Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Maher.
Lauren, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I became intrigued by the mind/body/spirit connection in the 1990’s. At the time, I was studying theatre and classical acting in New York City. My teachers encouraged me to become a keen observer of human behavior. I wanted to know what made people tick. How did they move, gesture, speak, and breathe. How were all of these things linked together? In time, I became curious about yoga – I thought it might shed some light on these things. When I moved to Los Angeles, I landed in a Kundalini Yoga class with an amazing teacher, Veronica Brown, who basically changed my life. Through my studies with her, I noticed that my low back pain disappeared and my thyroid problem resolved itself. And I felt happier and more relaxed than I had ever been. I was hooked.
I began teaching yoga in 2001, and several years later, I was asked to work with cancer patients at weSPARK Cancer Support Center. I was a bit intimidated, but I knew I had to say yes. Little did I know that this would become my specialty and a big part of my life’s work. I was inspired to enroll in the Yoga Therapy RX program at Loyola Marymount University, where I learned to adapt the practices of yoga for special conditions, injuries, and illnesses. Since 2006, I have worked with people with cancer, neurological disorders, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, chronic pain, and all kinds of injuries and structural issues. I work collaboratively with my clients to design a practice that is adapted specifically for them. Each client is different and it is always an honor to help someone along in their healing process.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Yes and no. I have been fortunate to teach yoga full time for many years. However, teaching yoga is not always the easiest way to make a living. Yoga teachers typically run all over town, often teaching multiple classes a day. At one point in my early career, I was teaching 22 classes a week! I found it exhausting. Eventually I changed and expanded my business model, and I now focus on my private yoga therapy practice, retreats, trainings, and workshops.
Please tell us about Breathe Deep Yoga.
Breathe Deep Yoga offers gentle and therapeutic yoga that is tailored to the individual. We offer private yoga instruction, yoga therapy sessions, workshops, trainings, and local and international retreats.
Since yoga has become big business, I’ve noticed a huge amount of fitness-based yoga classes, hot yoga, and high-powered “flow” classes on offer. There is nothing wrong with these classes, but oftentimes those with injuries, chronic illnesses, or special conditions can fall through the cracks. It is my mission to make yoga accessible to all. To that end, I am extremely proud of the work I do with cancer patients. Moving through cancer can be one of life’s most stressful experiences, and I have seen yoga provide a tremendous amount of relief for people both physically and emotionally.
I’m also very proud of our retreat offerings. Our local retreats focus on stress relief and self-care, and our international retreats focus not just on yoga, but on experiencing local culture. The highlight of each year is when I hold my yoga, food, and wine retreat in Italy. I’ve seen amazing friendships form on these retreats as people explore beautiful Italian towns during the day, and savor amazing food and wine at night. In the next few years, we’ll be expanding our offerings to new locations in Italy as well as in Greece… and who knows where else in the future!
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I think many people in the various “helping professions” often find themselves stretched too thin. We deeply care about our students and clients, and feel compelled to offer all that we can. But — you can’t be everything for everyone! If I could do it all over again, I would have prioritized my own self-care and set healthier boundaries for my time and schedule from the start.
- Website: www.breathedeepyoga.com
- Phone: (323) 438-9972
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/breathedeepyoga1
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/breathe-deep-yoga-los-angeles