Oct 10, 2020
#019: Laruga Glaser
Scott talks to Laruga Glaser on her life as a
yoga student and teacher of Ashtanga yoga. She also
shares her experience as a woman of colour in the yoga
On 3rd June Laruga
shared a 52:39 face to camera Instagram post on her experience as a
POC in Ashtanga yoga. The majority of her conversation (with
Scott) references Laruga's post. It would be highly beneficial to
watch this whole share. It is beautiful, powerful and
Laruga Glaser was first drawn to yoga in 1996, and after coming
across Ashtanga in 1998 she fully immersed herself in the method
and now has over 20 years of dedicated Ashtanga yoga practise. She
made her first trip to Mysore to study at KPJAYI in 2007 and has
returned every year ever since. A committed student, an advanced
practitioner and a Certified teacher, Laruga endeavours to pass on
the tradition of Ashtanga yoga. Laruga shares the teachings of
Ashtanga yoga as an act of deep love with which she aspires to
create an open, challenging and inspiring space in which each
individual who comes to her can realise their full
Laruga leads the Ashtanga Yoga program at Yogayama in Stockholm,
Sweden and teaches workshops and retreats around the world. You can
find out more about Laruga's teaching schedule here.
Leaning in to Vulnerability - Laruga Glaser.
Scott and Laruga have a beautifully open
conversation on Laruga's life as a student and teacher of Ashtanga
yoga. She shares how she left a corporate life to become one of the
most recognised faces in Ashtanga Yoga. She also shares how she has
had to struggle as a woman of colour in the world of yoga and push
hard to get to where she is. Scott and Laruga also talk about how
to make yoga spaces more diverse.
In this inspiring conversation Laruga shares:
- The ways that yoga has landed for her many times in her life,
right from the very first time - a series of ‘aha’ moments,
of finding inner stillness.
- How she began practising by following Iyengar-inspired videos
by Patricia Walden and Rodney Yi, which helped her to release back
pain and encouraged her to carry on practising.
- How she started learning Ashtanga from David Swenson’s videos
and books, which she considers to be her first virtual
- That despite ‘doing things wrong’, like not holding the drishti
or poses for long enough, she still felt a shift, another ‘aha’
- How Ashtanga felt ‘complete’ to her
- Her sense of finally feeling at home when she found yoga, that
she was in her space, where she’s supposed to be.
- That while she was at university in Ohio she found an ad in the
student paper for 90 days of yoga for $90 - she went every single
- That she found Laurel Howdry, her first Ashtanga yoga teacher,
in her last year of university,
- How her dedicated Ashtanga practise kept her sane and grounded
while she was on a corporate career path.
- That when she found herself at a crossroads between her career
and yoga, she decided to follow yoga.
- When she made her first trip to Mysore in 2007 it was to be a
student, to go and study at the source.
- How she began teaching internationally after that first trip to
Mysore, when a fellow student invited her to teach in
- About her 14 trips to Mysore and how the energy in the new
shala still remains the same
- The importance of being a student.
- The strong energetic pull she felt that led her to share in
depth on about the lack of diversity in Ashtanga yoga, and how it
was a vulnerable thing for her to do.
- About how it finally felt like people were collectively willing
to listen to her experience, despite having been speaking out on
individual level for years
- That she spoke out for the people who didn't feel they fit
- About having to deal with microaggressions from within the yoga
community, and how she’s been the one who’s had to do the work
- That these uncomfortable moments have pushed her to a place of
confidence, having transformed toxicity into something
- That she’s nurtured a culture of diversity in her Mysore room,
making all people feel welcome and comfortable.
- About feeling overwhelmed by the response to her video, with
many people of colour sharing their experience that yoga spaces
don't feel conducive to people from diverse backgrounds, and that
the practise feels elitist in a socio-economic sense.
- How she challenges organisers when she teaches in countries
where people of colour are the majority but not represented in her
- Her experience of resistance within the Ashtanga yoga community
to discuss uncomfortable things.
- How she’s experienced dismissiveness from her peers, a sense of
being ‘put in her place’
- About her relationship with her father, a white European, who’s
done the work and who sees diversity as a beautiful thing
- That she’s learned more from her dad through seeing example
than the yoga teachers she used to look up to
- That we don’t need to look so far outside ourselves for these
- What it means to her to live a contemplative life.
‘'This conversation with Laruga was
so valuable to have. She shares so openly about how she
has had to navigate the yoga world as a woman of
colour and how she has created
a diverse and mindful yoga space in her home of
Stockholm. Her courage and strength in speaking out is so
inspiring. We are left with how we can find ways to navigate open
conversations that matter. To listen...
Scott Johnson - September
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Scott’s conversations with
Wambui Njuguna Räisänen,
Deepika Mehta and