Lauren Padula is an E-RYT 200 certified yoga instructor, who also happens to be a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a competitive endurance runner. She combines her clinical knowledge with years of yoga and running experience to create and teach intelligent sequencing to her yoga students. She's also the author of a book, Critical Anatomy: Practical Anatomy for the Modern Day Yogi and a stereotypical dog mom. You can find her on the trails, her mat, or playing in the park with Arlo, her dog, in San Diego, CA.
What do I do best?
I’m world class at connecting. I have a knack for tucking small bits of information about people away in my brain and pulling them back when I encounter someone else who would be a good match - professionally or personally. Anything from remembering that you once said you have always wanted to go to a Phish show, and then connecting you with someone else who has an extra ticket, to making introductions between people who would benefit each other’s businesses. I’m a connector.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I wouldn’t be who, or where, I am today if I didn’t truly believe that failure is never permanent. Never in my life have I thought that I wouldn’t be successful. I’ve always been aware of the chance that things may turn out differently than I expected, but I’ve never equated that to failing. What others see as failures, I see as learning experiences and places to grow.
What are my aspirations?
My number one personal goal is to be healthy - and by healthy I mean to be able to move through my days and activities without pain. The past two years have been a trying series of injuries that have impacted my physical and mental health. I’m currently slowing down in order to fix the cracks in the foundation that have led to these injuries. A strong rebuild can only come from a solid foundation.
Professionally, I aspire to be one of the most sought after teachers of anatomy for yoga instructors. I realize that sounds ambitious, and perhaps borderline egotistical. But I know that what I offer the yoga industry in terms of anatomical and biomechanical education is unique and important, and my desire to share that and to see the industry grow and change is my driving force.
My Biggest Success?
Two years after I left my full time job as a physical therapist, with very fluid plans for the future, I received an e-mail from the human resources director at the company. She was requesting that I officially resign from my position because I hadn’t seen a patient or worked for them in over two years.
When I left that job I stayed on their roster in case I needed to go back in any manner to make ends meet. Realizing that I had been financially successful enough on my own for over two years, without using that safety net, felt like a huge moment of success in my career.
My Most Challenging Moment?
In my early twenties, while in college, I struggled (like many people that age do) with feelings of insecurity and lack of self esteem. For me, it manifested as body image issues and eventually an eating disorder. I’ve always considered myself strong and independent, and I believed I was able to handle the situation on my own. So I withdrew - moved out of a shared apartment and into a studio, stopped spending time with friends, called home less, etc. And, of course, the situation spiraled downward. I can see now that I was clearly over my head.
Making the choice to let someone in, over the wall I had built, to help me was one of my most challenging and pivotal moments. This friend helped guide me through this amazingly tough time and simultaneously taught me a very valuable lesson in the power of being vulnerable.
“Be unapologetically you.” We all spend so much time in comparison, to others and to other versions of ourselves. Just be you, 150%. The right people will love it.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
My role models and favorite people are an interchangeable list. When I see colleagues, fellow yoga instructors, friends, or family who are truly doing what they were meant to do, and doing it whole-heartedly, I’m impressed and inspired. Anyone who has started something - a group, a club, a business - knows that it can be a tough and lonely place. So when I see people gritting it out because they believe what they are doing is important enough, I know they are my type of people.
Oh, and the Stoics are some of my role models. I find the thoughts, philosophy, and wisdom of people like Seneca and Marcus Aurelius to be spot on.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I will always have a soft spot for tall trees, lush greenery, and (yes) damp, gray weather. Travelling to Portland, drinking amazing coffee and running in Forest Park as well as visiting Vancouver, BC and taking in Stanley Park, the Grouse Grind, and amazing food is always near the top of my list. Truly, any place in nature where I can run, hike, climb and see something beautiful with my partner in crime by my side (or slightly ahead, he’s definitely faster than me) is my favorite place to be.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
My current list of must haves includes:
Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee, Saje Natural Wellness Peppermint Halo Roll-On, Knockaround sunglasses, and Schmidt’s Naturals Lavendar and Sage Deodorant (that might be the most important on the list).
My Current Passions?
This is the part of the interview where I go typical over-the-top dog mom. My boyfriend and I adopted a Shepherd mix puppy named Arlo in January of 2017 and it’s been a fascinating ride. I’ve never owned a dog and, despite feeling like I had done research about raising a puppy, it’s been a roller coaster of learning I could never have anticipated. Now he’s just over a year old and is amazing. A loving companion, a giant goofball, and I can’t picture not having him in our lives.