Summer is just around the corner, which means longer days, more daylight, and time for fun, vacation and relaxation. Those longer days also mean more time to work with—so how can you most effectively, efficiently and energetically own your day each day?
24Life sat down with Lauren Walker, creator of Energy Medicine Yoga, to talk all things energy, yoga and moving well in your body for the upcoming July issue of 24Life Magazine. But she also shared some of her tips for owning her day, including the first things she does when she wakes up in the morning, what she’s currently reading and her stress-busting technique, below.
24Life: First thing you do when you wake up?
Lauren Walker: Before I do the wake-up, I like to sit when I’m still in that fugue state. So I sit for 10 or 15 minutes and then I’ll do the wake-up. Then I’ll do a squat and hang. That’s the first physical thing I do.
24Life: Share an Energy Medicine Yoga technique for traveling?
LW: Wake up, squat and hang. I do a ton of squatting when I’m traveling.
24Life: Last book you read?
LW: I’m in the middle of a Caroline Myss book. And I’m always reading Rupert Sheldrake. I just ordered his newest book.
24Life: Favorite podcast?
LW: I haven’t gotten into the podcast thing. But when I do, I find a person, and I go and listen to everything they have. And a lot of them are podcasts. So lately, my addiction has been Zach Bush, who everybody should know.
24Life: Your favorite song?
LW: I actually don’t listen to a lot of music. I grew up in a tradition of yoga that we listened to a ton of music. But I am really tuned in when I’m practicing, so I don’t listen to a lot of music. But when I do, I love Nina Simone.
24Life: A food you can’t live without?
LW: Raw butter. Raw dairy. I’m a raw dairy fanatic.
LW: I’ve partnered up with Donna Eden to offer a new Energy Medicine Yoga course. She’s been a big supporter of mine from the start; she’s been my teacher and my mentor, and when I shared the work of the first book with her and the second book, she was really moved by how beautiful it was. But on some level, she didn’t fully understand the power of it. Donna sees energy. That’s how she healed herself from multiple sclerosis, and that’s how she created her program, the Eden method of healing, that anyone can learn, whether you see energy or not. That’s the basis of the work that I adapted to the EMYoga practice. So I brought her up on stage when I was doing one of my book readings for the second book, and we basically did a battle of the poses. So I would do a traditional yoga pose, and then I would do the EMYoga version of that pose. And she was blown away. I was blown away. That’s the basis of the course. I think we have about 24 battle-of-the-poses segments. So there are the main traditional yoga poses with the EMYoga variations. And it’s fascinating. I mean, you simply cannot watch these videos and ever go back to practicing the way that you did before, because once you see what’s happening energetically—I mean, I can’t wait to go back and watch them again because I learned so much doing the course with Donna.
24Life: You have a lot of superpowers, but if you could have one more, what would it be?
LW: I would like to live—and I think I’m going to anyway—for a really, really long and healthy time. So ageless woman? I’d be ageless woman.
24Life: Go-to stress-busting technique?
LW: I’m a super-emotional person, and I allow that in myself because I’ve learned over the years the power of emotion. I try not to hold on to the story of it and just let the energy of the emotion flow. But stress is also an emotion. Stress is a choice; my being stressed about something doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t help the situation. It is a choice. And this whole idea that we’re so busy is also a choice and, in my opinion, not a good choice.
Stress causes the fight-or-flight response, and it happens in the body. Your emotions cause the stress. The stress causes the emotions. To stop this cycle, hold one hand to your forehead and two or three fingers in the hollow at the base of your throat. Hold these two points, and it basically stops that cycle from happening. If I’m really feeling stressed, I’ll do that facedown on the bare earth just right outside in the grass. And if you do that one, you can do two hands under the forehead, and you can rock your hips back and forth, which also releases that fight-or-flight response in the body. So if I get stressed, I go outside and be with the trees, be with some nature, and give it up to Mother Earth.
24Life: Go-to workout in 24 minutes or less?
LW: I would definitely do an EMYoga class. I got really into high-intensity interval training last year because I don’t look at my yoga practice as my aerobic workout. If you’re doing yoga, it’s one thing. It’s not your aerobic practice. It will help your aerobic practice, but it’s not your aerobic practice. And so when I want to do an aerobic practice, I love high-intensity interval training. I would do sprints in the woods and then sprint, walk, sprint, walk, sprint, walk. I did it swimming. I did it kayaking. I did it cross-country skiing this winter. And so now that the weather is turning nice again and some time is opening back up in my days, I’m going to go again. It’s like doing a short amount of things and getting a huge amount of results from it. So I love it.
24Life: If you had the ability to whisper in every human’s ears, what would you say?
LW: Be kind. I think we’re really lacking that right now in a big way. Be kind and shed dogma.
It probably isn’t news to you that yoga is a powerful tradition that nourishes the body and mind. But did you know that adding a layer of energy healing to the work you already do on the mat can amplify benefits of your practice? Learn more about Lauren’s new online course Energy Medicine Yoga: Transformation Through the Subtle Body. In this eight-week workshop, Donna Eden, renowned energy healer and founder of Eden Energy Medicine, and Lauren Walker, creator of Energy Medicine Yoga, will guide you through tools, practices, and wisdom to help you tap into your energy centers for vitality, balance and greater well-being.
Lauren Walker is the author of “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 U.S. and internationally, and has been featured in Yoga Journal, Mantra Yoga + Healing, Yoga Digest, and The New York Times. She was recently named one of the top 100 most influential yoga teachers in America by Sonima. For more information, visit EMYoga.net.
Photo credit: Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com; courtesy of Lauren Walker