Interrelate Podcast Interview

I was recently interviewed by my friend Sarah Woehler for her Interrelate Podcast. Click here to listen to us discuss the power of community.

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"In this third episode, Sarah Woehler sat down with SoulCycle instructor Lauren McHale — who opened the first-ever Bay Area franchise — to talk about the power of community in the popular spin class and the secret behind bringing that soulful inspiration to riders.

She also shares the complex relationship she had with her mother growing up, and how she found refuge in team sports, which ultimately paved the way for her to lead fitness classes as an adult."





It's no secret that I have been focused on the hustle lately. Between teaching a full schedule at SoulCycle, I have continued to develop as a private yoga instructor and personal trainer while brainstorming my next project. Coming up with a new idea can be such an intimidating process. Finding the courage to get started and stay committed is not something I have accomplished alone. In fact, I would not be here without the incredible network of talented, successful, and inspirational people I am so blessed to have in my life. I have been challenged, inspired, and motivated to become more than just an instructor.

This is how a big idea became action... how a vision became a plan... how my coaching style has become my personal brand, and how I hope to impact the fitness industry.

It started with creating a logo. As someone who was never able to color within the lines according to elementary school standards, I knew I needed help. So I reached out to my talented friend Ryan. The only thing I knew I needed to incorporate was antlers.

One of my forever inspirations has always been and will always be my grandfather. Before he passed, he would always tell us to "buck up" when we were sad or upset. He was a man of few words but when he spoke you listened. To "buck up" means to stop playing into negative emotions and get real about the fact that no matter what happens--no matter how hard our challenges may be-- we alway have a choice. We can choose to let the circumstances of our lives knock us down and keep us there, or we can BUCK UP and realize that the Universe saves the hardest challenges for the strongest people. We can choose to use our challenges to become stronger. We can choose to tell ourselves a different version of the story happening in between our ears and choose a more positive dialogue. This isn't easy for everyone, but it's something I will always try to help others accomplish... to buck up is to consciously and actively CHOOSE a positive outlook... to stop complaining and do something about it... to find gratitude within the hardest moments of our lives. I didn't want to hear it when he last said it to me, but it will guide my life forever. 

The next step was turning an idea into something tangible. I have always known that I want to help others FEEL better through physical fitness, motivational coaching, and community outreach... but how? I started to think about what makes most people feel intimidated about doing the things I can help them with, like yoga and personal training. I asked friends and colleagues what they feel like they need to add to their routines and what was keeping them from making that happen...

Then, after a private session with my friend Rebecca, she served the truth right to me. "What are you waiting for? You always tell your classes that it's not about perfection... to embrace the mess... so why are you waiting for your idea to be perfect?" She was right. I had been holding back because I was afraid to fail. I was afraid that my idea wasn't good enough... that other's might not like it... or that I might be criticized for even trying in the first place. That night I created a plan and now NAMASWEAT is my newest endeavor.

NAMASWEAT is a combination of yoga and cross-training offered in a group setting so that we can work together to take down our fears and insecurities and add balance to our lives without feeling intimidated. The premier event is tonight at the marina green in San Francisco and I haven't felt this excited about anything since the day of my SoulCycle audition. 

There is a lot of power in not knowing what is coming next. I could spend all day worrying about letting people down, but instead I am going to buck up and remind myself that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now. It is going to be messy, experimental, and imperfect.. just like life! Without trying to predict and control every aspect of this new venture, I am arriving in this chapter of my life with an open mind and an open heart. I want to continue learning more about the needs of others so that I can better serve the fitness community. Creating NAMASWEAT is a big step out of my comfort zone, but I have faith that the people who need it and the people who will benefit most from it will find it. 

What do you need? What are you looking for? In what areas of your life do you need the most support?

Perhaps I can help.



Practicing Feeling: A Yoga Journey

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Practicing Feeling: A Yoga Journey

When I moved to San Francisco just over four years ago, everything felt brand new. I was a new SF resident, a new instructor teaching at a brand new studio, I was dating someone new, and I was bonding with a new community. One of the only things that was not new to me, but rather incredibly familiar, was yoga. 

I first fell in love with Libby Murphy and her yoga class in 2013. She played "Turn Down For What" during the core strengthening section of class and I was overjoyed that I had found someone else who also believed that practicing yoga (or working out in general for that matter) can be a joyful experience. After regularly practicing with Libby and teaching privately on my own for about a year, my connection with my practice became much more complex. 

At that point in my life I was feeling self-conscious about my abilities as an instructor, unsure of where my career path would lead me, and I was riding the waves of a dysfunctional and emotionally abusive relationship (if you could even call it that... I prefer the term 'mind f*ck'). It occurred to me that I needed my yoga practice more than ever. On one particular day I decided to tell Libby that I was feeling a little low, just in case she noticed that my vibe was off. With a warm smile and a hug, she told me that she was going through some heavy stuff too and not to worry because she had my back.

Throughout that class we would breathe, flow, and heal together because that's why we fell in love with yoga in the first place. That is where the concept of "returning to your mat" really comes from; not just showing up when it is easy to do so, but showing up when we know it is going to challenge us the most. Showing up reminds us that life is complex and uncomfortable sometimes, but we are never stuck. We always have the ability to choose to refocus and redirect our awareness. Some days, practicing yoga is just about taking care of my physical body; other days, it takes all of my effort just to show up and be still. I don't remember the specific poses or vinyasa flow sequences during that particular class with Libby, but I remember how it made me feel. I opened my heart, twisted and cleansed, but mostly I cried. I cried in fear, I cried out of hope, and I cried from feeling heartbroken and yearning for a better love that I believed I deserved.

Luckily I was sweating so much I doubt anyone noticed the tears. 

Fast forward to today, about 3 years later and here I am back on my mat listening to Libby tell me to feel instead of think; to listen instead of react. In this moment I feel hopeful. I feel accomplished. I feel loved and I feel so grateful for the challenges that I have faced because I have finally landed in a place where my confidence is grounded in truth and my life's mission is clear. It is easy to feel chaotic and stressed; the stillness is the challenge. 

In what areas of your life could you become more still? 

The next time you choose to do something, whether its going to the park, taking a yoga class, or dancing on a bike with me at SoulCycle, set an intention to create space for stillness. Give yourself permission to pause and land where you are... step back and feel what you are doing. Look around and be grateful. Even if you are in a transitional phase in your life, even if you feel like your heart is splattered on the floor, or perhaps you've been told "no" a few too many times... you will always flow and adapt because that is what human beings do.

Time will always push us forward, and within every step of our lives we must give ourselves permission to enjoy being exactly as we are. Life doesn't always have to be about doing; sometimes we need to find stillness and really FEEL the present moment in order to accept ourselves and our lives as worthy of love.

A huge shout out to the "Cromies" at Crome Architecture in San Rafael for completing their 100th yoga class with me this week!  When the light inside of me acknowledges and recognizes the light inside of you, then we are all ONE. From me heart to yours, Namaste.

A huge shout out to the "Cromies" at Crome Architecture in San Rafael for completing their 100th yoga class with me this week! When the light inside of me acknowledges and recognizes the light inside of you, then we are all ONE. From me heart to yours, Namaste.

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