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The yogi and author shares her go-to stress-busting move, and where she finds inspiration.
This summer, we’re bringing you inspiration from some of the top celebrity fitness teachers and athletes and sharing their summer workouts, power songs and more. Your dream summer starts here.
Lauren Walker is the author of “Energy Medicine Yoga” and “The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription.” She’s been teaching yoga and meditation since 1997, and created Energy Medicine Yoga while teaching at Norwich University. She teaches EMYoga across the country and internationally, and was recently named one of the top 100 most influential yoga teachers in America.
We asked Walker to share her ideal summer day, and her go-to stress buster.
24Life: What’s your go-to source for inspiration?
Lauren Walker (LW): I love watching TED Talks, and Tami Simon’s “Insights from the Edge” podcasts on Sounds True are always inspirational! Also, pretty much any time I can get outside, climb a mountain, float on a river, hang out with a good friend—I’m inspired!
24Life: What do you teach and why?
LW: I teach Energy Medicine Yoga, a discipline I created to help balance every part of your life so you can thrive! I love teaching weekend intensives. Teacher trainings are so incredible, too, because people get excited at how easy and powerful this work is and they start to spread the healing and the joy all over the planet.
But week-long transformational retreats remain my favorite. You come in, identify your blocks, learn what energy is and how to shift it, and by the end of the week, you have literally transformed your mind, body and soul! And it stays with you because you learn the tools for growth!
24Life: Tell us, why you move—why is fitness so important to you?
LW: One of the most important “rules” of energy is that it needs to move! Energy is what we’re made of, and if you don’t move and give your energy room and space to move, you get stagnant. Energy that can’t move gets stuck, and this causes pain and, ultimately, more serious problems. So, if you keep your body moving, opening and stretching, you are well on your way to being healthy and happy.
LW: I try to do an EMYoga practice every day. I’ve created a routine that can be done in 20-30 minutes and get every single energy system in your body working at its best. The most important moves are the wake up and the squat and hang, and if I’m really short on time, I’ll at least do those. Every day I walk the dog, either a long hike or a short stroll. Walking is one of the all-time best exercises you can do! And I’ll do some yoga poses during the walk. I’ll stop and squat and do a side twist, or I’ll drop into a downward dog and stretch my Achilles.
The most important workout is that you do it! And I hate the word “workout.” For me, moving my body is fun, joyful and feels great! I love to move!
24Life: What’s your greatest passion, outside of the work that you do?
24Life: Describe your perfect summer day.
LW: Well, after I just admitted skiing is my favorite activity, you can guess that summer is a little harder for me than your average person! I find the heat really difficult to handle. So in the summer, I get up early, go for an hour-long uphill hike and spend another hour or so picking huckleberries. Then I come down, and come home and bag up the berries to freeze and eat all winter. I spend the hottest part of the day usually inside working (which I love, so it isn’t a hardship!), then head out to the lake for a SUP session or a swim, or just to hang out with friends. I’ll maybe go to the farmers market, and make a lovely, fresh, delicious dinner! If it’s superhot, maybe a movie to cool off and unplug! Then some stargazing and sleep!
24Life: What is your power food?
LW: I’m a big fan of raw organic dairy, and find it to be one of the most health-giving foods. So a bowl of fresh, wild huckleberries and raw cream can’t be beat!
24Life: What’s your number-one stressor and your surefire stress buster?
LW: Sometimes I find that I get inundated and stressed out with all the commitments I’ve made for work, and still find myself reaching out and adding more things to my schedule! Best stress buster: Get to a river and float down it! There’s nothing like turning your clock to “river time” to calm things down.
You can also try this yoga move called Bringing Down the Flame.
24Life: What is one thing people might not know about you?
LW: I’m still afraid of spiders! I know they’re beneficial to the environment, and they eat other bugs, and they’re a powerful totem. I try to like them, but they really do freak me out!
24Life: What’s your secret to getting stuff done?
LW: Sticky Notes everywhere, big paper sheets with “punch lists” on the office wall, and getting off social media, doing the wake up and focusing. Oh, the joy of crossing things off that list!
24Life: What is your power song for summer?
LW: This may sound strange, but I’m a big fan of silence. We are so inundated with noise that I like to tune in to quiet whenever I can. When I hike, I want to hear the birds and little creatures, and more than once I’ve heard a bear rustling in the woods, giving me notice! When I’m doing EMYoga, I like to tune in to my own heartbeat, or the various pulses I’m working on. When I need some music in the woods to let the bears know I’m there, I sing the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra really loud!
24Life: What book is on your night table?
LW: “The Energies of Love” by Donna Eden and David Feinstein and “Defy Gravity” by Carolyn Myss.
24Life: What’s your secret for a great night’s sleep?
LW: Go to sleep before 11 p.m. That’s the time that a system in your body called Triple Warmer goes into activity, and if you’re still awake, you might need to stay awake for a whole other cycle and not get to sleep until the wee hours. Also, oiling your feet and then putting on some cotton socks is a lovely sleep aid.
24Life: Any interesting performance rituals that you have before you teach, work or train?
LW: I still get “stage fright” every single time I teach or lecture. I definitely do the four thumps (part of the wake up) to help calm me down. And I put my fingers in the notch at the base of my throat into the calming point there (see video below). It is instantaneous, and then I get out there and I love it, because I love to share this work!
24Life: Best advice you’ve given or gotten in 24 words or less?
LW: Be kind.
It seems so simple, but it can be really hard to practice. We can be so competitive with others, or punishing to ourselves or others. When you find yourself in that position, can you pull back and count your blessings for moment? Take a deep breath, and choose your higher self. There is nothing more important in life than your kindness to others.
Photo credit (top to bottom): Mark Kuroda/Kuroda Studios; Brooks Freehill; Mark Kuroda/Kuroda Studios