to get caught up with what they are capable of in the moment – whatever you can do is enough and it will develop in time. I also try to empower my students to believe in themselves and develop a practice that serves them in the way mine has served me over the years. It is so easy for us to compare ourselves to others and feel we don’t measure up – I see that sometimes in the way the western world approaches yoga, this sense of competitiveness or not being enough. It’s something I have battled with, and still do sometimes, so I think a lot of how I teach is around just accepting and respecting yourself for whatever you can do. It’s all good!

You can join Lauren at The Yoga Factory every Monday evening at 8:00pm and Thursday morning at 10:30am... CLICK HERE to check out the timetable and book Lauren's class!

Peace... Love... & Namaste!

Josh LipscombeComment