CSS is an opportunity for us to celebrate the amazing humans in our beautiful community and their journey with yoga.
We are very excited to share with you our newest Spotlight feature, Laura Langley
Join us in celebrating Laura! She is a long-time yoga, having started her practice in 1996. Through yoga, Laura found a relationship with a practice of personal peace and self-care.
Laura joined the HARVEST community in January of this year, and immediately found her home. Just a few short months later, she joined our 2nd round of 200HR yoga teacher training, and June she became a certified yoga instructor!! Go Laura!!
It's been a joy to watch her journey as not only a student but also as a budding teacher. She has brought so much happiness and light to our community. We're so proud of Laura and can't wait to see where yoga takes her from here.
How did you start your yoga journey?
"I started practicing yoga in 1996 with a VHS tape I bought at Target featuring Ali MacGraw and Erich Schiffmann which was filmed in White Sands, NM. In fact, it was so amazing visually and sequenced so beautifully, I still use this as a home practice tool now! I was working on getting my bachelor & degree at Kent State University, struggling in a failing relationship, not feeling so great about my physical appearance, the effects of which were further compounded by a depression and anxiety disorder that was untreated at the time. I was in desperate need of self-care and this video tape called out to me and I’m so grateful that it did. In many ways, and without me knowing it at the time, that VHS tape changed the direction of my life. Yoga has saved my life on more than one occasion. In the first couple of minutes of this video, before I even moved a muscle, I was taught the gift of Ujjayi Breathing… and that’s when the practice took off for me. Learning to link breath with movement changed the way I did everything. The poses took on new life and with that, my life took on a new life. In yoga, I was finally able to find some peaceful moments. And as I practiced even more, I was able to extend those peaceful moments to times outside of when I was physically practicing yoga. And that’s what keeps bringing me back."
Why did you decide to sign up for BAVI Yoga Teacher Immersion?
"Funny story. When I decided to sign up for BAVI Yoga Teacher Immersion, it was sort of on a whim. I had been away from my yoga practice for years and when it became 2023, I decided it was going to be “the year of me”. A past co-worker and friend has been with HARVEST since day one and I kept seeing her posts on Facebook about her practice. Well, I kept seeing them over and over, so I took it as a sign and just randomly went to class one day. I fell in love with the studio day one. It was apparent that this place was more than a yoga studio, but a safe place for people to cultivate and grow, not only their yoga practice, but also their connection with themselves and the community. The studio was supposed to start BAVI Yoga Teacher Immersion before I joined, but I saw on the website that they had postponed it by one month for another reason and again, I saw this as a sign (are you seeing a pattern…lol), so I signed up!"
What’s your favorite style of yoga to practice?
"I don’t think I have one favorite style of yoga. I pick my practice based on my mood and what I feel I need that day. If I’m feeling restless and irritable, I like to do a fast-paced Vinyasa flow to move out excess energy. If I’m feeling low in energy, I like to do a slower paced Vinyasa or Hatha sequence with some more intense pranayama practice intertwined. When I’m feeling depleted, I like to do a nice Restorative class. It all just depends on the day and where I’m at mentally and physically at the time."
How do you fit yoga into your everyday life?
"As a mental health counselor, it has always been my goal to teach yoga on an individual basis with my clients to help give them another tool to help manage the symptoms of depression, anxiety, trauma, with a host of other issues brought about by mental health struggles. I want to use my training to help others learn to help themselves through yoga practices. My goal is to create what I’m calling the
Lotus Warrior Project, which will hopefully one day be a vehicle to deliver different workshops and classes for clients and the larger community, revolving around yoga, pranayama, and mindfulness."
How does it feel to be a 200hr trained yoga teacher?
"Obtaining my BAVI Yoga Teacher Immersion certification at HARVEST has filled me with a sense of pride and confidence. I know there is still so much for me to learn about the practice of yoga, but this has given the me the solid foundation I need to be able to effectively share this knowledge with my mental health clients and the community at large. In the future, I aspire to get my 300-hour training and possibly move on to become a Certified Yoga Therapist! One step at a time though…"
What insight would you share with a fellow yogi considering teacher training?
"You don’t have to want to teach to gain value from teacher training. Knowledge is power. The teacher training is a beautiful way to learn to connect on a deeper level to your own practice and helps you gain confidence in your ability to share it with others."
If you were a yoga pose, which one would you be?
"Tree pose (Vrksasana). This is one of my favorite poses because it requires mental flexibility, but also physical flexibility, but not in the traditional sense. Whenever I do the pose myself, in the back of my mind, I can hear Erich Schiffmann from the first yoga video I ever did saying, “get planted, rooted, grounded… and if you start to sway, don’t give up… Trees sway. Get more grounded”. I actually find myself saying “trees sway” to myself all the time… and not just when I’m in tree pose! It’s such a great metaphor for life in general. I’ve found that being rigid, whether mentally or physically, rarely works in our benefit and tree pose is a wonderful way to connect with this type of energy."
What is something interesting about yourself you would like to share with everyone?
"I have worn many hats and lived many lives over my 48 years on earth and I feel all of them have led me here. Here are some of the highlights for you to pick from: In high school, I would follow the Grateful Dead (the real Grateful Dead, with Jerry Garcia) in the summers (and other shows throughout the year), resulting in me attending 73 shows total in less than 4 years. I was a Licensed Massage Therapist for over 14 years, once owning my own private practice. Started doing Reiki in 2002 and finally became a Reiki Master in 2018. Started graduate school at age 41 to become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Aspire to create a non-profit in the future bringing yoga + pranayama to trauma survivors and/or female prison population."
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