17th Jun 2021 @ 10:27 am

Lanzarote’s fresh air, sunshine and remarkable beauty offers the perfect setting for yoga, in which spirituality and health combine to make us feel better in body and soul. To find out more we spoke to yoga teacher Laurel Regan.

Laurel is a Londoner who first came to Lanzarote in 1997 and loved the island so much she bought a home and finally moved over for good, a few years ago. Laurel is an experienced yoga practitioner and teacher, and has set up Lanzarote Yoga Escape, teaching individually designed private 1-to-1 yoga classes and groups.

Laurel says “I tried many different types of yoga before settling with Sivananda. The traditional style immediately appealed to me. I practiced regularly and spent time in an Ashram in Vietnam. I then qualified in an Ashram in Austria a few years later. I love the Sivananda history, inspired by Swami Sivananda who was a Guru and a Doctor blending the medical and spiritual in a way that I could relate to. The traditional nature of Sivananda and the sequence of the asanas were other factors for why I finally chose this style. It all came together for me.”

Sivananda yoga is a traditional, holistic style of hatha yoga that was brought to the West in the 1950’s by Swami Vishnudevananda, the founder of this spiritual yoga system, it is based on five points. They are:

• Proper Exercise: This is the part of yoga most people will recognise – the positions, or asanas, that increase flexibility and improve circulation.

• Proper Breathing: The full yogic breath, using the diaphragm, helps calm your mind. • Proper Relaxation: Calms the body down and is nature’s way of recharging the body.

• Proper Diet: Sivananda yoga promotes a vegetarian diet, to calm the mind and nourish the body. It includes milk, but spices and other stimulants, such as tea and coffee are avoided.

• Meditation and positive thinking: This promotes a feeling of inner peace and eliminates negative thought patterns.

For Laurel, Lanzarote is the perfect place to practice yoga: “It’s amazing. You can always be outside, and you’re surrounded by the most magnificent scenery, which really helps with relaxation and focus. It’s not always easy to empty your mind and enter a meditative state – I still find it difficult myself at times, but this island helps a lot. I know the island well and have many special spots that I love to practice in.”

Yoga has boomed over recent years, with specialised variants such as hot yoga or even goat yoga (you do it with goats). Laurel hasn’t really tried any of these, but she says “In my view, everything’s got it’s place and I prefer traditional yoga. I don’t think I’ll be bringing any goats into my classes anytime soon.”

LAUREL’S TIPS FOR BEGINNERS:

SHOP AROUND:

“Try a few different yoga classes and find a teacher you connect with before you settle for one particular type. There are good teachers offering plenty of different types on the island.” BOOK A

ONE-TO-ONE LESSON:

“I started to learn yoga in groups, and often ended up thinking “What just happened?” Individual classes tailored to your needs will give you a much faster understanding of what yoga is about and how it can help you.”

DO IT IN REAL LIFE:

The Covid pandemic led to a huge boom in online yoga classes, but Laurel says that video isn’t ideal for her. “There’s nothing that can compare with the personal attention of a yoga teacher.”

JUST DO IT:

“You don’t need to warm up, or prepare yourself or do anything before my yoga classes. I advise not to eat for a couple of hours but otherwise you’re ready to go.”

ANYONE CAN DO IT!

“I teach some spectacular ladies, including a 75-year-old beginner and a 60 year old woman who can do leg lifts better than a 20 year old.

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