Lauren Eckstrom: The Lighthouse

GA 18 | How Yoga Changes Lives

 

Lauren is a true yogi and beacon in the wellness world. She radiates deep love, compassion and connectedness. She describes herself as an open book and she is. Lauren and her husband, Travis Elliot, are co-founders of their company Inner Dimension Media, an on-line platform with a wealth of classes and courses in yoga, meditation and mindfulness. She teaches in studios throughout Los Angeles. She and Travis lead retreats all over the world and hold teacher trainings yearly. Her dedication to her own practice, on and off the mat, gives her an authenticity and sparkle that’s unmistakable.

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Lauren Eckstrom: The Lighthouse

Lauren Eckstrom is a yogi, a meditation teacher and an all-around goddess. She and her husband, Travis Eliot, have Inner Dimension Media where they have an online yoga and meditation studio. She does work in prisons. That is mind-blowing. Everything she says about yoga and meditation makes so much sense to me. Hi, Lauren Eckstrom. Did you just come from teaching yoga?

I did.

You are the true yogi walking the walk every day. Do you teach every day?

I used to teach seven days a week and I did that for a very long time. I supposedly have two days off, but I usually spend those two days running the other side of our company.

You have a whole online studio.

Yes, I have an online platform with trainings and programs. We also have a monthly library of classes that are yoga meditation. It’s called Inner Dimension TV or Inner Dimension Media. What makes it different is we look to address people on the six dimensions that make up the human being. It’s one of the things that make our classes, my classes and the way that we connected.

Your class, yoga and meditation, I’ve taken both. That’s phenomenal.

In every class, what we’re looking to do is address the human body because we start life in a body. The body is an important thing to keep safe, healthy and to take care of, but we’re not just a body, we’re also energy. That’s composed of healthy, stable, steady breathing and knowing how to use our breath in a wise way. It’s then the layers of the mind and the heart, and they are not separate from each other. In our culture, we can think of the head is its own thing as somehow separate from our emotional body. There’s a funny story that a teacher tells about asking a group of kindergarten kids, “What’s the purpose of the body?” A little boy shoots his hand up and says, “To carry the head around.” They always get it right. That’s what we become. We think we’re this head. We try to address the mind, which is important in the cultivation of thoughts, the inner voice and the inner dialogue, but also the space of the heart and our emotional life. We can do that is not just through inspiration, yoga philosophy, mindfulness practices, Buddhist philosophy and psychology, but also through science and research. That is important.

There is so much science and research these days that show the benefits of the evidence of how much meditation and yoga can help.

A lot of us sometimes need that extra support and that it’s not all esoteric or theoretical.

Those kinds of articles ground the practices. They get permission from those.

We are at this dynamic place in history where these rivers converge and where the science is coming to meet a lot of the spiritual practices or the more esoteric practices. It’s a powerful time to be bringing that type of attention forward within the dialogue we share in classes.

That is true. When did you start your first yoga class?

I was nineteen and I was in college. I went to UCLA. I’m born-and-bred Los Angeleno. I’ve been here my whole life. I always wanted to go to school there. When I got in, I was very excited.

It’s so exciting. It’s an amazing school.

It is a beautiful campus. I felt honored. I was in a very small program.

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What was the program?

I was in their theater, film and television department. I was disembodied with the reality of it. I was in my head. I was a bookworm growing up. I was not an athlete. I was never in my physical body. During college, it was demanding. We were asked to be in our bodies. I was taking ballet classes. I was taking movement classes. It was pretty foreign to me. In addition, I started having severe anxiety attacks and that was new to me. It was crippling. I would get nauseated. I would think I was going to faint or throw up. I break out in a sweat. My heart would start beating out of my chest. I couldn’t be in restaurants because of full panic attacks. I called my mom and spoke to her about what was going on and she said, “why don’t you start meditating again?” Which was something I had done.

How did you find meditation as a teen?

My parents were not religious or spiritual in any sense. My long-running joke is if there was a holiday or a hallmark card for it, we celebrated it. All of them. It was so much fun. I felt very loved. I always thought of Valentine’s day gift or an Easter basket. It was very joyful, but it was certainly not connected to any kind of spiritual understanding of what it means to be a human. My dad had been at an event where he saw this guy named James Van Praagh speak. He was someone who could supposedly communicate with the dead. My dad bought his book called, Talking to Heaven. At the time, my best friend’s mother had passed away from breast cancer. I don’t know how tuned in he was to that. I don’t know how aware he was about that, but the events in my mind coincided. I was around twelve to thirteen when I started reading this book.

In the book, without me knowing it, it introduced the chakras or the energy centers of the body and guided chakra meditations. I’d be sitting in my room lighting candles, reading this book and taking myself through this process. I had found it at that age. We are open at that age. We have an open mind. Life takes us in a different direction. I got into high school and went in a different direction. I think we all have that journey. It was interesting that my mom had that memory recall. She had done yoga throughout the time that I was growing up. I wasn’t very aware of it until I was in my later years in high school. I would get this knock on my door early in the morning, “Do you want to come do yoga with me?” What’s funny is that she used to do Brian Kest’s yoga in VHS tapes. Oh my. Then a decade and a half later, he married me and my husband.

He did it? This is all sorts of full-circle breadcrumbs along the way.

It was surreal for her that Brian’s up there marrying us.

Did she ever talk about how surreal it is?

She never made a big deal about it. He’d been around in our lives peripherally as our teacher. She didn’t have direct contact with him, but it wasn’t like his name was foreign. She never made a big deal about it, but it had to be weird.

It must’ve been cool though.

Yes. I started going to yoga per her suggestion. I started meditating. I started doing acupuncture. It doesn’t mean I don’t have moments where I’m aware that anxiety is present or the part of me that can get overwhelmed is present, but I’ve never had a panic attack ever again.

That’s a success story. You have the tools now to work with it. I get very anxious. I had two kids and both times after I had my kids, I had postpartum anxiety. That’s when I came back to meditation and came to your class.

Many women experience that and in my world, it’s not spoken about publicly. Thank God, now we have a lot of discussion around postpartum depression. For postpartum anxiety, especially in the world we are living in now, it makes sense. There are these practices that we can do to bring awareness to it. It doesn’t stop us from having those emotions or those moments of trepidation, but if we can see it, we’re touching into that dimension of awareness, the inner teacher, and from that place of knowing, we have the power to make a different choice.

It’s also by allowing those feelings in. They’re here, I am feeling this way, as opposed to the panic of, “I don’t know what I’m exactly dealing with, but I don’t like how that feels.”

The judgment of somehow this shouldn’t be here. That’s the shadow work of these practices. When we say to ourselves, the part of me that’s judgmental, the part of me that’s anxious, the part of me that’s sad doesn’t somehow belong, when we shut those parts of ourselves out, we’re not whole. You see that in children, their whole, complete beings and they’re having all the emotions that they have, and they’re not judging themselves at all. When they get into a fit, they don’t look back and have shame. Yet, as adults, we do this to ourselves. We have to invite all of those parts in. I love the imagery of when we’re in those moments, that’s often the smallest part of ourselves. It’s the youngest part of ourselves and to look at that part and say, “What is this part needing right now? Does it need to be reassured that it will be okay? Does it need a hug? Does it need you to write down a to-do list? Will that help you feel a little more grounded?” If we can ask that part of ourselves rather than trying to push that away, we can come back to a sense of steadiness and wholeness.

That is true. You practiced yoga in college, the panic attack stopped, you graduated from UCLA. Were you pursuing acting at that time?

GA 18 | How Yoga Changes Lives
How Yoga Changes Lives: Touching on our inner teacher allows us to discover our inner power to make a different choice.

 

I did for a while, but it was on the side. There was something about it for me that was never truly deeply fulfilling. I loved taking people on a journey.

You are good at that.

Thank you.

It’s natural you.

I like telling stories. What I like about that is the opportunity for transformation. We can show up in a space and be feeling a certain way or have a certain perspective. Through the journey that we go on, we see things in a new way. Our mood is somehow shifted or we see ourselves in each other in a new way. I loved that part of it, but the whole industry wasn’t right for me. It wasn’t right for my heart. It wasn’t right for my soul. Simultaneously, I had gotten a job while I was in college working in the fashion industry.

What part?

I was on the retail side of things as an executive. I ran the West Coast for a retail company. I graduated from college a year early in order to run the West Coast for this company.

Underachiever.

Underachiever, not a perfectionist. No wonder there was anxiety.

Why would it be there?

At 21, I was running 9 of 26 retail locations. I’m working 75 hours a week. I had two cell phones, the whole nine yards.

Are you allowed to say what company?

They’re not in business anymore. I left over ten years ago. It was an amazing education. That industry is brutal in all of its own ways. I’ve learned two things. One is that it is important to look good, whatever that means to each individual, not based on what some external culture, dominant media is telling you looks good. When we look good, we feel good.

I completely agree.

There’s a place for those things. What sucked the holy life out of my soul was teaching women that somehow the solution to the emptiness, the heartbreak and the disconnection they were feeling could be resolved with the next new outfit or the next $5,000 that was spent. It’s a Band-Aid that has to be replaced. It’s a temporary fix. It was during that time when the CEO of the company gave me a tremendous business education. It was like going to grad school. I feel very grateful for it. He was a very religious man. When I decided I wanted to study yoga, I came to him and said, “I’m going to do this teacher training.” It means something to me that isn’t the same as what he believed. I don’t want to compare those things, a deep faith to what I’m experiencing now, but it’s the equivalent for me. It’s the only time I’ve ever known something like this. I want to go do this program and it’s going to cause me to shift my schedule a little bit. I’ll still be here, but I just have to work on some different days. He didn’t love that, but he supported me in it.

That’s great.

Everyone has the potential for redemption but not everybody is going to choose that and this is where support is necessary. Click To Tweet

I did my teacher training when I was 21 or 22.

You graduated college a year early and you did one year of 75-hour weeks.

I was there for seven years.

You get that teacher training after the first year?

Yes, it was a year or two after. I stayed with the company after I did my training for a fairly long period of time and I was always teaching. From the time I did my training until the time I left; I was teaching anywhere from one to three classes a week. I got into it right away. I had the perspective that many young people have of, “This could never make me enough money to support me.” I mostly put myself through college and graduated early. I had benefits, health coverage and a great salary for that age. I was self-supportive. The idea that somehow, I could make that up doing what I loved for a living felt impossible. I tell this even to the new teachers as I train them and help to mentor them onto the path. I laid the bricks that were necessary in order to make that transition wisely. I’m not someone who says, “Jump and the net will appear.” It doesn’t work for my personality. I wove the pieces together so that when the universe gave me that big kick in the butt, which it certainly did, it caught me. All the things that I had done over the last several years to lay that foundation were all there to support me there. Right away, I had classes and a couple of big private clients, which was important. It’s a supplement for income for yoga teachers that is different than what most people don’t know. You think a yoga teacher is a celebrity and when you’re showing up in teaching even a packed room of people, you’re making very little money.

It’s the private clients that are much more lucrative, but then the big full classes get you more clients.

Also, the teaching hours. This is something that as the arena gets more saturated, it’s like training for anything. You got to put the hours in and to find your voice. Who are you as a teacher? You should not be a carbon copy of the person that you studied with. You should be learning what it is that you are here to teach. You have to make sure that your classes are fulfilling, whatever that unique teaching voice for you, which we say can take upwards of five years to find that voice.

Totally. I agree with you. Did you train with Brian Kest?

No, but I took classes with him over the years. I never trained with him. I trained with Annie Carpenter. I did my advanced teacher training with her. With meditation, I’ve studied with Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Trudy Goodman and many of the teachers who were part of the mindfulness movement. I have also studied with Tiffany Cruikshank. It’s been important to me. We always say, never be a teacherless teacher. That’s why I’m always in training. I’m always studying with somebody. It’s been an important evolution of my path because we never stopped being students of these practices.

I ran into you before in the grocery store when you’re on your way to a silent meditation retreat. You were just by yourself so that you can fill up your own reserves to come home and then teach in your class.

That is important. You get onto the path; you start teaching and it’s demanding. When I first started teaching, I was teaching 25 to 26 classes a week. When you think about that in terms of drive times and days of the week, getting the nourishment that you need or getting your own practice, most people end up on whatever their path is. This is true across professions that you end up finding there’s no space for you. We have to be diligent in allocating the time for our own self-study and our own practice. I have the commitment that every year I go on retreats.

I love retreats. They look so wonderful.

Then I lead retreats. I’m making sure to go for myself because when I’m leading a retreat, it’s fantastic and it’s so joyful, but is work and I’m in the role of teacher. When I go on retreat, I get to remove myself from that role and be anonymous on those retreats. You’re not speaking. You’re not making eye contact. You get to remove all of the labels that you accumulate as you’re living life. I don’t have to be anybody’s teacher. I don’t have to show up in any particular way.

Is that freeing in the time that you’re there?

Yes. People say, “How can you be silent for ten days?” That’s the easiest part. We spend our lives talking. Silence is quite welcomed.

When did you meet your husband? How?

GA 18 | How Yoga Changes Lives
How Yoga Changes Lives: You see things differently when you are in deep yoga practice.

 

We’ve known each other for over thirteen years. He used to teach at Brian Kest’s studio. When I was working, a girlfriend would drag me at 7 AM to his class.

When you were working at the fashion company.

Yes, and we would go before work. We met that way. We were great friends for many years. He was married and I was in a very long-term relationship. We never saw each other that way. The truth is, as a woman, he was one of the few male teachers who I felt safe in his space. I felt like when I spoke to him, he gave me the fullness of his attention and his deep listening. There was never any violation of boundaries. There were no weird vibes. He was such a beautiful presence to be around. Even over the years, I think about the women that continue to study with him or girlfriends that I have and they’ll say, “I see him and then I word vomit because I feel so safe and it’s out of my mouth. We had that foundation.

Eventually, we moved through. He had created a program that has become quite well known called The Ultimate Yogi. It’s a 108-day yoga program. It was the first of its kind. Nothing had ever been done like that. It mirrored what had been done with something like Tony Horton’s P90X. He replicated it for yoga where there was a set calendar and accountability and classes that you could move through. To prepare for that, I came on to produce it and do the wardrobe and be a part of it. There were about 30 of us that moved through this. By the time we finished production, we had been in that deep discipline for over 120 days. Everybody’s lives changed. When you’re in deep practice like that, you see things very clearly.

I got home from production and my partner at the time looked at me and he said, “I don’t want to hear you talking about yoga anymore.” That was such a wake-up call for me. I was like, “I’m done, because this is going to be the rest of my life.” During that process, I had left my job. I began teaching full time. I had made a major transition and it was very clear to me, if he didn’t want to hear a conversation about this, it was never going to work. This was fundamentally going to be the rest of my life. I was going to be working on weekends, leading training and traveling and I was the healthiest that I have ever been. I was the healthiest, the strongest, the most vibrant and the clearest I had ever been. I left that relationship and months later found out that the same had happened to him, but also for other people in their own iterations and their own ways. Eventually, we ended up coming together. We were very careful about that. He had two children from his previous marriage. We entered that very tenderly and waited a year before I was even around the kids to make sure that we were solid.

I’m not surprised at all that you guys approached that with such mindfulness.

We made sure that their mother felt that she was ready to have me in their presence. We tried to navigate it as best as we could for everybody. The reality is now, everybody is so happy.

That’s a dream story.

The truth always comes forward. You keep trusting in the truth of your path and you keep listening deeply and applying the practice and everyone is served by that.

Was that your first job producing?

Sort of, in that capacity. I had also run a nonprofit theater company for a while. There were things like that in my background.

You and your husband worked very closely together. He had the Ultimate Yogi, which you produced. The Inner Dimensions Media is both of you.

We are co-CEOs and we co-run a full media production company. We do a couple of different things. One is that we film every two or three months a full library of new classes. Every week, members or subscribers get a brand-new class, whether that’s yoga, meditation or also personal growth. We’ll be entering into this new category of classes soon where people can listen to talks on the things that we talk about like when you come to meditation. We talk about what does it mean to leave these practices off the cushion and off the mat. During the day, how do you apply them? There’s a new class that comes out every week, but one of the places that we specialize in is programming. It’s creating these programs that people can enter into for a set period of time. We have an introduction to the meditation program for new meditators that is 28 days. People need a place to begin.

Consistency is key.

To have a community that you’re tapped into, other people who were going through it and a calendar that you can follow, some of that is important for people. They’re not just on their own to pick and choose classes that it’s easy to kind of throw in the towel.

It is easy when you’re on a program. If they are with other people, it makes it more motivating.

Keep trusting in the truth of your path. Click To Tweet

I think so. We try to set that tone of how a good habit that is going to be made within 21 plus days. We’re trying to take it that extra week past it. We have a beginner’s yoga program. We also have more advanced programs called Yoga 30 for 30, which is a little bit more intense. It’s just 30 minutes of pretty strong power yoga. Another program that I created is called Journey to Yoga, which interweaves yoga, meditation, breathwork, but also the application of our core values to the practice.

Do you love working with him?

We have a great working relationship. He’s very organized, which is important. It is a rare trait. We’re both very organized people, but he’s also a big visionary. I’m the tether and it’s a good practice for both of us. He’ll come at me with, “I have this great new idea.” Then I panic and I’m like, “No.” We have a long-running joke about it that I shut down his dreams immediately and then 24 hours later I come back and I say, “Okay, I’ve thought about it. We can make this work.”

That’s a good process. It all happens. It gets done.

It does all get done. One of the things that’s often said about women in terms of some of this work is that we don’t want to put things out until it’s perfect. We want the logo to be perfect. We want the site to be perfect. We want the colors to be perfect. We end up holding ourselves back from putting things out there. Over the years, we don’t have the capacity or the time for things to necessarily be perfect, but we get to refine them over time. That’s been a good lesson for me. You can either put this content out there and help people around the world. We’re in over 30 countries now.

Amazing.

You can help people, or you can wait until it’s perfect in your withholding.

It never will be.

You’ll never be satisfied. Even when you do the revamp of the site, even when you redo everything, it can always be better. That’s also important. All of us want to be growing and getting better over time. We have to be careful of those moments when we find ourselves withholding the opportunity to help and serve people.

I feel that you do help and serve. I see your work online. You work in prisons, right?

That came about in an interesting way. Travis, my husband, there were two or three years where I kept saying to him, “We need to be doing more karma yoga. I’m feeling this call to be of service.” It was very much weighing on my mind and in my heart. I felt like we had evolved on this path to a place where we now had some bandwidth and some capacity. I wasn’t in survival mode trying to make ends meet or trying to keep a roof over my head. I have a flourishing business. I had established that foundation and it’s from that place that we need to be giving back in some way. I didn’t know what that looked like. Everything I saw was companies giving back overseas. There’s a lot of needs all over the world. When I looked in my own backyard, I grew up here. I drive down the street and I see a lot of need that’s surrounded by a lot of privilege. I felt very conflicted. Where would that work be done? One day, I got an email that said, “Would you ever come and teach yoga in this maximum-security prison in Maine?” When I Googled the location, it was an hour away from a small town we happened to be traveling to in a few months.

How do you say no?

Absolutely. We said, “Absolutely, we’ll be there.”

Was Travis as into it as you were?

Yes, he was. We both have a passion for the environment and nature is very important to us. This fell into our laps and I had studied social justice in college. I had studied the prison industrial complex. It was one of those popular classes at UCLA at the time taught by a professor named Peter Sellers. It was a very popular course. It was amazing. I learned a lot about this particular issue inside of our country. As he learned more about it, he got more excited about the potential of the work. We showed up in Maine. We went to this prison without knowing very much. What we came to learn was that the warden at the time, his name was Warden Liberty. He had allowed for there to be computer screens in solitary confinement that were preloaded with certain content that they chose and approved.

It was covered in plexiglass and the men had access to a mouse. They could click through the content and choose whatever programming was on there to support them during their time in solitary confinement. For people that aren’t familiar, when we talk about solitary confinement, these guys are in their cell 23 hours a day, six days a week, 24 hours a day, one day a week. In the one hour that they were allowed out at the time, it was in a small confined area where they could basically walk in circles. It’s quite common that people who were kept in circumstances like this fall into very deep depressions.

GA 18 | How Yoga Changes Lives
How Yoga Changes Lives: It is important that we remember that there can be hope and redemption in the darkest of places.

 

Of course, they do.

It’s inhumane and it causes psychosis and all sorts of deep issues. They are disconnected in this way from touch and any kind of real authentic connection. This particular prisoner attempted to kill himself. When he got back, luckily his life was saved, they put him back into solitary, which is hard enough, mind-blowing as it is. He went to the computer and he found one of Travis’s yoga classes from the program that we produced. He started going through the whole program. He had been one of the most challenging prisoners in the entire facility. When it was time for him to be released from solitary, he revolutionized his behavior. He heard things in these classes that he had never heard before about choices that he could make or ways of responding, rather than reacting. He didn’t want to leave solitary because he wouldn’t be able to finish the program. He refused to leave.

Is Travis so proud of this story? This would make me glow.

We are proud of this guy who we’re close with and continue to be very close with. We’re proud of the affirmation that yoga works. It’s one thing to come from the privileged places that we do, the educated and the family-centric places that we do. It’s the feeling of how yoga saved your life because it stopped you from having anxiety. When you go into situations like this and you see it fundamentally saving people’s lives and putting them on an entirely new course of opportunity and potential, that brings you to your knees and humbles you. He was eventually given the program and a DVD player so that he could finish it outside of solitary. When he left, they started a yoga program. They run a program called Liberation Institute. They asked him if you could have any teacher would come, who would you have? He said, “Travis and Lauren.” They emailed us. We came and we got to have this beautiful two-day experience with them. We’ve been back several times since and we’ll be going back again in November.

I love this story. How many inmates participated?

This is a fairly small group. We are in a maximum facility, so people are there for a serious crime. Also, many of them are there for life. They’re there for what will end up being the rest of their lives. Not all of them, though. This particular inmate, he will be out within the next several years. The group tends to be somewhere between about twelve to eighteen participants. These participants have all achieved their 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification. They are yoga teachers.

I didn’t know that component of it.

Liberation Institute goes in and leads a 200-hour training. He has trained these men to teach beautiful yoga classes. What we’ve come in to do is a continuation of that. They’re receiving their 300-hour certification. They’ve all been trained at the 500-hour level. We come in and we provide continuing education. We come in and we talk about yoga philosophy and sequencing yoga classes. We also did two full days of training them to teach mindfulness meditation.

The one inmate, the one who had been in solitary, is he also into meditation teaching now?

Absolutely. They’re going back into the population. They’ve been doing this beforehand. When they go back to the general population, they teach to the general population beginner’s yoga, yin yoga and now they’re teaching meditation classes specifically. This guy would go back into solitary once he was released and teach classes to the guys who are in solitary. When we were there the last two times, we went back and saw the guys who were in solitary. We went deep into the prison and got to teach the guys who were there.

How is that?

It’s beautiful and it’s hard. It’s beautiful to see them. The second time that we went, one of the guys who were there the first time with a smile on his face said, “See, I told you I was going to keep doing yoga.” He kept showing up and he kept doing it.

That’s beautiful. I have a friend whose father was in prison until the end of his life. He was in solitary confinement the entire time. My friend and the siblings have never stopped fighting against it. It’s so inhumane. It’s so horrible. It’s very upsetting. It’s terrible. It’s an incredible thing you guys are doing.

It’s a place where we need a lot of rehabilitation in this country. It’s important to bring attention to. It’s important to talk about. It’s important that we remember that there can be hope and redemption in the darkest of places. No human being is without the potential for that redemption. Not everybody is going to choose that. That’s why there aren’t a hundred people in these trainings and these classes. For the ones who are exposed to it and want the opportunity, we need to step up and give them the support that they need so they walk out with a skill.

You are having your first child. She’s due mid-February, maybe Valentine’s day.

We will see where she lands. We’re not going to rush her.

We don't have the capacity or the time for things to necessarily be perfect, but we get to refine them over time. Click To Tweet

No, take your time in there. You had one miscarriage. I had three. One before and then I had my first child, then two in the middle and then I had my second one. It’s very common. It’s huge when it happens but look at you. She’s on her way.

It was amazing to me when we navigated it how important it felt to us to come out, to share the skills with which we navigated that and how we put our practice into action. More than anything, people can have these outside perceptions of people in the wellness space and in the health space. Life is perfect. You should never get angry. You never get upset or you never have things go wrong in your life. We’ve created a beautiful life. We travel all over the world. We love what we do. We’re happy. There are a lot of things that are very beautiful through and through, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not facing all that everyone faces. There can be such stigma around pregnancy loss.

It’s like you did something wrong or you were careless or irresponsible, all of those. Did you say on Instagram that it had happened after the twelve-week mark, am I right?

We had the loss at 11 weeks. We were so close to sharing and luckily, we hadn’t shared with my two stepchildren.

You are a blended family. You talk to me about them.

We didn’t tell the kids. Luckily, we had withheld. We knew we were going to wait and share once we got past that first trimester. We had told other people and to have to then write that email and share that news. Even now, here I am, I’m about to go in for my 20-week appointment. It’s so exciting, but there’s that little voice in my head who’s composing a scary email. This is where the mindfulness practice helps, where I can acknowledge that that voice is there, that vulnerability and that fear. I can take care of that part of myself. I can put my attention in a place that’s much more useful for both of us.

That is true. By the time I had my second child, I had had so many miscarriages. With Ray, I was truly in a place where people think it’s so amazing. It is. I was like, “It’s 25 weeks. It’s probably great. We will see.”

It’s hard. I felt that way at times in this journey where I will be so excited after we have an appointment and the midwife listens with the Doppler. We can hear her heartbeat and then a couple of weeks later, that trepidation comes back in and it’s been quite the dance and the early lesson in parenting and motherhood of letting go and letting go of control.

That’s exactly what it was. I felt that the only way that I could get there was by having these experiences so when people ask, “What do you mean?” “I hope we’ll see. I’m not sure even up until the very end.”

It’s just so important for women and families to know that you’re not alone. Even now I have had students share that they had pregnancy loss not knowing that I had one. It’s being able to say, “So have I, and here are two other women in the room navigated it around the same time.” They looked relieved. There’s this look on their faces that they thought they were the only one.

It’s a sorority that a lot of us belong to.

I know more people who’ve navigated pregnancy loss. Who hasn’t?

There are so many of us. We share that. Your classes are some of my favorites. You teach at Yoga Collective in Venice besides your online courses. You teach at Unplug Meditation twice a week. That’s where I met you. I’ve been to Yoga Collective. Her classes are great.

Thank you.

Are you going to take some time off?

I’ll keep the schedule that I have. I had started paring down my schedule the year before we knew we were going to get pregnant. I’m just starting to make that transition and getting comfortable with that. We have a retreat to Greece.

Is she going?

Yes, she is.

We have to go take Lauren’s class. She’s been on the cover of a yoga journal. She’s a goddess yogi. I’m so grateful that you came. I’m so excited to meet your girl.

Thank you. I can’t wait to share her. I’m so honored to be on the path with you.

Me, too. Thank you, Lauren.

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About Lauren Eckstrom

GA 18 | How Yoga Changes LivesA Yoga Alliance-certified E-RYT 500 instructor and meditation teacher, Lauren guides some of the world’s most well- known musicians, fashion icons, filmmakers, executives and Fortune 500 companies in both yoga and meditation. She leads her signature Holistic Yoga Flow workshops, retreats and teacher trainings in the Los Angeles area and internationally.

Lauren co-created the 30 minute, 30 day online yoga program Yoga 30 for 30 which has been downloaded in all 50 US states and over 43 countries around the world. As well, she co–authored Holistic Yoga Flow: The Path of Practice and was the associate producer of the award-winning DVD series The Ultimate Yogi.

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