Finding strength in vulnerability: An in-depth look with Lara Roux
“There is vulnerability in strength and strength in vulnerability”
The words, and motto, of Lara Roux left me inspired as we sat down for a coffee just after Lara had taught a Forrest-Inspired class at The Shala - Cape Town Yoga School. Her energy and spirit filled the space as she shared her personal yoga story and expressed what it truly means to be strong.
Lara Roux is a Cape Town based yoga instructor who is renowned for her ability to portray strength in softness, and translate this into her yoga teaching. After completing her first teacher training in 2011, she continued to acquire as much knowledge as she could, completing various Forrest Yoga trainings and workshops as well as gain experience from international courses in a variety of yoga styles.
After spending time traveling and expanding her training, Lara returned to Cape Town offering a yoga style that is largely influenced by her experiences in Forrest Yoga. “What makes Forrest Yoga amazing is that its for beginners to advanced.” The focus on adapting the pose for each individual and what they can do. Although this style is still very strongly alignment-based, Lara encourages her students to explore, go deeper and let go while still being present in the moment.
“Forrest Yoga is renowned as an intensely physical and internally focused practice that emphasizes how to carry a transformative experience off the mat and into daily life. The practice challenges students to access their whole being and to use Forrest Yoga as a path to finding and then cleansing the emotional and mental blocks that dictate and limit their lives. Students cultivate an acute awareness of their own practice and life process, creating a unique and powerful opportunity for them to make practical life decisions based on their own experiences. “
Forrest Yoga focuses on 4 pillars; breath, strength, integrity and spirit. Not only does Lara include these elements into her own physical practice but finds a way to instil them into each individually structured yoga class. Intelligent sequencing makes up an important part of this practice, only allowing your body to move through shapes that have already been warmed up to. Each posture that a student moves through is designed to help them progress with honestly, always working within their edges. This develops tools to help each student deal with the fears that they confront on their mats, encouraging self-awareness and curiosity.
“Do you have the strength to sit still? Do you have the strength to work with the intention if it triggers your buttons? Do you have the strength to stay in the pose or flake out”.
Lara highlights that strength is not only just the physical. Forrest yoga has the intention of creating freedom with a strong connection to your spirit. “People who need a spiritual as much as physical are drawn to this practice”, Lara added, explaining that this practice is largely symbolic.
Lara’s focus is on offering yoga intensives, which take on a workshop format. Each 6-8 week program is designed to help you face the fears that you often feel on your mat. In each session, you explore and stalk those fears and find a way to breathe through them. Through movement you connect to those areas – physical or emotional – that you avoid or feel a deep disconnect too. Students are able to come together in a contained space and find a connection with themselves as well as others. “We are all going through the same thing”, Lara added. In this course students make use of props and engage in discussions between postures and sequences.
“Its also about not taking yourself too seriously” Lara added, highlighting that there is always an element of playfulness when approaching advanced postures such as arm balances and inversions. It is about feeling that you can do things, and knowing that yoga is always about working with direction.
“I am still learning. Through my own experiences I build structure of my own experiences”
Lara explained that her teaching is largely influenced by her personal experiences. “As teachers we are talking to ourselves” and each class is an expression of a conversation that we are having, it can get very emotional and releasing. Lara’s emphasis is always on teaching something that your students can take with them. “We take the asana and forget about everything else”, not always realizing that our yoga practice is more than just the physical.
The connection that Lara has to life is amplified through her yoga, exploring the heart, mind and soul connection of moving meditation. To practice or even have a conversation with her is a wonderful experience.
Lara’s future looks bright as she focuses on offering more intensive workshops as well as local and international retreats.
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