Name: Lauren Anning
Studio: Yoga & You
Years teaching: 1
Years practicing: 4
Favourite yoga style: Yin Yoga

What’s your favourite asana at the moment?
It’ll have to be Warrior III, it is a pose that I have felt the most progress in. Initially, I really struggled to find the strength to hold this pose but with persistent effort, I can now access the feelings of ease and effortless whilst in the pose.

I love balancing poses as they require so much focus, you have very little space in your mind to become attached to your thoughts and run with them.

What’s the most productive hour of your day?
Early hours of the morning. My morning ritual includes meditation, exercise and a nourishing breakfast. After this I feel awake and energised, ready to take on my tasks for the day.

How does meditation fit into your practice?
I am a big believer of the importance of morning rituals to set a positive tone for the day. Every morning I will either sit up or lie down in bed and simply focus on my breath. Practicing deep, rhythmic abdominal breathing. Being fully aware of the breath helps to anchor me into the present moment and from this place of peace, I think of three things that I am grateful for. Meditation or any mindfulness exercise in the morning is a beautiful way to begin the day.

Who or what has inspired your yoga practice lately?
Life is to be enjoyed and not endured. The same goes for our yoga practice. Seeing my students practice with a sense of self-compassion, as they fall out of postures with a laugh and a smile on their face, reminds me that our practice should be playful and fun and not just a strict regime that we have to follow and get right every time.

Any fave yoga or meditation books to share?
The Power of Now is a must read book for everyone! It’s had such a profound effect on how I live my life, it reminds me that life is a journey not a destination. Eckhart Tolle inspires us to simply live in the present moment, to enjoy abundant health and happiness. It’s one of those books that you have to read a few times because it’s jam packed full of information and inspiration.

How would you suggest a brand new student approaches their practice?
There are so many different styles of yoga and every teacher is wonderfully unique. If your first yoga class was a ‘disaster’ (but really just a challenging new experience) don’t give up! Perseverance is key, find the courage to show up on your mat again with an open mind and no expectations. Finding what style and teacher suits you is all about trial and error. So enjoy the journey!

What’s one lesson you’ve learned from your students?
You are as young as you think you are! Age is just a number. Yoga is for everyone no matter your age, gender, religion or physical ability. Teaching older students is such an inspiring experience, I have found that often they are in better physical shape than other students much younger than them! It’s all about the mind-set.

What’s the most exciting thing happening in the yoga world right now?
The healing benefits of yoga and meditation are becoming more widely known and accepted, especially in the health care system. It’s so encouraging to see that some doctors are prescribing this ancient practice to their patients as complementary therapy.

Share something your students might be surprised to know about you:
I found my passion for yoga at a young age in school, which I am so grateful for because it provided me with the tools to help me deal with stress and improve my focus at school. I started teaching yoga at the age of 18. I would love to one day see yoga being practiced in all schools!

What do you love about your part of town?
Tauranga is where I call home. You get the best of both worlds, the rural living and the coastal getaway is just a short drive away.

Thank you so much, Lauren!

Would you like to be a Featured Yogi? We’d love to know more about you! Or is there someone you’d like to nominate … another teacher, a stupendous student? Getting to know our fellow yogis creates connection. We like that. Get in touch here.

© The Yoga Connection 2017