Lila, who you will recognise from behind the desk of our Chichester studio, is travelling to Goa next month to complete her yoga teacher training.

As her departure date approaches and preparations for teacher training are underway, Lila shares the beginning of her yoga journey with our LANO community:

The unique singularity of each human body, and its constant potential for lasting change, has been a life altering affirmation that I met on my yoga mat.

Deeply rooted in my approach to yoga is the idea that the body in motion is more than a purely somatic engagement of reaching arms and swinging legs. When we allow our bodies to move as freely as our thoughts, we can generate new layers of self-understanding that can shift the way we dwell in our physical bodies.

For me, the thinking mind and the feeling body are intrinsically linked. Yoga is a direct means of creating an interplay between physical sensation and conscious thought.

My background is in dance, and the earlier years of my training had often encouraged a competitive and aesthetic-centred way to engage with movement. I had attended a few yoga classes, but time spent sitting and breathing could be more valuable for practicing high kicks; surely pranayama had no place where worth could be measured by the length of a split leap. The patience and self-awareness encouraged by an hour on the mat had been terrifying to me then. Yoga presented new challenges beyond those conventional of other physical exercise.

I rediscovered yoga following my studies at the University of Chichester, which nurtured alternative approaches to dance. This time, my experience was completely different. The transition out of my daily dance training, combined with a worsening long-term knee injury, encouraged me to seek new ways to connect with movement. Initially, regular yoga classes at LANO began to feed my appetite for somatic practice. Later, yoga began to feed my spirit.

Throughout my practice at LANO, my relationship with yoga has been continually evolving. I have long balanced a disordered view of my physical body, and my yoga practice is becoming pivotal in healing that fractured relationship.

Using movement as a means of investigation, without comparison or judgement, has helped to alleviate expectations of looking a certain way, instead creating space for uninhibited physical discovery and individual growth.

Regular time on my mat serves as a reminder of the whole body’s propensity to change, adapt, learn, overcome and rediscoverYoga is not a quick fix for physical limitation, nor an instant trajectory to accepting our physical selves and processing difficult parts of our personal histories, but for me, yoga practice invites a new way to explore these ideas.

From the way in which I connect to others, to an ingrained appreciation for the amazing capability of my own body, developments in my yoga practice continue to affect the wider context of my life.

I am looking forward to applying some of these ideas to my teaching when I return from my training. I will be studying yoga in the Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition in India, where my course will run for 28 days. Part of what inspires me to teach yoga is the opportunity to witness and contribute to the kinds of personal developments and shifts in physical awareness that take place on the mat. In much the same way, my own yoga practice has been shaped by my teachers at LANO. The rest of the LANO community have also been central to my yoga journey so far, and I am excited to return to the studio to practice alongside you all soon.