May Student of the Month: Lauren Cox

Lauren May

Lauren Cox has been a diligent volunteer and dedicated student for many months now. You may have seen her out helping everyone find a place to park during busy class times as one of our key parking volunteers. Lauren is a member of our current teacher training program, and we couldn’t be happier to support her on this journey, as she supports us in so many ways!

What was the experience with yoga that got you hooked?

I don’t think that there was one particular moment that really “hooked” me. I’ve been doing a “Question A Day” journal for five years and the common theme of what I continue to come back to at different points in my life, for varying reasons is yoga and meditation. I do recall one class, one of my first classes, where I just sobbed in savasana. I had no idea what was happening, but I knew in that moment that I needed that release, and I was comforted in knowing that Asheville Community Yoga was providing a safe space for this emotional breakthrough to happen. That was one particular moment where I truly realized the power of yoga.

What inspires you to continue yoga?

I feel like yoga makes me a better person, for myself, my loved ones, and my community. There is always something new to explore or a new way to grow and transform. I’m inspired by the concept that I am a masterpiece yet a work-in-progress at the same time. Yoga has impacted my life on every single level and I cannot imagine a more profound path to follow.

What is your favorite pose?

My answer to this question will consistently change. But for this moment, my favorite pose is Crow. I love the feeling of flight, my feet lifting off of the ground, the sense of supporting myself as I rise up.

What is your most challenging pose?

Lately I have found Savasana to be the most challenging for me. I can remember times when this pose was so easy, I simply drifted away, floated above my body as my mind was at ease. Lately my mind wants to go for a trip, what’s to come, what I have to do, I have found it difficult in Savasana to just remain present. But I guess it’s all just a part of the journey and transformation right?

What is your favorite time/place to practice?

My absolute favorite is early morning outside, either in the grass, on the sand, out in the woods. I love the sounds, the smells, the feeling of the fresh air on my skin.  I don’t get to practice this way very often but when I do it is so rejuvenating.

How has yoga changed your life?

Wow, what a BIG question. Yoga has changed my life in so many ways, and continues to daily. Through yoga I have found some inner peace, more love for myself, acceptance of who I am. I have found community, friends, a network of support and love here at Asheville Community Yoga. Through yoga, I have been able to truly open my eyes and see destructive patterns in my life and work towards a life of balance and peace. Yoga has really helped me to appreciate the extremely small things and understand the impact that this attitude of gratitude has on my life and those around me.

Do you have a favorite yoga book or video?

I’m a big reader, so there are a lot of yoga books that I love. I particularly love “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche, “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele, and the Bhagavad Gita. I highly suggest all three of these books to ANYONE, whether they practice yoga or not. “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” really changed by life two years ago. It helped me to see that I wasn’t truly happy in the way that I was living (and deep down I knew that, I was just to scared to accept it). I’m currently working through Deborah Adele’s book and it is truly powerful!

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Exuberant, selfless, and adventurous

Is there a recurring theme that runs through your yoga practice?

Stay in the present moment and love who you truly are.

If you could just share one practice that has helped you the most, what would it be?

BE in a pose, don’t DO a pose. We “do” so much all day every single day, stop doing and just BE.

What is your current or all-time favorite song or artist for a yoga playlist?

I love all types of music and I enjoy practicing to many different songs. For my personal practice at home I prefer to listen to traditional Indian flute music. It allows me to really focus on my breath and movement and there is no connection to a song, the memory it brings up, no attachment to a lyric, it allows me to just be me and in the present moment.

What is your mantra?

My favorite mantra is Om Mani Padme Hum (Hung). It is such a powerful mantra that brings together the practices of generosity, ethics, patience, perseverance, concentration and wisdom.

Do you have a passion other than yoga you’d like to share about?

I have many other passions. I love art, photography in particular. I love being in the darkroom creating an image from a blank sheet of paper. I love to cook, it feeds my soul. I’m passionate about being outdoors, whether it’s in the woods climbing a tree or rafting down the river. I’m also extremely passionate about helping others, particularly our veteran community. My husband and I have a nonprofit taking shelter dogs and training them to be service dogs for disabled veterans. I would love to eventually incorporate yoga classes for the veterans that we serve and their caregivers.

Lauren, you are AWESOME and we love you!!! Thank you so much for all the ways you show up to participate in this community.