We are honored that Lorrie, an avid teacher and lover of the art of yoga accepted this interview with RetreatPlace. Don’t miss her inspiring anecdote about a woman whose life changed through yoga at the age of 70.
Tell us a little bit about yourself… Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I lived the first half of my childhood in Pennsylvania, surrounded by a huge sicilian family in a neighborhood of mostly Italians, with lots of kids and food and noise, and the other half in Georgia surrounded by southern bells and good ole boys! It was quite a culture shock, but I learned how to get along with others from different and diverse backgrounds early in life. Now, I live in Mexico most of the year, and South Florida the rest of the time, when we are not traveling.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, I live with my life partner and best friend, Lal Maharajh. We are very fortunate in that we have been able to find a way to live our yoga practise which is very important to both of us. Our day begins around 5am with a sunrise meditation and then a walk on the beach with our dogs. Lal usually takes them for a swim, and I walk. We teach 2 morning yoga classes each day, when we are not hosting a yoga immersion or training. The afternoons are usually filled with private sessions, answering emails and administrative things and then we teach another class in the evening.
What drives you every morning?
Well, Lal is much more a morning person than I am, so he more or less is my morning driver! Haha..I don’t really feel like a whole person until after my morning practice. But what inspires me each day, is the continuous positive transformations that we are witness to each day. Knowing that sometime that day, there will be an opportunity to have a positive influence in another’s life is what it’s all about.
Who are the teachers that influenced you the most?
Well, other than my mom and dad of course, Swami Sivananda has been and continues to be my most positive influence. It’s amazing to me that so many individuals who are learning and practicing yoga have never heard of him. But then again, that is how he lived his life and taught his pupils. He encouraged them to explore themselves, and to find the answers within. Some of his disciples however became very famous and a lot of the contemporary styles have evolved from his teachings. He wrote over 200 books on yoga and vedanta which continue to be quoted and simulated in books and blogs.
You lead retreats and yoga teacher trainings, tell us a little about them.
The Vastu Yoga immersions, teacher trainings, retreats and workshops are all based in the desire to spread and share the authentic and classical teachings of yoga. Each class and training is designed to fulfill this mission. We want each person to leave with some tools and techniques which will allow them to begin their most important journey of their life, inside, to know their own Self.
What inspires you to lead these programs?
Each class, session or training is an opportunity to learn. The more that we teach others, the more we learn about ourselves. Teaching, when done in right spirit and with right intention, is the best practice. I teach to continue learning!
What advice do you give your students looking to change themselves?
This Universe is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to every single second, and you are exactly where you are supposed to be every single second of your life! Be present with yourself, watch your breath, and know that you are perfectly imperfect! There is nothing you need to do, and nothing you need to become, you only need to realize your true self, you true essence, which is love. Love really is ..all there Is :) The best way to help yourself, is to help another. The best and most important yoga you can practice is service to others. Joining an organization with others to do good is great, but there are opportunities each moment to be of service to another.
Do you have a daily mantra?
Yes! “Create Consciously.” Each morning i begin the day with this thought. If I can catch myself before the mind starts chattering it works much better :)
Would you have a life changing anecdote to tell us about one of the retreats you took or led?
Honestly, there are so many, that each day is life changing. I will tell you that during a recent teacher training graduation, there was a woman, about 70 or so, who had taken a class in Mexico. She left and went home to Oregon, and then decided to return a few weeks later and participate in the YTT. During the graduation ceremony, the new teachers have an opportunity to share their experience. This woman shared that for 40 years she had been the wife of a preacher. She had recently decided that she wanted to step out of that role and responsibilities, although she would still support her husband, she felt she had not been living authentically. She said that many friends and members of their congregation were surprised and aghast, when she told them she was going to do a yoga training. She shared that after all of these years, she was amazed that it wasn’t until she came to Mexico and immersed herself in this practice that she had actually found God. Now, that…was a life transforming experience for me and many others as well.
And to finish, what are your top recommended books?
The Bhagavad Gita is a constant companion……. and commentary by Swami Satchidananda is a great version for beginners who want to go deeper.
Some other really good books are:
The Food Revolution, by John Robbins
The Road Less Travelled, by M. Scott Peck
The Path of Love by Marian Williamson
Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, Deepak Chopra
The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
For more information about Lorrie’s upcoming retreats visit the following pages: