Words of Wisdom from Sukha Yoga Teacher, Lara Dwyer
Lara is such a vibrant soul. She has that quality about her that when you are with her you feel calmer and happier. I was lucky enough to study Naturopathy and with her am so excited to share her words of wisdom with you today. Lara is passionate about helping people maintain a positive, healthy well-being. Throughout her studies and work as a Naturopath she practiced Yoga and was always curious to learn more about this ancient health promoting system. In 2008 Lara moved to New York City and along with many other ‘New Yorkers’, sought out Yoga to help create calm in the midst of so much chaos. It was here in a sweaty, packed studio at Laughing Lotus Yoga Centre in Chelsea, Lara was introduced to ‘Lotus Flow’ Vinyasa Yoga. This beautiful practice of Vinyasa honours Yoga’s rich lineage while incorporating innovative sequencing, mindful alignment, breathing practice and meditation. The power of this lively practice inspired Lara to become a teacher and bring it home to Perth. I encourage you to check out Sukha Yoga for her details on classes, Indian and other delightful retreats and her fantastic yoga class videos.
Define what yoga is to you and you see if does for your clients?
Yoga is the practice which allows me to connect with myself over and over again. It reminds me that I am whole, because somedays for whatever reason or experience it may feel like something is missing and it’s through the practice I am reminded of this “oneness”. For my community it’s this practice of coming together. In Sanskrit it’s termed as a Satsang, Sat = truth and sang = coming together, strengthening our bond as a community so we are constantly reminded that we are not alone and we can feel connected.
How does practising yoga bring compassion into your life?
Yoga teaches us to practice compassion firstly towards ourselves and so then we are able to give compassion to others. The practice of Yoga is a great service of self care for body and mind and when we feel taken care of then we are able to take care of those around us and beyond. Yoga gives us more pause, in the practice when we hold the shapes we have a moment to slow down and observe. This then can then be carried off the mat when we are in a challenging situation where we may normally be quick to react and then regret our actions, through the practice of Yoga we have experience on the mat of pause and to chose compassion in that heated moment and then act from there, resulting in us not regretting actions after. I certainly can’t say I’ve mastered this, but that’s why it’s a practice!
Do you follow any diet philosophies?
Eat Whole Foods. Prepare nutrient dense meals and really care about what goes into your body. Food effects us directly as to how we feel so why not consume food that uplifts, nourishes and energises us? Eat plenty of deep green vegetables and be creative with how you consume and prepare them so you enjoy them. I feel optimal with a diet consisting of good quality plant based protein and consuming a wide range of vegetables. I love eating with my friends and family as they are all brilliant cooks and their food preparation is done with love, so why not take that in! Delicious.
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to diet?
I’m a vegetarian and have been for 11 years. I don’t need to eat meat to maintain optimal wellbeing.
What other lifestyle choices can compliment a yoga practice to create harmony in our lives?
Meditation. Yoga was designed to allow the ancient Yogi’s to be able to sit for long periods in meditation comfortably. The benefits of meditating and endless and it is a practice I really encourage people to explore and sit with, even if it just starts at 5 minutes a day. The practice is cumulative and is a habit made holy.
Keep trying new things, especially as you get older. Get out there and go to a class in whatever it is you want to learn more about. Immerse yourself in a new community, connect with one another. Community is so important.
Surround yourself with what inspires you. Be close to what lights you up inside and then you share that light with others. I have been so fortunate to have many teachers who share so much of their wisdom and practice which constantly inspires me to continue learning and share what I love. Read poetry, listen to a wide range of music, travel, write, be outside, do whatever it is that brings you closer to connection.
What are three effective way people can affect change for the better?
Get behind something you want to see a change in. Don’t bitch and waste energy complaining. If you want change, get out there, educate yourself on what you can contribute towards and be the change!
Practice Yoga, Meditation or something that allows you to connect with yourself and then something bigger.
One of my teachers Raghunath shares with his students his daily prayer which is, how can I be of service today? If we live thinking that we are here to serve others then we really look out and take care of one another. This can even be through the smallest acts of kindness, like a smile, acknowledging and connecting with one another.
What is a space in the world you are passionate about creating change in?
I have previously spent a lot of time in India and this year have been involved in raising funds to improve the operation of a clinic in West Bengal, Karmi Farm Clinic. We visited this clinic as part of a Yoga Journey I lead in May this year. Because of the grassroots approach, 100% of the fund-raising goes directly to the clinic and the difference that can be made with what we believe to not be very much in terms of monetary value, makes significant improvement and ability to deliver care for those who need clinic care. They have recently begun to focus on birth control education which is very empowering for women and their families. By having smaller families, parents can afford to educate their children, which then obviously leads to many more opportunities for the new generation. It’s so important to support small grass roots operations like Karmi Farm, the impact they have on improving the local community health and education is quite significant.