Author, traveler and yoga guru, Lauren Walker, is the creator of Energy Medicine Yoga. 24Life recently talked to Walker about her healthy living insights and tips … 24Life: What is your top training tip for working out in the spring? Does your workout routine change with the season?
Lauren Walker (LW): Spring is about getting the “junk” or “toxins” out that have been building up during the winter. I spend time in my practice “expelling the venom” — an exercise for moving mental and emotional toxins out of the body. This can help lighten the load so that the physical practice is easier. I also start to add more core work. As the weather gets warmer, I do a deeper, more yin practice, lengthening muscles, whereas in the colder months, I tend to do a more active, warming practice. 24Life: What do you see as the three most beneficial exercises that people should include in their workout routine?
LW: I’m going to be biased here and say that two of the three most important exercises are from EMYoga. 1 and 2: Thump and Cross. If your energies aren’t moving forward and crossing over, everything you do is at 50 percent capacity at best! After that, I think adding some deep, core strengthening is important. Again, my EMYoga slow sit-ups would fit the bill. They are incredibly powerful and deceptively simple. Even if you think you have a strong core, you might be overlooking some key areas.
24Life: How do you regenerate or revitalize?
LW: I do a practice I’ve been calling OilTune. It’s based on the Ayurvedic practice of [self-massage] body oiling called Abhyanga. I tweak it so that it also helps fuel the flows of energy in the body. I feel most of my troubles, from little body aches, to work or relationship stress can be helped with this self-care routine. 24Life: What book is on your night-stand?
LW: I’ve got Louise Hay’s “Heal Your Body” which gives you the emotional component to any physical ailment you have. And “Follow Your Gut” by Rob Knight, about the Gut-Brain connection. This is the newest cutting-edge medicine, all about the flora and fauna in our guts and on our skin (see OilTune, above). It’s fascinating. I’m also reading, “You are the Placebo” by Joe Dispenza, and “The Brain’s Way of Healing,” by Dr. Norman Doidge. Lots of research for my new book “The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription” coming out next year. 24Life: What is your go-to pre-workout or post-workout snack for nourishment?
LW: I take a different tack to eating than most. Again, this is in line with the Ayurvedic philosophy of eating. I eat three meals a day, no snacks. Even when I’m doing a full day of skiing, I stick to this. I eat large, well-rounded meals, and then let my body do what it does best, which is burn stored fat for slow, balanced energy all day long. If I occasionally need a boost between meals, I’ll go for a smoothie or a green juice, something that gives me nutrients, but that isn’t a full meal. 24Life: What are you most passionate about, outside of fitness?
LW: I’m a big skier, so I would have to say that. Which also leads directly to my concerns and activism for Climate Change. I really feel we have the tools, technology and skills to transition toward a renewable energy economy and to reverse the damage we’ve done to the environment. But we have to join together, and we have to get the corporations to work with us instead of against us. I have no problem with corporations making lots of money, but they could make lots of money and also save and restore the planet as opposed to destroying it. It just takes a shift of perspective. And perhaps, just a little less greed. Instead, we need more gratitude for everything we already have, and let’s preserve that. 24Life: What’s one new thing you want to learn to do or one new thing you’d like to try this year?
LW: I’m going to learn how to fly fish this year.
24Life: How do you make sure you’re being your best self every day?
LW: I do a seated meditation first thing in the morning.
And when I do something I’m not proud of, I try to make amends for it right away.
24Life: What biggest lesson did you learn while developing Energy Medicine Yoga? LW: I was teaching at a military university when I began developing EMYoga in earnest. One of the most challenging things I discovered is how widespread undigested grief and trauma is. A huge percentage of people I work with have this sadness or fear or grief or shame or pain just below the surface. Working with yoga and EMYoga in particular, has been a powerful tool for so many of my students to start working with the underlying patterns of energy that continue to fuel these dysfunctional emotions. It is challenging, but liberating. Once those energies are released, people really feel a difference in their lives on every level. It has become a bigger and bigger focus of my work, and will indeed be the central theme of my third book.
24Life: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, in less than 24 words?
LW: Be Kind.