Get to Know Your Inner Voice: An Interview with Lauren Mitchell

Lauren is an absolute gift to anyone who meets her – she’s warm, caring, and full of life. She is deeply soulful and an adventurer. Whatever Lauren touches turns to magic because of her sincerity and thoughtfulness. 

When and how did you first come to yoga?

I first came to yoga in college. I was nursing a foot injury and was missing the mental release I typically received from running. I began practicing hot vinyasa and Bikram yoga, loving the sweat and forthcoming “yoga high.” With the stress of academics, friends, and work, yoga was a great way to give my restless mind a break and a chance to release. I was hooked ever since.

When and why did you decide to do the mang’Oh Teacher Training?

I decided to do the mang’Oh Teacher Training in the Spring of 2014. I was working a corporate job and felt uninspired. I often wondered, is this it? Is this my life’s purpose? My boss at the time was an incredible mentor to me. One day, she sat me down and asked the question, “If you could do anything with your life, what would it be?” I told her to travel and to teach yoga. A week later, she arranged a meeting with her favorite yoga teacher, Erica, to learn more about the training. I had always been interested in deepening my practice and felt that if I did not take the leap now, I never would. It was a deal breaker after I met Erica and saw the studio. I fell in love with the sweetness and intimacy of the space. With no expectations ahead, I signed up.

Describe your Teacher Training experience at mang’Oh:

Ahh…I still reminisce about my beautiful experience in mang’Oh’s Teacher Training. Without being too sappy – it changed my life (in the best way possible). Not only did I learn about the history and fundamentals of a yoga practice, but also about myself. With a comfortable and supportive community of teachers and peers, I dove into the depths of who Lauren really was. I learned how to be a constant witness of my mind, studying habit patterns and finding inner peace. I implemented new practices such as mediation and found my mindset shifting to a healthier place. Breaking poor habits, and impulsive behaviors,  I harnessed a new excitement and passion for life. Whether I was to become a teacher or not, mang’Oh’s Teacher Training taught me how to become a stronger version of myself, and in turn a stronger teacher in the future.

Tell us about your journey post-mang’Oh TT…

Post mang’Oh TT, I tried to take some time off from yoga to absorb all that I had learned. However, I quickly found…that was not going to happen. Yoga shifted from a practice to a lifestyle. Meditation became as necessary as my morning breakfast, weekly Asana classes became my body’s medicine, awareness of the body, breath, and mind became a consistent study. I began teaching friends/coworkers for fun and signed up to teach free community classes at mang’Oh. It was impossible not to share all of this new found knowledge! I felt as though I had uncovered tiny keys to life and I could not help but share. After teaching a class, I would leave with the biggest smile on my face, feeling completely filled with love. It was rewarding to know I could assist someone on their path, to know I could influence even one life to breathe easier. I had found my purpose.

Who has influenced you, both in and out of the yoga world?

Elle Luna is an author, artist, and inspirational speaker. Years ago I saw a video of her on Vimeo called “Find Your Must.” The essence of Elle’s talk was to inspire others to follow their passions. To follow what they “must” be doing, instead of what they “should” be doing. “Must” being an aspect of ourselves that we cannot live without – our deepest passions and livelihoods. Elle’s personal story and powerful speech deeply impacted me. I continue to follow her beautiful artwork and profound words today.

When you are not a working or at yoga, where can we find you and what are you doing?

If I am not at work and the sun is shining, you will find me outside. On a hike or at the beach. Taking a moment of silence between the trees or listening to the push and pull of ocean waves. If it is a rainy day, you will find me inside cooking. I love the creativity and freedom in cooking. No recipes and no expectation, I will mix whatever I can find in my fridge with music blaring in the background. A lot of dancing and out of tune singing is included…

Describe your perfect day in NYC:

I recently relocated out of NYC. If I were to return, I would imagine it would be a crisp fall day (my favorite time in the city). I would wake up and go for a run along the East River, followed by yoga Asana and meditation on my old rooftop. After a hot shower, I would meet up with old friends and walk around the Lower East Side. Wandering with no direction or purpose other than finding a good cappuccino. Midday would consist of a bike ride up to Central Park and and a lazy afternoon laying in the Sheep’s Meadow. If we have enough motivation, head to a museum…maybe the MOMA. The evening would consist of a dinner filled with family and friends. I love the vibe in the Meatball Shop. Their vegetarian meatballs are my favorite. If I feel like splurging, I’ll add on a custom ice cream sandwich and a glass of whisky – whoops! The evening would end anywhere there is live music…dancing until my feet hurt.

What is something that has surprised you in the last year?

The unpredictability of life. As much as we often grasp for control, we never truly know the crazy turns life will take. It is important to wake up each day grateful for what we do have and believe that everything happens for a reason…no matter how hard that may be. Even though we do not have control, we hold responsibility for our perceptions. Change our view, change our lives.

What advice would you give to someone looking to do what they love?

Follow your heart – no matter what that means. Live with a full and open heart. It will not be easy. You will feel vulnerable, raw…you may get hurt. But you will have no regrets. Life is so sweetly short. Do not allow outside voices or influences to divert your path. Dive deep within and get to know your inner voice. It may be quiet but it is strong. It will never lead you the wrong way.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” ― Rumi.

What are you most grateful for today?

Everything!!! Life, breath, health, happiness, family, friends, the ability to watch the sun rise and set, to taste the juiciness of a fall apple, to hear the soft chirping of birds, to have passions, to have a drive for life, to know that by simply changing myself, I can change the world. And the list goes on…
Stay connected with Lauren on her blog.