She loves to be upside down whether it is on her hands, arms or head; fun and laughter is a must in her classes. Meet Yogi Laura Sykora, who has been catching the attention of the growing yoga-mom community with her photogenic inversions and handstands. Laura was here as a part of the X yoga festival and tells us all in a quick chat with Viki Shah.
HOW DID YOGA HAPPEN?
I accidentally began my yoga journey almost 22 years ago in the basement of my sister’s house. I found my sister’s yoga VHS tape and decided to try it. Little did I know it would set me on a completely different life path!
WHAT IS ACROVINYASA AND WHAT IS ITS FOCUS?
ACROVINYASA takes yoga from earth to air. It’s part vinyasa flow, part acroyoga and part inversion training. It allows students to work together and build trust between partners.
WHAT IS YOUR MISSION?
My mission is to provide a carefree yoga experience in an atmosphere that is not only inviting and nurturing, but also playful and challenging. Through creative and intelligent sequencing, my goal is the show students their potential and strength that they then can take off of their yoga mat and into their daily lives.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST PART OF YOUR JOURNEY?
The hardest part of my journey is actually the public speaking involved with teaching. I’m quite shy in real life, so public speaking is always something I’m fearful of but always working on to overcome.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR FAMILY INVOLVED IN WHAT YOU DO?
I got my family into yoga simply by doing it everyday around them. My children, especially my daughter, naturally just started to try out what I was doing when she was 3. Over the past 6 years, her practice has thrived. She can easily do things that I can’t!
“Handstands promotes increased and reversed blood flow which energizes the mind and shifts the internal perspective. It builds confidence and increases the capacity to focus and attune to the body and mind. Increased blood flow is also linked to stress release and reduced depression. Rooting through the hands grounds the body and mind, and efficient breathing decreases worry and anxiety. So not only does it renew the body, it also re-centers the mind. Energy flows and is given from the hands. Yoga Handstands root energy and ground through the hands to build confidence and connection as well as brighten the spirit. Handstands also require the chest to open while inverted and sends energy from the root chakra to the crown chakra. Specifically, this pose is associated with the sahasrara/crown chakra which affects mental clarity and awareness. Practicing yoga handstands can help you connect to your ‘higher’ self, to every being on the planet, and to the divine energy of the universe.”
TELL US ABOUT THE ‘MUMMY AND ME’ MOVEMENT. WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO GET KIDS STARTED ON YOGA EARLY ON?
I absolutely love that moms and dads are getting their kids on a yoga mat at such an early age! Not only are they teaching their children that the physical practice is beneficial to their health, they are teaching them to calm their minds and use their breath which is beneficial to their mind.
YOUR STYLE IS OFTEN TERMED ‘PLAYFUL’, WHY IS THAT SO?
My style is usually deemed as “playful” because I don’t take anything too seriously. I like to crack jokes during the flow, I love to cue smiles, I also love to get people working together.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE TENDENCY OF THE BOOMING YOGA INDUSTRY TOWARDS FOCUSSING ON AN IDEALISED BODY IMAGE AND AN UNREALISTIC AND RIGID IDEA OF WHAT YOGA POSES SHOULD LOOK LIKE?
I firmly believe that there is no one ideal body type. It’s definitely hard not to compare myself and my practice to others. However, I think yoga companies, magazines and studios have radically improved who they include in their marketing and their companies themselves.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL YOGA ROUTINE LIKE?
My personal practice is always changing. Some days it’s yin, some days it’s handstands and inversions, some days it’s just flow to get the heart and body moving. I kind of just go with how I am feeling on any given day and how much time I have before mommy-duty calls.
WHAT KIND OF DIET DO YOU FOLLOW?
My diet is simple…. everything in moderation.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP HEALTH AND WELLNESS TIPS FOR THE DUBAI RESIDENTS?
My top advice to give is always to find a workout that makes you happy…. yoga, weights, running, kickboxing, etc. And then find time to do it 3-4 times a week. It is imperative to find time to do something for yourself!
VISIT: WWW.LAURASYKORA.COM TO KNOW MORE.