What does being a spiritual gangster mean to you?
For me, being a spiritual gangster means moving beyond constricting ideas of right and wrong. Being a gangster is inclusive and expansive. It's me.
When did you start practicing yoga, and what led you to become a teacher?
I started practicing yoga asana in 2000, and I immediately felt a comfort in my body that I desperately needed. I wanted more of it. I wanted to study it - to eat, sleep and breathe it - so I became a teacher that same year. My first certification was simply a way for me to deepen my personal practice. I've completed many trainings over the past 16 years, but I'm forever and gratefully a student!
What's one important lesson you try to share as a teacher?
If I could distill all my teachings into one word, it would be kindness, and that's an inside job. We live in a holographic universe where each part reflects the whole. We have to take responsibility individually for the collective and clean house. I teach compassion, a way to live in a body-mind that is beautiful and peaceful. If we are connected to ourselves, we will be more compassionate and kind to others, including those who we see as different. Everyone becomes more real, and the yoga then becomes a revolution, a way to affect positive change in the world.
What are some of your favorite mantras?
I am enough.
It's ok, sweetheart.
I love myself completely, with all of my problems, limitations and strengths.
If you could only do one pose a day, what would it be and why?
I love all the shapes. Down dog makes me feel strong and sexy. Tadasana brings me a sense of confidence and alertness. Handstand requires all of my attention and I become more present. Backbends challenge my patience because they're hard for me. But, if I had to do one only, I guess I'd say savasana. The art of conscious relaxation is overlooked. As well, savasana is a reminder that our time here is limited. What we do, how we do, with who we do - it all matters, and we can start fresh at any time. We can begin again and again and again.
What do you still struggle with most on the mat?
The mat is a mirror, and through it, I see that I struggle with acceptance. I often want to do what I see others doing, and I can't yet do. I struggle with the things that I may never be able to do. Fundamentally, I struggle with EGO. I'm grateful for this challenge though because it grows me, and it always will.
If you could give one piece of advice to newer yogis, what would it be?
Stick with it. Find a teacher and a community that feels warm, and go there. The practice will grow with you for your entire life. Be open to it looking different than you expect - like your life. Be open to the journey. Let it surprise you!
Follow Lauren's journey on Instagram @lauren.taus