About Lauren: "Lauren Jacobs is a DC based yoga, fitness and wellness coach. She is a Yoga Alliance certified experienced registered yoga teacher and National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer. Lauren teaches yoga, barre, and fitness classes online and throughout the DC area. Her mission is to help her students to integrate yoga, fitness, and healthy nutrition and lifestyles choices into their real, everyday lives to optimize their time and discovery their healthiest, happiest, and most productive selves. You can find Lauren’s current public class schedule, teacher trainings, favorite gluten-free recipes, and other offerings on her website, www.mbodhi.com, Instagram, or Facebook…or rock out to one of her jamming playlists on Spotify."
Lauren was kind enough to answer questions for us in the latest installment of our Featured Yogi series.
How did you begin practicing yoga?
By accident! I started practicing yoga before I knew that I was practicing yoga. My mom signed me up for ballet and gymnastics classes when I was a kid, and my instructors taught me breathing techniques to help me focus and control the funky faces I would make when muscling through challenging movements; in high school, I dropped in on a yoga class and realized the connection. I have practiced consistently and consciously ever since.
What made you want to teach yoga?
I don’t know, but once I started teaching, I could not imagine NOT teaching.
A lifelong dancer and athlete, I felt a giant void in my being when I moved to DC and started a desk job. Yoga was just starting to become popular at the time, and I think you could still count the number of yoga studios in Washington, DC on your fingers.
Anyway, I was a stressed out mess and getting ready to apply for law school when I decided, on a whim, that yoga teacher training was the answer to all of my problems. To be honest, I googled “DC and Yoga Teacher Training,” and Down Dog Yoga in Georgetown was the closest studio to my apartment at the time, so I landed there. I took enough classes at the studio to meet the requirements for applying for the teacher-training program and jumped in having no idea the massive impact it would have on my life.
A couple of weeks after I finished the program, my mom and I went on a retreat to Costa Rica where the power yoga teacher headlining the retreat failed to show up. My mom told the group of disgruntled yogis at the center that her daughter taught power yoga and so it was: I was a yoga teacher.
Describe a yoga class with Lauren. What makes the experience unique?
I teach in a lot of different spaces, to a variety of students, and in many different styles, some of which many would argue are not actually “yoga” at all. In all of my classes, whether the ones more traditionally recognized as yoga or not, I teach the connectivity between movement and breath, the importance of building strength, flexibility, and healthy body alignment, and learning to be aware and in the present moment; but, even in my more traditional yoga classes you can also pretty much always expect me to put putting a modern, playful, relatable, and fast-paced spin on these teachings.
Do you have a preferred type of yoga to teach/practice? Please elaborate.
No preferences, just differences.
I used to try to force myself to stick to one style and master teacher as if that would somehow make me more of a yogini. Honestly, I am just learning to accept that opening myself up to different styles and personalities better serves me and better feeds my creativity and curiosity. Sometimes, I find that an Iyengar class hits the spot, other times it is a hot, sweaty power yoga class or an intelligently sequenced vinyasa flow. The other day, I Yelped (is that a verb???) that 305 Fitness’s dance cardio class was just the “yoga” class that I needed to get me out of my head and completely present.
When it comes to teaching public yoga classes, I stick to the style(s) that the respective studio expects me to teach – usually a vinyasa or power yoga class. I love teaching deliberately sequenced classes, set to well-thought out playlists, that stretch and strengthen muscle groups to help prepare students for challenging “peak” yoga postures, such as fun arm balances and inversions.
But when it comes to private clients, I throw most of the “choreography” out the window and try figure out what it is that I can offer from my experiences and knowledge that is going to best help them to meet their goals. I just started focusing my yoga studios on yoga for sports and that is truly opening my eyes to just how powerful the physical and mental benefits of yoga can be, improving the performance of individual athletes or even giving a competitive edge to an entire team.
Who is your favorite Washington D.C. area yoga teacher?
I should have one, shouldn’t I? So, for the past year, I have been loving this teacher named Kate Duyn Cariati. When I am in DC, I probably take her classes more than I take any other teacher’s…the weird thing about that is that she teaches in LA. I take her classes online at www.yogisanonymous.com and love that I can find the time to take them no matter how hectic my schedule. That said, I try to get to a class in DC at least once every other week. There are so many good teachers out there – in DC and around the world. I try not to get too hung up on any one teacher and just to soak up the wisdom and teachings of as many of them as I can.
Read more about Lauren on her website, www.mbodhi.com. Follow her on Instagram: @laurenupsidedownorsideways.
Lauren will also be teaching at Yoga Journal Live Conference, NY (New York Hilton) April 23 - April 27, 2015. Save $50 with passcode: AWAKEN