Namaste. I was born in the former Panamá Canal Zone in 1968. Since being born in Panamá, I've been on a great journey, which eventually led me back to Panamá, a beautiful country in which I feel most at home. After Panamá, I was raised for the most part in the Washington, D.C. area, and received my Bachelor of Science degree from Radford University, Radford, Virginia. Although D.C. is a pretty hectic area, there I was exposed to a wide variety of culture and ideas. It was there that I was first introduced to yoga and Indian philosophy in 1982.
Back in 1998, I decided to leave the East Coast for the warmer and more laid-back environs of Tucson, Arizona, where I lived for eight years before moving permanently to Bocas del Toro, Panama. It was in Tucson that I received my initial Yoga Teacher Certification, from the Providence Institute, where I was taught under the lineage of Krishnamacharya and had the wonderful opportunity to be taught by Menica Desikachar. The course that I studied prepared me to teach hatha yoga and covered a vast field of yogic philosophy while emphasizing asana principles and teaching techniques.
I enjoyed study of classical yogic texts including the "Yoga Sutras" of Patanjali and the "Bhagavad Gita", along with Sanskrit terminology, focusing on integrating the study of these ancient texts into everyday life. The curriculum included the history, theory and practice of yoga, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, professional skills, subtle body anatomy and Ayurvedic principles as they apply to yoga practices.
Along with philosophy and subtle body anatomy, my training had an in-depth study of physical anatomy and physiology, covering functions of skeletal, neuromuscular, lymphatic, circulatory, respiratory, and major organ systems. The relationship of asana practice with the principles of biomechanics, kinesiology, and the anatomy and physiology of breath was also explored. After that initial basica training I went deep into the path of Anusara & now Shridaiva Yoga and maintain a constant relationship with my direct teachers.
In the autumn of 2007 I had the wonderful opportunity to spend five weeks in India, fulfilling a dream I've had since being a teenager to travel to Rishikesh, in the Himalayan foothills of Northern India, on the banks of the sacred River Ganga. In Rishikesh, I was taught by centuries-long holders of the living Yoga tradition. Spending time in India made me a richer person and taught me things about myself that made me stronger, as well as broadened my scope of yogic understanding.
When I was just 13 years old, the movie "Gandhi" was released. Upon seeing the movie, and having been a huge George Harrison (The Beatles) fan, at a young age, I quickly immersed myself in the teachings of Gandhi, and his message of non-violence (ahimsa). Ahimsa, meaning more than just nonviolence, is having a considered attitude in all aspects of life. This refers to loving kindness and compassion towards all beings, including myself. My first experience with adopting ahimsa as a way of life began when I became a strict lacto-vegetarian 31 years ago. My way of nonviolence towards animals is my personal belief system, and if I'm practicing true ahimsa, which means that I don't judge other people who do eat meat. My loving kindness towards other people includes respecting their life choices and not pressuring anyone to become vegetarian.
By practicing Ahimsa in my yoga practice, I've learned to pay careful attention to not injuring myself. I used to be too proud and want to force myself into poses. As a result of a knee injury (boating), I've learned to come out of a pose, or simply not do a pose, if I feel it would tax my body, or potentially injure my body. Practicing true yoga is being aware of yourself and respecting your body's current limitations. Self acceptance is quite liberating! Recovering from a traumatic, near-death experience, I continue to explore self-realization through plant medicine, psychology, and neurology, all of which leads me to be a fierce advocate for mental health. To read in-depth about my fight back to life, please see my intimate blog.
Ahimsa in my teaching means giving my students the same leeway and compassion of their bodies that I give my own. It's important that I always offer variations and modifications of poses and make students feel safe and secure and never pressured to do anything they're not comfortable with, either physically or mentally. It's about being non-judgmental, respecting where an individual is at, and assuring them that it's of vital importance that they honor themselves first and foremost.
It is an honor to be able to teach yoga, and pass on the knowledge that I have learned. I will always be a student myself, always in search of knowledge and growth. I am truly grateful to be able to return to Panamá and call this my home.
Laura Kay, has been teaching Yoga since 2007. In addition to completing 250 hours of Basic Yoga Teacher Training, has successfully completed 108 hours of Anusara Yoga Immersions & 72 hours of Anusara Yoga Teacher Trainings with BJ Galvan & Jaye Martin and considers herself an ongoing student. Everyday the art of the experience grows. Laura Kay also has studied 28 hours under former teahcers John Friend, Founder of Anusara Yoga plus 45 hours studying under John Friend & Desi Springer, co-founders of Bowspring.
Laura Kay's teaching style is Hatha Yoga, grounded in a Tantric Philosophy of intrinsic goodness, using universal principles of alignment to promote safety and empower students to achieve their full potential and realize their inner beauty. Each class interweaves heart-oriented, life-affirming themes to connect students to the deeper purpose of yoga. Classes are designed to be challenging, yet creating a sense of ease at the same time, toning body and mind - incorporating the concepts of effort & surrender.
An ongoing exploration into the asanas, principles, & uplifting philosophy of Yoga. Positive Attitude is #1 Principle, then optimal Alignment to optimize energy flow in the body & mind, leading to Action, a true creative expression of the heart. A spiritual practice using breath & movement to open our hearts and realize our True Selves. Provides a highly attentive and supportive environment. Appropriate for beginners and ongoing intermediate students. Each class is an artistic, playful, celebratory, and empowering practice. Students of all levels are invited to join us in this outstanding, uplifting, and expansive experience at every level of being, that you are then able to take out into the world.