How can you look at that photo of Lou and not want what he’s got? He doesn’t look like any 67 year old I’ve meet before, and there is such unselfconscious joy in his expression.
Proof that it doesn’t matter when you come to yoga, Lou is half of the dream team behind Hot Yoga, pairing up with his wife Claire to build and design yoga studios.
Lately he’s being holding sell-out posture clinics at the Wellington Studio, and has just announced the dates for Wellington’s only yoga teacher training next year (June 30 – November 21, 2010). Passionate about making sure Kiwis have the chance to study yoga in their own country, Lou’s also looking at introducing a shorter more intense course to fit people’s lifestyles.
There’s much I could write about Lou, but I’ll let his own words speak for himself. The only thing I want to add is that if you know someone in their 50s or 60s you want to get along to yoga – send them this article.
1. What style of yoga do you teach?
Hot Yoga (Barkan Method variation), Power Vinyasa (inspired by Baron Baptiste) and the occasional Yin Yoga class when my yoga teacher wife, Claire, is traveling.
The less obvious answer is, hopefully I teach yoga through example – living with a vibrant body (at age 67), generosity of heart and a sense of humour about it all.
2. How did you come to yoga?
One step at a time since age 53.
At the time I was working as a construction manager on the East Coast of the States. A then, small but quickly growing community of hot yoga studio owners sought me out to build their studios and install the specialty heating and humidity they required.
After I built the first hot yoga studio, I became their first student.
3. When did the yoga bug really get you?
In 2003, I delved into my first hot yoga teacher training. Seminars and intensives with the great variety of instructors in the States followed.
My daily morning practiced deepened, my rock solid weight lifter’s body changed shape, and my life priorities shifted, all guiding me towards today.
4. How has yoga transformed your life?
A dedicated yoga practice and lifestyle has released the need to be nothing more than I am.
Each living moment, each posture is important and not important at the same time – it just is – and it’s all easier said than done some days more than others.
Yoga’s journey has given me a set of skills that, together with my wife, have been perfectly timed for us to be here now teaching yoga, training students and building more hot yoga studios.
Note: My wife was in the interior design field when I was in the construction business. And at that same time, still living in separate parts of our lives, we started hot yoga about the same year. We eventually met through yoga and truly feel the Universe has brought us together to create inspired spaces for all kinds of bodies to experience the benefits of hot yoga too. She designs em’ and I build em’… Together we teach, and as a community, we practice and support one another.
5. What is your home practice like?
If you mean, the utter and somewhat strange transformation of my living room into a full-on mini-hot yoga studio where I practiced every morning at 4:30 am, well, that’s my bachelor days’ home practice story.
Fast forward ten years and to happily married life with a couch in the living room…I’ve learned yoga is a living, daily practice of integration with the way I move and breath in my body and the way my body moves around the world, including around Wellington’s CBD.
Today, the Hot Yoga of New Zealand studios (Wellington and Nelson) are my home practice time and place.
6. When people ask you, “What is Yoga?”, what do you say?
Let me be first to say, yoga does not have to preclude the daily dose of a really good coffee and raspberry muffin. I believe the body is smart and, when taken care of through yoga, the body enjoys all of life’s delicious and adventurous riches. It takes a spirit of respect for the body, some give and take to enjoy all things in healthy moderation.
Breathing and moving the body through asanas creates that balanced lifestyle for me and so many others.
7. What can people expect from one of your yoga classes?
Sweat, lots of sweat….. I help them find muscles, lung capacity and inner focus they never knew they had before and, most importantly, have fun doing it.
8. What do you love most about teaching yoga?
Teaching yoga is constant learning process. Students, our teacher trainees and certainly my wife are my some of my favourite teachers. They keep the questions coming and my teaching fresh. I also watch a lot of yoga DVDs, and read yoga books at the Wellington library. Say hello if you see me there.
9. What do you wish everybody knew about yoga?
How empowering and freeing it is!
10. What role do see yoga playing in our world?
As was predicted, a Golden Middle Path between Eastern heart and Western mind is emerging through yoga’s many expressions.
Each individual’s practice is a microcosm of that melding, and that balancing act expands to our small communities, to the larger world and (to quote Buzz Lightyear) “to infinity and beyond…”
Yoga wisdom is showing up in the most unlikely and surprising of places and that’s fun to be a part of.
11. Anything else you’d like to add?
No one can do your yoga for you. Show up to your mat with a smile and enjoy the ride.
12. And, finally, how do people find you?
A couple of ways: Walking around Wellington in a bright, Hot Yoga of New Zealand logoed jacket. People often stop me asking, “Are you that Hot Yoga guy?” The answer generally comes with a studio brochure I always carry in my pockets.
And, at the studio: 250 Wakefield Street, Wellington. 04 801 9642. Hope to see ya class soon.