April 2017 Teacher of the Month – Lauren Solomon

1) How did you start practicing Yoga? Tell us about your early yoga experiences.

I came to the practice of Yoga during a very challenging time in my life – perhaps the most challenging of my adult life at the time.  Everything in my life was in flux – my career, relationship etc. I felt lost because at that time I attached and defined my sense of self to my work, education and my relationship – without those things I was struggling to find or understand my place. I was in search of peace (whatever that meant, whatever that would look like). I found it in Elle’s (another teacher here at HYS)  class !  Something about her beautiful energy, spirit and teaching resonated with me so much that every chance I could I just kept showing up week after week. I knew that if I made to yoga I would always feel better afterwards, I just needed to get there. During class I learned to quiet the noise and chatter of my mind (if only for an hour at a time) and that was transformational for me….

2) When was the moment you knew that Yoga was different or special – more than just another “exercise” or way to be physical?  

Yoga was never simply an “exercise” or solely a physical discipline to me. I came intentionally to the practice of yoga in search of peace versus attending a spin class/barre class/Pilates etc. In retrospect, I am very grateful that my early understanding of the practice was beyond the physical and focused on the metaphysical and transformational aspects of the practice. I was not seeking a new “workout”.

I knew that Yoga was my calling based on the way it felt – we all know the TRUTH when we feel it. One day after class with a teacher I admired, I asked her how long she practiced before she decided to become certified to teach. She responded by not answering my question; she did not tell me the # of years she practiced, instead, she told me that if I felt I had received “the call” to teach (which obviously I had, otherwise I wouldn’t have approached her about it) that I should be obedient in responding to that call. She explained to me that the # of years was irrelevant because unless I was willing to be an eternal student, I would have nothing of value to share via the practice with anyone else. That’s when I knew – and the rest is history – I researched training programs and earned my 200 hour teacher training from Laughing Lotus.

3) What is your favorite and least favorite pose, and why?

 I do not perceive any asana as my “favorite” vs “least favorite”. The practice and science of yoga in it’s fullness is my “favorite”. Any asana I could describe as my “least favorite”, it is not a reflection of the practice of yoga; instead it is a reflection of me – an area of opportunity for me to continue to grow and evolve. To only practice that which I already do well would be ineffectual.

4) What practices do you use to feel more peaceful, present and content?

 Daily meditation and visualization enable me to be intentional in how I focus my energy and thereby co-create the life experience(s) that I desire.  For example, I make time daily to acknowledge all that I am grateful for; I spend time meditating on only those things that I wish to be/do/have – this practice brings me into alignment energetically.

5) What Yama or Niyama do your find most helpful in your daily life, and why? (Yamas are “observances” that are recommended for relating to the outside world, and Niyamas are observances for dealing with internal struggles)

  • Yama = Ahimsa. Violence takes many forms. Often we inflict the most harm toward ourselves. Being more kind, patient and gracious with myself is a daily practice. I consider this based on how I eat, drink, think and speak. I am clear that how I treat myself is how I consciously and subconsciously give other permission to treat me. With that said, I prioritize loving myself and being good to myself.
  • Niyama = Santosha. I have found that appreciating where I am (as well as wherever I perceive myself not to be) serves me well. I am able to be at peace by being content with my life exactly as it is. Otherwise, if I am consistently desiring to be anywhere other than where I currently am, that would be a miserable existence. I trust that I am at all times exactly where I need to be. In those instances where I would prefer things be different, I am empowered in knowing that I am capable of creating a new outcome. For better or worse, what I believe to be true is true. I choose to believe those things that allow me to feel peace, acceptance and satisfaction.

6) Question of the Month!   Our Theme for April 2017 is  Growth & Blossoming  Tell us about something that has been growing roots for a while , or that you have been cultivating, either in your practice, or other parts of your life, that is ready to come to the surface and bloom.

In this season of transition I am excited about actively pursuing and expanding my offerings of healing and wellbeing to include essential oils consultations and Reiki !

7) Tell us something about teaching at Harlem Yoga Studio 

Teaching at Harlem Yoga Studio is and always will be near and dear to my heart. I am so fortunate to be able to be of service to my community by giving back to my very first yoga studio which has given so much to me. Namaste!