Welcome to The Manifestation Q&A Series.
I am Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis.
I am honored to call today’s guest a dear friend. I don’t meet strangers anymore. I only meet old friends. Lara Heimann, the creator of Yoga Stream, is one of them.
When I found out my Mexico retreat in February was going to be shared with another yoga teacher I felt a bit nervous. I had never done that before. And, she was from New Jersey? Yikes! (That’s a joke folks. I grew up in Jersey.)
I met Lara and instantly fell in love. (Another lesson for me in TRUST.) There was absoloutely no separation between her group and mine. It truly was magical. It was ease-filled, joy-filled, laughter-filled. I credit that to Lara. The group she brought with her were dedicated, loyal, kind and funny. Watching how they interacted with her, I knew I had to get to know her better.
So that’s what I did.
Last week I taught a workshop in Philly and Lara drove all the way from Princeton to come! It was such an honor to have her their. Then, a few of her students came to my NYC workshops. She then drove again to NYC to take me to an amazing vegan restaurant.
I love meeting family I never knew I had until I meet them.
Lara Heimann lives in Princeton folks, but she leads retreats and workshops all over. She is also about to lead her first ever teacher training and if I was closer I would do it. No questions asked.
She is a teacher to the core. She is a fierce momma, friend and wife. Get to know this loving vegan and you will fall in love, as I did.
Next time you are on the east coast, go find her!
You will not be sorry.
Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?
Lara Heimann: I am most proud of manifesting an intentional life in which my values and actions are in harmony. I try to live in accordance with the golden rule: treat others as you would want to be treated. This principle encompasses kindness to all beings and reverence for the environment. Professionally, I chose a health- related career first as a physical therapist and then as a yoga teacher because I love working with people and seeing them improve physically and mentally. In my personal life, striving to be intentional led me to become vegan (over 10 years ago) and an active animal advocate, get certified as a natural foods chef, and build an eco-green sustainable home with my husband. We are raising our children to be mindful, compassionate and intentional beings- they are daily reminders to walk my talk and do it with humility, clarity and gratitude.
Jennifer Pastiloff: What’s the greatest lesson that you have learned from being a teacher?
Lara Heimann: I don’t need to solve problems, be perfect, or know everything; I just need to teach intelligently and intuitively, securely hold a space in which people can experience whatever yoga brings up, and then guide, support, encourage, and celebrate them.
From being a mom?
Lara Heimann: Genuineness is everything. Kids are little radar detectors who can sniff out inauthenticity. My kids make me speak, live, and act with integrity and clarity because my thoughts and actions are mirrored in their own behavior.
From your own yoga practice?
Lara Heimann: My yoga practice has taught me the importance of patience, perseverance, commitment, determination and humor. I am so much better in life because of my steady yoga practice. Like other aspects in life, a huge part of my learning occurs just because I decide to show up.
From owning your own studio?
Lara Heimann: Committing my vision to practice and making that vision a reality is extremely powerful. My home studio arose organically- people started to request classes after I stopped my large public classes (shortly after giving birth to my daughter.) I began to teach small classes in my original home studio and loved teaching there so much that I created an expanded studio in our newly built home exactly as I wanted. Owning my own studio has taught me a different type of commitment. I need to be fully present every class to give of my time, energy, creativity and knowledge. As a result, I have cultivated a joyous business that is fueled by my amazing students.
Jennifer Pastiloff: Who has been your greatest teacher?
Lara Heimann: My mother, in her own subtle way, has been my greatest teacher. Since my father had a busy surgical practice, she dedicated herself to being the primary caregiver to four kids (I have an older brother and am a triplet!) While raising us was a “wonderful adventure”, I know that she also felt ambivalent about not having a career outside the home and strongly encouraged me to be able to stand on my own two feet. Her example and advice have informed the way that I live- fully committing to my family while also feeding my personal ambition and passion.
While I have had many wonderful yoga mentors, Ana Forrest stands out as one who was pivotal in transforming my personal practice and teaching philosophy. She emphasizes focusing on the core and having a “no bullshit” approach in your teaching. Although our personalities and styles are quite different, these principles resonate in my practice and my classes.
Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you the most?
Lara Heimann: When I need inspiration, my good friend, Gene Baur, always comes to mind. As the co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, which is dedicated to rescuing farm animals from horrible situations, he educates the public about the realities of factory farming, and lobbies for legislation to protect these sentient beings. Gene travels most of the year, working tirelessly to speak for the voiceless, and is relentless, yet compassionate when meeting people from all sides of the issue. He is a modern-day Gandhi and I am inspired by his commitment, his passion, and his kindness; he has seen the worst of humanity and yet has eternal belief in the innate goodness of mankind. Gene has truly made me more compassionate and committed in my own life.
( www.farmsanctuary.org and www.genebaur.com)
Jennifer Pastiloff: YogaStream. Can you share with us a bit about the birth of YogaStream and what it is.
Lara Heimann: Yogastream was created out of my love for the flow and my drive to delve deeper. Movement has always fueled me and inspires my sequencing with its’ limitless possibilities. In addition to the classic asanas, I add some flavorful moves from dance, physical therapy exercises, and even my son’s Taekwondo! I chose the name YogaStream because streams conjure up images that resonate with me: movement, fluidity, life, nature, beauty, and power. We all have an innate current of strength, and my aim is to tap into this reservoir with each practice. A YogaStream class starts with core work and inversions to improve strength and ready the body for the flow. Inversions bring an unique challenge, making us face our fears while getting comfortable on our hands. During the flow, inversions can be integrated and a series of mini vinyasas are ultimately streamed together for a longer, energetic flow.
YogaStream classes are physically challenging in a meaningful way- by fortifying the core and becoming more centered, life off the mat improves. YogaStream classes are all-encompassing: they increase strength, flexibility, and endurance while calming the mind. My students often talk of how this style of yoga has made them clearer, both mentally and spiritually, more courageous, confident, driven, and compassionate.
Jennifer Pastiloff: What was your favorite part about leading your Mexico retreat?
Lara Heimann: The retreat in Mexico was awesome because I had wonderful participants, many of whom are my students in Princeton. To be able to watch them deepen their yoga practices and then spend more time with them outside of yoga was truly a joy. I loved observing them change from slightly worried and frazzled the first day (leaving kids, some for the first time, family,etc.) to happy, content and blissful the next day. And at night, that festive energy continued as we let it rip with some dancing and singing! Of course, it was icing on the cake to meet you:-)
Jennifer Pastiloff: If you weren’t teaching yoga, what would you be doing?
Lara Heimann: I would be running some kind of animal rescue/ sanctuary. My daughter and I volunteer at a local animal shelter and I am always fueled by the experience. My heart swells when I see how animals forgive their past situations and open up to kindness.
Jennifer Pastiloff: I know you are a vegetarian and as far as I can tell, a pretty awesome chef. Can you share with us your favorite go-to dinner or any other fabulous things you have come up with?
Lara Heimann: I have been vegan for 10 1/2 years and in that time, I have truly learned how to cook. Before kids, I was very good at boiling pasta and grilling veggie burgers, but aspired to be more healthy, knowledgeable and creative in the kitchen. I went on to graduate from the Natural Kitchen Cooking School, and learned so much about intuitive cooking.
One of my go to recipes is Raw Kale Salad. I have the recipe on my FB page, “Lara Heimann Yoga and Wellness” (http:// www.facebook.com/YogaStream). It’s so finger-lickin’ good that my son will eat 3-4 bowls of it at a time!!
Jennifer Pastiloff: Some words you live by?
Lara Heimann: I have a quote on my kitchen dry-erase board : Be good to yourself. Be excellent with others. Do everything with love. I strive to live that motto. Growing up, I also had a Nadia Comaneci poster that made an indelible mark on me. It is a picture of her holding a ridiculously difficult pose. At the bottom of the poster is this quote: Do not pray for an easy life. Pray to be a strong person.
Wow- so powerful! The poster is now in my daughter’s room and I hope that the message will imprint on her too.
So…. my words: “Be kind. Be good. Be strong. Be thankful. Work hard. Play hard. Have fun. Please don’t whine!”
Jennifer Pastiloff: I heard you are going to start leading teacher trainings. Where can we find about more about your teacher trainings and workshops?
Lara Heimann: Here is information about my 200 hour Yoga Alliance teacher training that starts in September in Princeton, NJ. It will be highly experiential, with an emphasis on understanding the body, alignment, and how to create and sequence a really rocking flow!
Click here for more info on Yoga Stream’s teacher training.
Jennifer Pastiloff: I teach many of my classes to the theme of gratitude. If you could say thank you right now to one person who would it be?
Lara Heimann: My husband. He is the epitome of giving. My life is made easier and richer every day because of him. He supports me, cheers me, challenges me and loves me fully and without holding back. He is my biggest cheerleader and really makes me want to be the best for myself, my family, and my work. I feel immense gratitude for him and the life we have created together. (And he is hilarious and super cute!!)
Jennifer Pastiloff: What is one message you would pass on right now to someone looking to manifest his/her best self?
Lara Heimann: Quiet the chatter in your mind and feel with your heart. Find what stirs your soul, pulls on your heartstrings, and makes you happy and then JUST DO IT. We only have one life to live. I am guided by the line “life is not a dress rehearsal.” As a physical therapist, I spent years working with older people and the biggest regret many of them had was not doing more of what they loved and listening too much to their own doubts. These old souls also taught me to appreciate my health and so I do, every day! At the end of each practice, I say a little mantra ” May I be good in life and may life be good to me. Thank you thank you for my health.”
In order to manifest your best self- feel your passion, let it guide and inspire you, and appreciate the path.
Jennifer Pastiloff: What brings you the most joy? Your joy list, as it were.
Lara Heimann: My family- both human and animal; my friends (both new and old); books; strong, black coffee in the morning; a handstand that floats; my children’s giggles and hilarious conversations; long walks in the woods behind my house; travel; meeting new and interesting people; teaching yoga; cooking a lovely meal; eating at my favorite vegan restaurants; sports; belly laughter; couch snuggles with my hubby, kids, and/or cats; being with animals; creating a new flow; dancing; dark chocolate….
Jennifer Pastiloff: Tell us a bit about Princeton – your community. From what I saw in Mexico you have a strong following.
Lara Heimann: Wow! It is hard to put into words how fortunate I am to have such a strong, loving, dedicated group of yogis. They are a wide mix of ages and backgrounds. I have had a few who have been practicing with me for over 10 years and have celebrated many milestones with me, both personal and professional. My students are universally supportive of each other. Because of the more intimate setting (max. of 10 people per class), everyone gets to be cheered and encouraged. There is no competition or ego- just an energy of inspiration, validation, and enthusiasm. I have virtually no rules in my studio because I don’t need them- I set the standard high with what I give and in return, my students give their best. I feel so privileged to be the captain of this ship of outstanding people, who are committed, supportive, and grateful.
Jennifer Pastiloff: Has your teaching and your own practice changed at all over the years? If so, can you describe how?
Lara Heimann: I have been teaching for 15 years and used to teach without as much intention or detail. Fortunately, my background in fitness and as a physical therapist helped me be safe but my creativity and detail have grown the most over the past 5-7 years. What resonates with me is to connect with my physical and spiritual core. As my own practice has strengthened and my style has become more innovative and intuitive, I have had many more breakthroughs. My goal with my teaching and with my own practice is to journey toward this physical (and ultimately spiritual) core and become more centered, strong,clear, and energetically alive.
Jennifer Pastiloff: When is the last time you laughed at yourself?
Lara Heimann: I laughed a few hours ago when I had to do a voice over for a video. I was sounding very robotic so my husband and I started doing silly voices. Laughter is so important in my life- my husband makes me laugh every day (all it takes is some toilet humor!) And I laugh a lot when I am teaching. In my own practice, there is nothing like a good giggle after doing a lovely face plant! Even if we are intense in our practice, we can’t take it too seriously 🙂
Jennifer Pastiloff: Where will your next retreat be?
Lara Heimann: I am going back to Mexico next winter and am looking at different places to explore too, including bike riding/ yoga in Spain and maybe a yoga retreat with a certain lovely Cali gal! (That would be me, dear readers. Me, as in Jen Pastiloff.)
Jennifer Pastiloff: Where can we find more of Lara?
Lara Heimann: Website: www.yogastream.net
I am starting to teach more workshops outside of New Jersey and in addition to more retreats, I am planning a video series that will enable people to have multiple flows with different levels to ensure challenge, fun, and diversity!
Also I am coming out to California at the end of August so I will keep you posted.
Raw Kale Salad ( adapted from Latham Thomas)
2 cups of cashews, water to cover and soften
1 Tbsp tahini
1-2 fresh lemons, squeezed
2 -3 Tbsp Shoyu Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Agave
1 Tbsp minced ginger ( I use more!)
1 Tbsp Curry
Blend until smooth, add water if too thick and spread over chopped dino kale ( 2 bunches), 1-2 cups sliced green olives, 1 cup hemp seeds and diced carrots or bell pepper. Mix it up and munch away!Another easy recipe for Curry in a Hurry ( Lara’s name for it)
Saute 1 onion, 2-3 cloves garlic and add sea salt and 1/2 -1 Tbsp curry
Add 1 bag frozen or 5 cups raw organic spinach and cook for 5 minutes
Add 1 can (or 2 cups) cooked chickpeas
Add 1 can of light coconut milk
Simmer for 5 more minutes and serve over brown rice.
Lara’s Oil-Free Hummus:
3–4 cups of cooked chickpeas ( approximately 2 cans)
1 Tbsp tahini
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2-3/4 Tbsp cumin- I use a lot!
3/4 Tbsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper
lemon juice from 1 lemon
water as needed
Blend in Cuisinart and add more seasoning( salt, pepper, cumin) as desired.
I also will omit the lemon and use orange juice and little or no water for a different, yummy taste! I have even thrown a whole Clementine :-)”
Lara and I in Mexico