Meet Gwen Lawrence.
Gwen, a dancer since she was 3 years old, has been practising yoga for 20 years. She started her career as a licensed massage therapist, and went on to get her yoga teacher certification.
Gwen is currently the founder of Power Yoga for Sports, a yoga company that works with sports professionals. Gwen developed Power Yoga for Sports specifically to help athletes combat the stress they put their bodies through. Combining her education as a massage therapist with proven yoga techniques, Gwen works to give athletes a custom workout routine that is designed to take into account past and current injuries, strengths, and weaknesses. Gwen has worked with the New York Red Bulls, New York Yankees, New York Rangers, and the New York Knicks, among many, many other teams.
Her first book, Body Sculpting with Yoga, has recently hit bookstores everywhere, and is already proving to be a hit. In this interview, Gwen talked to me about her career and what brought her to yoga.
Ysmay: What drew you to yoga?
Gwen: I was a trainer for a Hollywood Actress. She asked me one day if she sent me to California to train to become a yoga teacher, would I also teacher her yoga. I started teaching about 20 years ago. The rest is history!
What was your teacher training like?
I have done many teacher trainings in California and New York. I’m also an avid self-learner. I’m constantly reading books and everything I can. I was a massage therapist first, and I have always had an insatiable appetite for human anatomy. I study anatomy like crazy and pick people’s brains (that know way more than me) all the time.
What has been your proudest yoga moment?
I would say… Very recently I taught a group of veterans for the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s Stand Up For Hero’s event. It was life altering. The stories and attitude of these outstanding men and women is beyond belief. I will work with them forever. Making them have fun and smile was deeply humbling.
Why did you start teaching on YouTube?
I do not even know [laughs]. I’m not of this generation, so this YouTube thing is hard for me. But the outreach is so great. If I can reach more veterans, athletes, and people who do not have access to studios, that’s awesome.
How does your online teaching compliment your real-world classes?
It gives people alternatives when they travel, and privacy. I think it is different because the in-person experience is way more fun. We play great current music, laugh, challenge each other, and create a tight community that you can’t feel online. You can feel that in some of my live classes on my channel. And, oh yes, in a live class people find out I can occasionally curse. That is funny because people that know me know it’s more than just occasionally.
What is your favourite mantra?
“Yes, you can!” In my classes the word “can’t” is the worst thing you can say!
What’s one thing you wish you were told when you started practising yoga?
Hmmm. I don’t think there is anything I wish I was told. Everybody has their own journey and purpose, and is supposed to learn what they are supposed to learn exactly as it unfolds.
What can we expect to see next from you in 2015?
My first book, Body Sculpting with Yoga, just came out! I am so proud of accomplishing that. I’m also planning many more appearances on TV, in magazines, and at conferences. I am working on more sports specific DVDs, and a lot more work with the veterans. I’m planning more online content. Perhaps a magazine cover? That has always been a goal. And whatever the universe will allow me to do I humbly accept.