Let It Be YOGA's Founder and Lead Instructor, Melora Lager, shares her journey to and within yoga. From headstands to gratitude, mentors to meditation, and vegetarianism to success, we invite you to meet Melora.
Melora, when did your yoga journey begin?
I first discovered yoga when I was about two months pregnant with my second child. I was at the library looking for updates on being pregnant again. I found a book on yoga and pregnancy. Since a home delivery childbirth was planned, I checked with my midwife about beginning a yoga practice. She not only recommended it, but gave me another book. I still have this (and use it).
What is it about yoga that you found compelling?
Initially, the opportunity to achieve fitness and good health is what drew me to yoga. Since you don’t usually begin new physical activities when pregnant, and I could with yoga, I knew this was great! Then, I started understanding the spirit part, too. For me, yoga is about love and growth. It is the mind, body, and spirit in union.
Do you have a favorite yoga asana?
Salamba Sirasana (headstand) because I can feel my imbalance real quick! I quickly find weak spots. It feels good for my insides to be upside down.
What does your meditation practice consist of?
I meditate with specific direction. Usually in the morning, but I have done it at all times of day and night. If I have a "monkey mind" in meditation, my default mantra is "Thank You". Gratitude is huge.
Did you have a mentor while discovering yoga?
A very smart and lovely one-- one of my first yoga teachers, Meta. She had a studio downtown for many years – YogaNow. She wrote a yoga book (which I love). She inspired me to keep learning and growing. I want to be like her!
At what point in your journey did you adopt a vegetarian lifestyle?
I grew up in southern New Mexico where everyone hunts, so I have not always been a vegetarian. I became a vegetarian 15 years ago. I was taking my first 200 hour teacher training, and I really understood more about interconnectedness with all living things. I’ve never felt comfortable eating meat on bones. So I started by not eating red meat, then only fish and eventually got to where I am now, not eating anything with eyes.
What was the catalyst that compelled you to elevate your practice from doing to teaching?
A lot of us know right away that we want to share this – it is too good to keep a secret.
Do you have a favorite aspect of teaching?
Yes. I love to teach breathing exercises. Pranayama. Breathing is so very important. Breathing safely is also key. Breathing comfortably is for more sanity. If we find comfort in our breath while we are uncomfortable in a pose, it helps to find comfort in life when life is uncomfortable. And all that good oxygen is nothing but healthy - our lungs, heart, brain and muscles love to be oxygenated!
How long were you a yoga instructor before launching your own studio?
Before opening a studio - 12 years teacher, 22 years student. I am still a student and I'll always be a student - I practiced, studied and trained for 10 years before becoming a teacher.
Why did you decide to open Let It Be YOGA?
Most of us that become instructors do it because we don’t want to keep this a secret. It’s about sharing the good works of yoga. I decided to open Let it Be YOGA to have a studio on the west side of town (for all of us Westsiders).
What do you hope Let It Be YOGA clients gain from working with your studio and its instructors?
I hope everyone counts on the studio as a place to go where they gain peace, strength, compassion and breathe better; where all intentions continue to evolve into reality. I hope we all grow, bettering ourselves and those around us.
Let It Be YOGA participates frequently in community events. You seem to have a real drive to support the people and pets in our community. What can you tell me about your philanthropic side.
I just want to do good. It is part of what yoga brings – be good + do good = feel good. We all have good that we can choose to bring to the table to help make everything better.
What advice do you have for practitioners new to yoga?
Tune into your own self. Listen to your own body. Back out of any position anytime it doesn't feel right. Modify. Never force your way, always feel your way. Listening to our self is part of our practice, continuing to (work on) sharpen our intuitive senses.
At Let it Be YOGA we do not have mirrors. Instead, we close the door and let go of all outside crazy and take that hour for tuning in to de-stress, get stronger, and become more balanced.
What advice do you have for practitioners who are considering becoming instructors?
Think about what style and lineage you like. There are so many places to get a teacher training so seek out what you really feel is right for you. Let It Be YOGA is a Yoga Alliance registered yoga school. Anyone who is interested in learning more is welcome to email me.
What is the greatest compliment you have received from a client?
People are so awesome and kind! I appreciate every compliment, and I've received many on the studio – that it is beautiful and clean and has a good vibe. That is a great compliment!
How do you define success?
For me, success is happiness and good health.
CONGRATLUATIONS TO OUR FOUNDER
VOTED 2017 ONE OF ABQ'S
TOP 5 BEST YOGA INSTRUCTORS!