Although I respect all ancient teachings and practices, I believe that rather than separating your spiritual practice from everyday life, we should learn to take these teachings and use them when we're dealing with family, friends, partners or even running a business. In my classes, trainings, and Business and personal development coaching for teachers, I emphasize that yoga and meditation are metaphors for everyday life and can help when dealing with all of life's stresses. Rather than internalizing these stresses and allowing them to affect you physically or mentally, we can view them as challenges to overcome. The underlining message in all of my work is that although life can be busy and intense, developing a sense of humor about it is vital on the journey to reaching our full potential. Spirituality does not have to mean giving everything up, running to the mountains, sitting in the lotus position, and chanting ‘Om'…. Let’s not limit the definition of YOGA Mark Laham, innovative yoga instructor, MindBody Coach and Inspirational Speaker, teaches the ancient wisdoms of the East combined with modern principles of the West to individuals from all arenas of life. Through yoga classes, workshops, Teacher Training programs and corporate leadership seminars, he motivates his students to succeed in all aspects of their lives. Mark has the ability to deliver complex subjects in a manner that everyone can comprehend and incorporate into their day-to-day lives. His ability to share wisdom, practices, experiences and life lessons while at the same time, inspiring and entertaining his audience make him a truly unique speaker and teacher. Questions and Answers with Mark Laham 1) What does yoga mean to you? I was a 215 lb weightlifting software developer slowly fading away into a life that felt caged by so many shoulds and shouldn’ts. Then I had a 5 minute talk with an awesome teacher who I had just met… and he told me that yoga is really about getting to know yourself better. I signed up immediately for his teacher training. And sure enough that is exactly what I got. Yoga has helped me shed a lot of my past programming and connect with the essence that is who I am. It has helped me direct my energy into positive directions filled with growth and Joy. I am eternally grateful for it and I wish everyone can connect somehow with that essence. 2) What impact has yoga had on your life? Yoga has given me a new relationship with mindbody. It has helped me peel away layers of tension mentally, physically, and emotionally and taught me how to sit, stand and move with a sense of responsibility and accountability for where my body is in time and space. So instead of always depending on others to tell me what is going on in my own body I have learned to pay attention and respond accordingly to my needs. Yoga has also taught me what strength really is and it has more to do with mind then I could have imagined. 3) In what ways does yoga help you off the mat? It is off the mat that I have seen the real transformation that yoga has to offer. Having lived my life for so long without connecting to my passions, yoga has allowed me to listen more to that internal voice that had been speaking for so long and allowed me to connect to my true purpose. It has also taught me to be able to stay calm and focused inside no matter what is happening on the outside. 4) What do you recommend for people who are brand new to yoga? -Be patient with the practice and take your time with the basics. Once you develop the foundation you will find that the confidence is there to expand in all aspects. -If you are one of those people who pushes themselves to hard all the time… then back off and don’t try so hard. You will more benefit in taking a more relaxed approach. If you are one of those people who is stuck in their comfort zone… then push yourself a little more, growth will only come about when you get out of what you know and into what you don’t know. - Most of all… it is just yoga… don’t take yourself so seriously. One of your greatest tools is a sense of humour about yourself. 5) What yoga tips can you share with people? -Foundation is really important to be able to expand your practice with confidence. Take your time learning the basics and the pose will grow on it’s own. -On those days where you can not make it on the mat, incorporating little stretches through out the day to keep the body open, strong and healthy can be a great way to maintain and even improve your poses on the mat. -Most of all, if you are not taking these great metaphors from the mat in to everyday life… you are missing out on the real benefits of this awesome practice. 6) What drew you to teach the particular styles(s) of yoga that you teach now? I love teaching Power yoga for a few reasons. Strength training has always been a passion of mine. Power yoga offered a completely new way to challenge myself physically and even more so mentally. More then that I find it to be a great tool and teaching me how to get passed my self imposed limits. Most would look at me and think I would be the last person to be teaching Yin yoga, and since my lifestyle had been overly yang for so long. Yin provided that aspect to in my life of surrender and letting go. Most of all it taught me to stop resisting life and my experiences so I could clear up my vision and see things for what they really are. This allows you to see the growth opportunities in all your experiences even when they are not going as planned.